Where to Buy Milkweed Plants Online?

9 Tips to Successfully Buy Milkweed Plants and Seeds Online

One of the questions I get asked most often is where to buy milkweed plants from. Unfortunately, milkweed isn’t widely available locally for many across North America. If it is, you typically only have a couple varieties to choose from.

You might be lucky enough to stumble into a milkweed forest at a big box store, but are you sure those plants haven’t been treated with monarch-killing pesticides? Are the people who work there even sure?

I still hear reports from people who buy milkweed from local stores that’s supposed to be pesticide-free, only to discover their newly purchased plants were their monarchs’ last meal laced with deadly poison…

If you’re one of the lucky monarch supporters who has found a dependable local nursery for milkweed plants, that’s great news! However, if there’s a variety that’s been eluding you, it’s usually just a click away on your computer, phone, or tablet.

Purchasing milkweed seeds/plants online has helped us host over 15 milkweed varieties in our butterfly garden, and it can help to expand your options too. This, in turn, helps you attract and support more monarch caterpillars, adult butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, and other beneficial insects in your garden!

Add a variety of milkweed varieties to your butterfly garden. Don’t create a Milkweed Monoculture that only attracts monarchs for part of the season!

The following 9 tips are my checklist for deciding where to buy milkweed plants online. I hope these tips will help you get the milkweed you need for a successful monarch butterfly season…

A Checklist for Buying Milkweed Online

A checklist of helpful buying tips to consider for where to buy milkweed plants online..
Find Hard-to-find Milkweed Online | © Fritz Flohr Reynolds

Know Your Options

There are milkweed varieties that are native to your region, perennial to your region, or can even be grown as annuals. Start with 2-3 varieties that are native to your region, because the native varieties should come back reliably every season.

Check out my milkweed resources page, which lists 30 milkweed species along with their native and perennial regions, and where to buy them. Even if you purchase elsewhere, it’s a good source for exploring all your milkweed options.

30 Milkweed Options for your Butterfly Garden

Check Feedback and Reviews

If you’ve looked at my milkweed resources page before, you’ll find that the majority of the links go to vendors selling on Etsy and Amazon. Why?

Many many nurseries and gardeners sell milkweed seeds/plants through these huge online retailers. This means when you’re search for a specific variety, there’s a good chance they’ll have exactly what you’re looking for.

Both have reviews/ratings of products and vendors which give you a good indication whether you’ll satisfied purchasing milkweed from them. A general rule of thumb is to avoid vendors with less than 97% positive reviews.

There are plenty of vendors to choose from so you can and should be picky about who you buy from.

Even if there is a problem with your online milkweed purchase, a reputable vendor will accommodate you by sending out new seeds/plants or refunding your money .

My first ever plant order purchase online was from Prairie Moon Nursery a few years back. The liatris plants (not milkweed) arrived in shambles. When I contacted them, they apologized for the plants and immediately sent out replacements free of charge.

Today, those replacement plants have seen some of the most spectacular butterfly activity in our garden, and I would not hesitate to buy from them again because of how they handled the situation.

Do you ever wonder where to buy butterfly plants online? Here's the checklist I use before deciding which vendors to buy must-have milkweed and other butterfly-attracting plants from. These tips have given us all the plants we need to take our butterfly garden to new heights, and I hope they will do the same for yours...
Replacement Plant Satisfaction

Every company makes mistakes…the good ones fix their mistakes so the customer is 100% satisfied.

Quick Tip: Most of these tips for buying milkweed plants online, also hold true for hard to find butterfly plants like the meadow blazing star wildflowers shown above. Find more butterfly plant ideas for your garden here

Seek out a Specialist

When buying milkweed seeds or plants, look for a vendor that has experience selling them. These vendors are likelier to know more about handling milkweed seeds/plants and packaging them for delivery.

I added a specific stores section at the end of my milkweed resource page for people that wanted to know which vendors I personally recommend and have purchased from:

Milkweed Store Suggestions (this list is updated annually)

Butterfly Plant Store Suggestions (this list is updated annually)

Buy Milkweed by Botanical Name

Generic common names like butterfly flower and butterfly weed can refer to several different species of milkweed, so only purchase when you see the scientific name. Botanical name examples: Asclepias tuberosa and Gomphocarpus physocarpus.

Go Fresh…and Organic!

Seeds harvested within the past couple years should have higher germination rates. Again, finding vendors with positive feedback reduces the risk of dealing with dishonest vendors selling old seeds or unhealthy plant stock.

