Common Milkweed Seeds
Common Milkweed Seeds
Common milkweed is an easy-to-grow milkweed that some might describe as weedy for how readily it spreads. This monarch butterfly attractor grows well in any part of the garden but is best grown on your garden’s perimeter or even in neglected areas. It is perfect for butterfly or meadow gardens. Unlike showy milkweed, common milkweed germinates easily.
Approx Seed Count
60° F+, 15°C+
Area to Sow
35' row, 10.7m
Days to Germ.
Days to Maturity
Best Planting Method
Direct or transplant
≥3" apart, 7.6cm apart
≥9" apart, 22.9cm apart
Planting by Zones
- Plant seeds during the cool season of Zones 9 and 10. Flowers bloom in the summer but may not bloom until the second year.
- Common milkweed is a perennial flower native to the Midwest and eastern U.S. Plant in the spring after the danger of frost is gone.
Planting Milkweed Seeds
- Direct seed or transplant. Common milkweed germinates easily. Cold treatment may improve seed germination rates.
- To direct sow, plant seeds in debris-free, well-worked soil that has been deeply watered. Cover with 1/8″ (.3cm) of finely sifted soil.
- If you are planting seeds in starter pots, plant seeds into thoroughly moist high-quality seed starting soil. Place seeds on top of the soil and cover with 1/8″ (.3cm) of finely sifted soil.
- Plant in a full-sun to partial shade location. Space plants at least 9″ (22.9cm) apart. Plants grow 3-4″ (7.6-10.1cm) tall.
- Common milkweed plants require little care once they are established.
- Mulching heavily around your plants will help with weed suppression and moisture retention.
- Be sure to plant enough common milkweed to sustain the monarchs! Monarch butterflies lay eggs on the plant in early spring. Once hatched, the caterpillars consume huge portions of milkweed as they prepare for adulthood.
Growing Milkweed in Containers
- Common milkweed does best when planted in-ground. After dying back in winter, potted plants do not re-emerge in spring, as do in-ground plants. Keep in mind containers will dry out faster because they have more surface area and less soil to hold onto moisture.
Harvesting Milkweed Flowers
- Allow milkweed to stay in the garden! It is loved by butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. It is most commonly grown as a native host plant for monarch butterflies. Common milkweed will naturally die back in the winter to re-emerge in spring.
Southern California Pro Tips
- Common milkweed does well in most types of dry to moist soils. This milkweed will naturally die back in the winter to re-emerge in spring.
- Support the monarch population by planting common milkweed!
- Common milkweed is a wonderful addition to pollinator gardens. We suggest planting with other drought-tolerant flowers like California Bluebell, Desert Bee Plant, Golden Yarrow, Blue Sage, Scarlet Sage, or those found in Southwest Wildflower and Butterfly Garden mixes.
Additional Learning Resources
- New to starting crops from seeds? Please read our article, Starting Seeds Indoors, to learn the basics!