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butterfly weed seeds collecting

Leave the bucket outdoors for two or three days to let the fluff blow away. Stir the seeds occasionally to loosen more fluff. Do not worry if some of the fluff remains, since it won’t inhibit the germination process.

Snip off the pod using pruning shears. Slice lengthwise along the edge using a utility knife. Pry open the seed pods. Scoop out the seeds and fluffy matter inside and place it in a bucket.

Transplant the butterfly weed into a permanent bed in spring just after the last frost. If planting butterfly weed in clay soil, dig in 2 to 4 inches of compost to lighten the soil, or consider building raised beds to increase drainage.

Butterfly weed and milkweed seed pods may be harvested and planted to support Monarch butterfly caterpillars. Butterfly weed grows well from seeds, which must be harvested in late summer and either sown immediately in the garden, or started in spring after a lengthy chilling process. The seeds are viable and will germinate with little care, although they must be planted at the appropriate depth to ensure successful sprouting.

Before you begin to harvest the butterfly weed pods, sterilize your cutting tools. Dip the blades into a full-strength household cleanser, such as Lysol or Pine-Sol. Repeat between cuts to prevent the spread of diseases.

It the seeds are white, why is the seeds shown on here, with the fluffy stuff, brown?

Kyle R. Crocker says

When the seeds are ready to be harvested, butterfly weed seed pods will turn brown and start to break open on their own.

Comments

Butterfly weed is also one of the easiest seeds to collect from the garden. After the flowers fade on the plant, butterfly weed gets these gorgeous seed pods.

Butterfly weed is one of my favorite plants that I have growing in my garden. Not only does it add amazing color to the garden, the butterflies flock to it. Plus, it’s a host plant for everyone’s favorite monarch butterfly.

Collecting butterfly weed seeds can be messy

Amy Andrychowicz says

Donate your extra native milkweed seeds to Monarch Watch for their monarch habitat restoration efforts: Donate Milkweed Seeds Info

I have a few common milkweed plants that are well established. A decade ago we even raised some caterpillars and set the adults free – great fun with a 5-year-old. I was recently made aware that I could harvest and donate some of the seeds for the Midwest region. Your website shows how to harvest, but how should I package the seeds and where do I send them?

Comments

Bob in Rochester says

Hi Nicole, I recommend washing your hands after handling milkweed and, of course, not touching your face while handling it. Are the kids old enough to follow those rules? If not, maybe you could harvest, and then let them plant the seeds.

I have no pods on my milkweed in Westchester, Ohio. Had several caterpillars…Help!