Milk Weed Seeds You just found our 20+ year ongoing thank you for our visitors. Our goal – Help Nature and others in need. Low cost, high quality seed for all and for some in need *Free* An effective way to attract monarch butterflies to your garden is to plant milkweed. We have tips on organizations that will send milkweed seeds to gardeners at no charge. Follow our instructions for starting milkweed from seed, including Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), and Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata). We have found these techniques best for good growing results.
Milk Weed Seeds
You just found our 20+ year ongoing thank you for our visitors.
Our goal – Help Nature and others in need.
Low cost, high quality seed for all and for some in need *Free* seeds, just cover postage and promise to share with others. The efforts and generosity of our staff and others like you keeps this possible. Thank you for helping us plant and share the wealth of Nature one seed at a time.
Hello you wonderful caring people that are taking action to support your local Monarch Butterflies! You are the engine that drives our 21 year ongoing campaign to provide Free Education and the seeds to plant the edible homes for Monarch butterflies across North America. Our small staff of very dedicated people are willing to put in long hours to fill the requests you send in with the best Milkweed seed for your gardens.
Please be patient as this tremendous activity was not expected. Yes, we still have seeds and more are on the way from our best suppliers – some of whom are simple families that actually harvested the seeds. Our normal 2 day processing may take an extra week. You still have plenty of time to get seeds to match Nature’s natural timing of milkweed pods opening over the next few months. Seeds can be planted even in cold weather as many milkweed seed types have some dormancy and need the winter cold cycles to be able to germinate.
Your many posts on social media are much appreciated. We ask that you direct all new people to this site first, so they can read our message and get the details they really need. Please do not post our PO Box address or give inaccurate information, causing people to waste postage, envelopes or make mistakes like no stamp or return address for the free seed program. This Free seed program relies on small purchases and contributions to be able to break even. Please understand that in order to continue it we must cover the costs somehow.
Who should be getting FREE seeds? Our program is intended for Kids, Educators and people that really are having struggles and need a smile that Nature provides. It is not a gift program for your friends that can afford to contribute to the campaign. Please take this to heart. While 15 seeds may be enough you might want to share with neighbors and save them the postage and us the extra effort. Please review the seed pack page to use as gifts.
A mountain of incoming mail without postage could end it for everyone so please help us to continue this important community service that covers North America. Yes, Canada we send seeds to you too – the stamp is $1.90 USD. We suggest joining up with a few families.
Asclepias is the main name for milkweed, the varieties we have at the moment are… Syriaca, Speciosa, Incarnata, Tuberosa, and limited Fascicularis for CA, we also have regional specific wildflower mixes that have 12-25 types of flowering plants mostly Perennial. We can add extra milkweed to the mixes if requested.
If you have a strong opinion of what seed you do or do not want please add a note.
Everyone, please take the time to research the best varieties of milkweed for your specific area, US Gov maps below are generally showing where these varieties are currently found. More detailed “Native” maps are on many other sites, review them for new research. If you have seeds to share please contact us. While there are about 80 milkweed varieties in North America many of these are not commercially available and we can not grow them in our region. Please know if you ask us to choose the best variety we will send the most productive we have for the Monarchs. We have drastically limited our use of Tropical milkweed due to the concerns of some researchers… It must be specifically requested and used responsibly as a backup food supply. Please support your local providers and nurseries. They have local knowledge and you can see what is flying around the plants to know what is really productive in your area.
While this site needs to be updated regularly it relied on the best information at the time created. We remain focused on the goal of ensuring the continued Annual Migration of the Monarch Butterfly Across North America. Please make informed choices and care for one another.
God Bless LMF Staff
We need your help. Plant Milkweed everywhere!
C ash or Check payable to “Live Monarch” 40+ seeds per dollar
Live Monarch will send 15+ Butterfly Garden seeds including Milkweed and growing instructions FOR FREE even if you can not afford a contribution. This program was started for schools and broke folks that wanted to help and could use some smiles. Just mail us a self addressed stamped envelope, one per household. A save the Monarch contribution is greatly appreciated to help offset the cost of the many seeds we give away, personally plant and plants we provide to schools and share with others by others that can afford to share in the cost. Please know any small contribution helps keep this campaign going. Thank you!
Monarchs need your help! Some certainly do and especially if you want to see them in your own backyard. According to some researchers Monarchs are threatened and still others say their numbers, while historically much lower, are stable. We have only known about their over wintering sites for a little less than 50 years so it is difficult to ring the fire alarm or signal all clear just yet. But we should all be concerned about our environment and the living things dependent upon it. Some researchers are worried we may lose a larger part of the Monarch migration this year due to climate change if action is not taken to protect their milkweed food supplies and protect safe migratory corridors. Is threatened too strong a statement? The debate continues. Do we want future restrictions on backyard milkweed and school projects? Obviously not.
What actions should we take? Some have criticized any intervention. Some research is confusing and some have wonderful studies with lots of evidence. Some have very strong opinions and shout loudly. It is hard to devote the time needed to understand all the arguments? We understand this frustration and are a little slow to make changes due to the complexity.
