In the quest to attract and support more monarchs, I’ve implemented many effective time-saving techniques for raising them.
Over the past decade, I’ve also tried many milkweed propagation techniques to learn how to grow more milkweed, with less effort.
Winter sowing has been one of our most effective techniques for starting native milkweed varieties that need cold moist stratification.
However, it’s not a good option for warm weather species including tropical milkweed, swan milkweed, or balloon plant.
Spring Sowing Milkweed
In early March, I added two new sowing containers to the winter sowing containers that had been sitting outside since early February.
These spring sowing containers were set up exactly like their winter counterparts. The only differences were that they contained warm weather milkweed varieties and the seeds were not exposed to bitter winter temperatures that would kill them.
Steps for Spring Sowing Containers
2. Follow this 11 Step Sowing Process
2a. Put the seeds in a wet coffee filter inside a sealed food storage container. We placed swan milkweed seeds in our 3-season porch (in March) where they were subjected to spring’s bipolar mood swings. The results were astonishing:
After the seeds have germinated, plant them in a sowing container. We kept ours in the porch, but you could also place it outside if the container lid has been taped securely.
After the threat of frost is over you can permanently remove the lids. If temps get down to freezing post-lid, temporarily move them into the garage.
A common question I receive is how to separate the seedlings for planting. As long as you’re careful, it’s not difficult to separate the tangled roots of tropical or native milkweed seedlings…it’s digging up mature taproots that can prove difficult!
I was able to successfully plant all the milkweed from the tropical milkweed sowing container and from the swan container in our porch.