Showy Milkweed Planting Instructions

Find out what you need to do to have showy milkweed thrive in your garden.

Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) Planting Instructions


Sowing seeds in your garden doesn’t tend to work well with Showy Milkweed in our area. It is best to start the seeds indoors and transplant your seedlings to your garden once they’ve grown a bit. Here’s how:





  1. Clean the seeds and soak in tepid water. Once the seeds have plumped up a bit, transfer them to a damp, unbleached paper towel or coffee filter.
  2. Spread the seeds out, making sure there’s a little space around each seed. Cover with another damp paper towel to keep moist on top and bottom. Seal in a Ziploc bag and place in your refrigerator for 6-8 weeks.
  3. Check the seeds once a week to make sure they’re moist, but not moldy. If they are moldy, rinse them off, spread them out on two new damp paper towels, seal them back into the Ziploc and put back in refrigerator.
  4. If it is past March, start here! Fill a small container with drainage holes with potting soil, spread a few seeds on top, then sprinkle lightly with a small amount of additional soil. Water and place in a sunny windowsill.
  5. Continue to water 2-3 times a week, making sure the soil doesn't get dry and crumbly, but also isn't so wet that there's standing water. Keep in the sun until your seedlings are several inches high.
  6. Carefully transplant your seedlings to a sunny area in your garden or yard, leaving space for the milkweed to grow without competition. If your seedlings are in a peat pot, cut the bottom out and place directly in your garden or yard. Water until they become well established.


Helpful Hints:

  • Milkweed seedlings are slow to form roots, so to make transplanting easier, you can use biodegradable pots and just plant the whole pot in the ground.
  • Once your milkweed becomes established, it will start spreading underground via its rhizomes. If you’d like to control spread, consider planting in a raised bed.


If you'd like a pdf of the planting instructions, please click here.


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