A little history – In 1991, over 75% of the wintering Monarchs from North America froze to death in Mexico as a result of three days of rain and sub-freezing conditions. This is when the Live Monarch Foundation was formed to ensure Monarchs would fill our skies for future generations. One person decided to take action, plant a seed and inspire others to learn how to do the same. Over the years we have grown to include thousands of individuals just like you that take action to help the Monarchs, creating refuges for them across North America and around the world.
Natural events are not the only challenges that face the Monarch. Widespread pesticide application and genetically modified crops cover important parts of the Monarch’s migratory path and serve as killing fields for any Monarchs that pass through these millions of acres of toxins and biological agents that kill them and their young. They are unintended casualties in a war to protect crops. What about actual WAR how much food has this destroyed? Can we do better?Monarchs and their migration show us the fragility and interconnectedness of our world and that the actions of some can have impacts on all of us.
We are all part of the problem through the global effort to harness and control Nature in the search for profit. We must research the origins of all our wants to ensure that the products and organizations we support are a true benefit and not a source of misery to the resources used to create them. Our choice to know the source of our purchases gives us the real power to decide what types of people we support and together control over the manner of production used. Please promote the sharing of information widely, scientists you too, so that we can make informed choices and change the world with every one.
Our call to action used to be. “The Monarch habitat must be protected now to ensure their survival, before we see the day when this miracle of nature is only a memory. Please plant seeds and help to ensure their survival. A Milkweed in every yard! “ Maybe we modify that to – Our environment must be protected so all living creatures can maintain their place and with respect and study we provide for the survival of us all great and small.
Click here to see examples of articles that we find objectionable and our comments about them. Click here for our responses and investigations
Attention Educators: We love the hundreds of letters we get from your first grade classes and other students! Keep the letters coming but please remember we have a big expense in seeds and staff time to stuff each of those separate envelopes. We suggest you put all the envelopes or letters into one package and send that to us. You can then donate that postage to the cause instead of wasting postage and many envelopes. This also helps us get the job done faster for everyone. Thank you.
Attention Press: We love the hundreds and sometimes thousands of letters we get from your readers and hope to be an ongoing part of your outreach to your audience. BUT please remember this is a contribution based seed program that relies on the many small purchases in self addressed stamped envelopes that come in to cover the cost to buy and collect seeds, print, pack, open, read, count, answer questions, stuff, seal and all too often include postage on all those requests. We encourage you to send your readers to our site and or this page and make sure they understand our offering is contribution based. We have funds to cover a small percentage of free seed requests but have unfortunately been inundated from time to time with thousands of free requests for materials that have bypassed our web site and are a significant drain on our small staff and limited resources. Trust us, your active audience will definitely contact you if their requests are not filled, please help us keep this program ongoing.
Butterfly Picture Contest: We appreciate the pictures, drawings and letters you send to us and would like to display them on our site. To encourage more artistic creations, we are offering a reward for the best in each age range. Just send in your drawings or butterfly crafts, and you will be entered in our Caterpillar Kit Giveaway. Click here to see some of our thousands of letters and get more information on the contest. Anyone can enter!
Can you afford to do more? Our mission to assist the Monarch butterfly and native animals covers all of North America. Your contributions assist the Live Monarch Foundation to send out many thousands of these Free Seed Packs and Educational materials to children across this continent. It also affords us the opportunity to give back directly to your community in a self-renewing and sustainable way. Any donation over $20 will be eligible to receive a special Monarch thank you gift. At different levels of sponsorship, we can offer the following items or sizable discounts from our online partners and fellow butterfly breeders:
- Special Variety Seed Packs for a complete Butterfly Garden.
- Mature Living Plants ready to plant in your area to attract Butterflies of all kinds.
- Living Monarch Caterpillars and Rearing Kits.
- Live Adult Monarchs ready to fly free at your next special event or celebration.
Community involvement: Monarchs are a miracle everyone should enjoy. We have created a wonderful opportunity for your household, neighborhood, school, place of worship, business, community and even state to make a difference today and ensure the future of our Monarch tomorrow. All it takes is your involvement. The Live Monarch Foundation charter enables them to directly compensate you for your efforts to collect funds. A full 20% of whatever funds you or your group collects can go directly to you and your community. You will directly impact your local area with the creation of natural butterfly preserves through the placement of suitable plants and specially bred caterpillars and butterflies which will continue their life cycle in your preserve as it is established. Imagine what it would be like for you to personally act to bring butterflies back to your community and create a self-sustaining resource for the enjoyment and enrichment of so many in your area. Please click here for examples of programs in action.
Here’s How You Can Get Free Milkweed Seeds to Help Monarch Butterflies
Including native plants in your garden is just one way to help the pollinator population rebound.
Andrea Beck spent more than three years writing about food for Better Homes & Gardens before serving as the assistant digital garden editor. Now, she writes about lifestyle topics, including food, garden, home, and health for Hy-Vee’s Seasons magazine. Her work has appeared on Food & Wine, Martha Stewart, MyRecipes, and more. Andrea holds a double degree in magazines and English, with a minor in politics from Drake University.
