Originally native to Mexico and also known as ‘’Mexican Butterfly Weed,’’ this spectacular tropical plant has long been the most common milkweed sold in nurseries. The plants grow to 2-3 feet tall and bursts with yellow, orange and red flowers, making it one of the prettiest types of milkweed.
The leaves and stems have a milky juice that the monarch butterflies love to feed on. Beware however, some recent studies have concluded that Bloodflower can affect the monarch butterfly population if the plants don’t die back in the winter. Bloodflower is hardy to zones 8 and 9 in Canada, so this shouldn’t be a problem unless you live in southern coastal British Columbia. A type of parasite can be deposited on the leaves by the monarchs that will affect subsequent generations starting the following year.
*** It is important that the plants are cultivated as annuals and that they die back every year, so they don’t affect the future generations of monarch butterflies.
- Latin Name: Asclepias curassavica
- Life Cycle: Perrenial
- Canada Hardiness Zone: 8-9
- Days to Maturity: 100
- Planting Depth: 3-4 mm
- Plant Spacing: 30-60 cm
- Growth Habit: 50-60 cm tall
Native to North America, the many varieties of milkweed are abundant in the wild and extremely popular in pollinator gardens. Milkweed is well known for attracting monarch butterflies, as it is the only plant that its larvae will feed on. It is crucial to grow and support milkweed to keep the monarch population stable, as they are a very important pollinator.
Milkweed grows quickly and vertically, up to 120 cm, on narrow stalks with broad green leaves. Bunches of aromatic pink, purple and white flowers begin to appear in midsummer.
Seeds can be sown directly outdoors in the fall or started indoors early in the spring. Because indoor starts don’t go through a natural stratification process through the winter, this period will have to be simulated. It takes about 30 days, so plan accordingly. Wrap seeds in damp paper towels and put them into sealable plastic bags and place into the refrigerator undisturbed for 30 days.
Using small peat or coco pots, place one or two seeds in each and cover lightly with 5 mm of soil. Seeds can be bottom watered. Place pots in a tray and add about 1 cm of water. The pots will absorb the water, keeping the soil and seeds moist. Move the pots under grow lights or to a sunny window and expect sprouts in about two weeks.
Harden seedlings off after the danger of frost has passed. The pots can be transplanted directly into the garden and will decompose without disturbing the roots. Give milkweed full sun and plenty of space to grow tall and produce large bunches of flowers. It is tolerant of poor, dry soils as long as it is well-drained. Watering is only needed during times of extreme drought. Milkweed will thrive in dry conditions and overwatering can lead to fungal diseases. It will do well in a variety of climates and temperatures and does not require any fertilizing.
If you’re concerned about your local ecology and have access to open fields or plenty of space, try planting milkweed from seed. It’s native, low maintenance and will attract and help repopulate the beautiful monarch butterfly.
- *** It is important that the plants are cultivated as annuals and that they die back every year, so they don’t affect the future generations of monarch butterflies.
- Milkweed seeds will remain viable for 2 years if stored in a cool, dark place, ideally between 4 and 10⁰C. After that, the germination rate may start to go down.
OUR SEED GUARANTEE
You know that a lush, fruitful garden needs good soil, frequent watering, and sunlight to grow, but it’s the seeds that really make the harvest.
Picked and bagged for 2023 the vast majority of our seeds have germination rates of over 85%. The seeds are all-natural, non-GMO, non-hybrid, untreated, and open-pollinated for seed saving.
We have put a lot of thoughts into the design and packaging of our seed packets. Our seeds are all carefully packed in food grade kraft paper/aluminium zipper lock bags, and then are shipped in eco-friendly padded mailers.
We heat-seal each of our seed packet for even more protection from moisture, odour and light, allowing you to store your seeds for up to 3x longer than paper or plastic. Plant them all, germinate some indoors, save some for next season - it’s up to you!