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Asclepias syriaca

Monarch butterflies, with their striking striped caterpillars, emerald and gold foiled chrysalis, and tiger striped wing patterns, are one of the most beloved of all butterflies. People flock to witness monarch migrations, but people are also responsible for the species near extinction. Loss of natural habitat and exposure to pesticides due to industrial agriculture practices is threatening monarch populations from Canada to Mexico. Growing wild milkweed- the larva's primary habitat plant- creates a monarch sanctuary in your backyard. The more we grow, the more they can thrive.  Be sure to check the detailed growing instruction, below. To learn more about what you can do to save the monarchs, visit Make Way for Monarchs- A Milkweed-Butterfly Recovery Alliance, online.

  • Number of Seeds: 50
  • Spacing in Row: 12"
  • Spacing Between Rows: 12"
  • Planting Depth: 1/4"
  • Days to Germination: 21 days
  • Days to Maturity: 80 (from transplant)
  • Height at Maturity: up to 36 inches

How to grow: Cold stratification required: direct sow in fall or early winter into a clean, prepared bed. Or, for spring sowing, sow in deep seed-starting pots about ¼" deep, in rich, damp soil. Cover and refrigerate for 3 weeks. Afterwards, move to a 70-degree, well-lit spot for germination, which can take up to 14 days. Transplant outdoors after frost in an area that can remain a milkweed patch for years.

 About the artist: Nancy Blum makes drawings, sculpture, and installations that blend art and science to explore pattern and the architecture of nature.