Yesterday kicked off the first day of spring, which in my mind always signals the return of blooming flowers, chirping birds, and butterflies fluttering everywhere. Aside from helping pollinate wildflowers, I love seeing butterflies every year because they make gardens look so much more magical and full of life. Monarchs are one of my all-time favorites because of their huge, unmistakable black and orange wings. One of the most effective ways to attract more monarch butterflies to your garden is to plant milkweed, and organizations dedicated to their conservation will sometimes send the seeds to gardeners at no charge. Some butterfly and garden enthusiasts have even taken it upon themselves to make accessing the seeds easy for everyone.
A man in Omaha, Bob Gittins, took on a huge role in trying to save the monarchs. According to the Omaha World-Herald, after having trouble finding milkweed plants in stores, Gittins started buying the seeds in bulk from the Save Our Monarchs Foundation in Minnesota. Now, he’s helping other gardeners by giving away the seeds for free. Last year, he sent out 1,500 seed packets.
How to Get Free Milkweed Seeds
If you’d like to take advantage of the free pollinator seeds and sprinkle some in your yard, all you need to do is drop a self-addressed, stamped envelope in the mail to: Nebraska Monarchs, P.O. BOX 642061, Omaha, NE 68164. Gittins will send back milkweed seeds as soon as he can so you get them in the ground.
I found an organization, Live Monarch Foundation, that also offers free seeds. If you mail a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the Live Monarch Seed Campaign, the foundation will send back 15 butterfly garden seeds, including milkweed, for free. If you include a donation for the foundation along with your envelope, they’ll provide you with 40+ seeds for every dollar you donate.
Common Milkweed Varieties
Typically, Live Monarch Foundation has several varieties of seeds, and they’ll give you seeds that are native to your region. They have a few different hardy varieties of this perennial, including Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed) and Asclepias speciosa (showy milkweed), which can both survive freezing winters after the growing season ends. The foundation also has Asclepias curassavica (tropical milkweed), which grows well in Southern states like Florida, Louisiana, and Texas.
Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed, and when they hatch, it’s the only plant the caterpillars will eat. That’s what makes it so crucial for helping the next generation hatch each season. And with the monarch population declining, it’s more important now than ever before for us to do our part to help these pollinators rebound.
How to Plant Milkweed Seeds
If you get milkweed seeds for your garden, you can start them indoors in early spring. Growing the plants inside for a few months gives them extra time to mature before transplanting outside. Then, plant the sprouts outside after the last spring frost in your region. In the fall, simply scatter the seeds outdoors; they won’t germinate until they’ve been exposed to freezing temperatures and won’t sprout until next spring. If you’re interested in purchasing your seeds to start, you can find them at most garden supply stores.
While the monarch butterfly population won’t recover overnight, we home gardeners all across the country can do our part to help just by including a few milkweed plants our their yards. Look for them as you’re planning your garden this year, or mail in an envelope to get a few seeds for free. In addition to milkweed, adult monarchs also love nectar-rich plants like lantana, rudbeckia, and yarrow, so you can beautify your garden and help butterflies at the same time!
How to Germinate and Grow Milkweed Seed
Follow our instructions for starting milkweed from seed, including Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), and Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata). We have found these techniques best for good growing results.
Why plant milkweed? Milkweed are the host plant for Monarch Butterflies: the leaves of milkweed plants are the sole food for monarch caterpillars, and the nectar-rich plants are an essenital food source for adult butterflies. The Monarch Butterfly population has declined a whopping 90% over the past decade due to the loss of meadows and habitat (especially in the Midwest). Plant milkweed in your gardens to help support these amazing North American butterflies!
Getting Started: Understanding Milkweed Seed & Germination
Milkweed seeds require cold stratification.
What does that mean? In the wild, milkweed plants scatter their seeds quite late in the season, at a time when the coming cold would kill any seedlings that germinated right away. However, the seeds of milkweeds (and other late-season flower plants) are cleverly programmed to delay germination until after they’ve been exposed to winter’s cold, followed by gradually rising temperatures in springtime. This adaptation is known as stratification. Cold stratification helps to break the seeds’ natural dormancy cycle. Exposure to winter temperatures help soften or crack the seeds’ hard outer casings.
Without prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, your milkweed seed is unlikely to sprout.
In most areas, when you plant seeds outside in fall, seeds can go through the cold stratification process naturally. If you are planting seed outside, we suggest seeding in late fall so that Milkweed seeds can lay on the ground through winter. This will give your Milkweed seed a long winter of dormancy. Once the sun comes out and the ground is warm in the spring, the seeds will germinate on their own.
In warm zones without winter frost, or if you are starting your seeds in spring, you can cold-stratify seeds in your refridgerator!
At-Home Cold Straification Summary: Put your Milkweed seed in a damp paper towel or some damp sand inside a zipper bag, and place in your fridge for 3 – 6 weeks (30 days). Label your seeds, and be sure to choose a low-traffic place inside your fridge where they won’t get damaged.