Butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) is an American perennial beloved by pollinators including butterflies, monarch caterpillars, bees, and hummingbirds. The plant is native to Colorado and most other states in the U.S. and produces stunning orange flowers.
As part of our Pollinator Awareness through Conservation and Education (PACE) initiative, Butterfly Pavilion is providing free milkweed seeds and planting instructions so that you can help to expand essential pollinator habitat. You can still get yours from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm at Butterfly Pavilion while supplies last!
Our milkweed seeds are supporting pollinators near and far! Have they made it to your neighborhood?
GOAL: 825,600 Seeds Planted (Supporting 82,560 Monarchs)
Refer to the Monarch Butterfly Migration Map below to see how planting milkweed can provide essential habitat for monarchs as they pass through your state!
Support Pollinators in Your Backyard
Plant milkweed. Milkweed can be difficult to find at traditional garden centers, but you can get your free seeds at Butterfly Pavilion for the rest of the season while supplies last!
Plant other nectar sources. Pollinators need lots of fuel and safe spaces to live. Blooming shrubs and perennials can provide great habitat. Take home plants for pollinators at our Pollinator Week Plant Sale June 19 – 25 at Butterfly Pavilion.
Support habitat restoration and protection. Colorado’s open spaces and gardens are important pollinator habitats. Learn how you can get involved in restoring Colorado open spaces with Butterfly Pavilion’s Urban Prairies Project.
Participate in citizen science. You can help count butterflies through Butterfly Pavilion’s Colorado Butterfly Monitoring Project and contribute to essential data used in conservation decisions!
Planting Your Milkweed Seeds
Milkweed seeds need cold to germinate, so you can help them along! Start your seeds indoors by placing them in a damp paper towel, folding it, and putting it in a sealed plastic bag. Keep in the refrigerator for 4-6 weeks.
Plant your seeds in small 2”- 4” pots in “seed-starting” soil. Moisten the soil, and place 1-2 seeds into each pot and cover with 1/4” damp soil. Place pots in area they can drain and water the seeds when the top of the soil is dry. Don’t over-water! Place pots in warm sunny window, greenhouse, or under a grow light. Germination should take place within 10 – 15 days.
When plants reach 2” – 3” tall, transplant outdoors in full sun in early spring. Take care not to disturb the milkweed roots, and water deeply as needed until plants are established. Taper off watering, unless the season is extremely dry. Newly planted milkweed seedlings may lose all their leaves due to transplant shock, but they should grow back again. Enjoy!