Also, be sure the seller you are purchasing from is growing their butterfly plants organically. Many times, this info will be listed on the same page you are purchasing the plants, or elsewhere on the website. If you can’t find this info, email them for confirmation that their plants have been grown 100% pesticide free.

Made in the USA

Since most of this website audience is in the US, my suggestion is to buy seeds/plants from U.S. sellers. If you’re in New Zealand, I would recommend getting milkweed stock there…

It’s much simpler to purchase from your country, especially if there’s an issue and you need new plants or seeds. Shipping internationally means your milkweed goes through customs, and there’s no guarantees for when your milkweed will arrive or what shape it will be in. There are plenty of quality milkweed vendors shipping stateside. Keep it simple with USA Shipping when you can…

Finding Plants and Plugs?

Some gardeners prefer a simpler way to get started. Buy plants, plugs, or rooted stem cuttings to get a huge head start on the returning spring monarchs, and receive plants that should flower and seed their first season.

Generally, swamp milkweed and tropical milkweed are the easiest plants to find online, and they’re usually available from April through October. If you can’t find plants now, check back weekly to see new listings at the bottom of these milkweed plant pages:

Asclepias Incarnata Plants (Swamp Milkweed)

Ascelpias Curassavica Plants (Tropical Milkweed)

Most other varieties are in short supply and you’ll need to start from seed, or pay a hefty sum to acquire precious plugs and plants. Sometimes (on eBay, Etsy, or Amazon) you can get lucky and find a gardener offering a rare gem at a discount price!

Please refer to our milkweed plants for sale page to see if other milkweed plants are available.

Be a Savvy Online Shopper

Most milkweed vendors have flat-rate shipping but many will upgrade to free shipping if your total plant cost and seed orders are over a certain amount. Typically, it’s not difficult to meet this threshold if you keep a list of plants for next season online. Typically, by each spring, we have at least 10 plants we’d like to add to our garden.

Also, in the off-season, some milkweed vendors will offer sales to purchase now for spring plant-shipping.

The Black List

Remember to save the website info for the vendors that you have a top notch milkweed experience with…and to black list the rest so they’ll never get a chance to fool you twice!

Since I’ve followed this checklist for where to buy milkweed seeds and plants online, we’ve added more milkweed species and our garden has flourished and attracted more monarchs and pollinators than I ever thought possible.

Buy local when possible, then look for hard-to-find options online to take your garden to the next level…

For more info about where to buy milkweed plants online by scrolling through the comments below.
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  1. I have just bought seeds for creating a butterfly garden, 5 different milkweed, perennial and annual and a large assortment of nectar seeds. Some are already starting to sprout that needed bottom heat. The rest I’m doing cold stratification. I have a large property in PA. Here is my question, I haven’t seen a monarch in years! I’ve just started to really get bluebirds back and hummingbirds. Is it plant it and they will come, or will have have to buy monarchs and release them here? I’m hesitant to do that for fear of having them die, due to my learning curb.

    1. Hi Sue, when you consider only 1%-5% survive outdoors, you will help by raising a few indoors even if there are a few bumps along the way…that’s how we all learn better raising techniques. Personally, I would focus on establishing the garden first because the big mistake many make at the start is not having enough milkweed to support the caterpillars. If your garden is established and you’re still not seeing any, check out these vendors on the tools/supplies list:

      Monarch Eggs and Caterpillars

  2. I live in Southern CA. I found a caterpillar on my milkweed plant. When it got cold at night I brought it inside. I purchased another milkweed plant and placed the plant and the caterpillar in my covered aquarium. It ate for a few days and then began metamorphosis. The Caterpillar has been in chrysalis stage for about 2 weeks. What do I do now? What types of milkweed do best here? What plants should I have in my garden for the butterflies in the spring?
    I am asking specifically for So. CA. It seems that most of the blog comments are from the east or northern areas of U.S.

  3. i am in desperate need of milkweed leaves. i just pulled 20 monarch caterpillars off my plants and brought them and what leaves were on the plants inside, as it will be freezing for the next 5 days. do you know of any place where i can buy and have shipped to me milkweed? i have the stalks of leaves in water and have enough to last few days. these caterpillars are anywhere from 1/2’’ to 1 1/4’’ long. its not normal for the weather to freeze like this and i have never seen caterpillars this late in the year but i would like to save them. please any advice would help.

  4. I have a very sunny garden located in NYC. Would you recommend planting milkweed in now in the fall ? What milkweed varieties do you recommend ? Where do you recommend to purchase?

    1. Hi Mary, I prefer fall planting plants in our northern region, but it is getting on the late side…if you try this, I would plant ASAP to give roots time to acclimate before the ground freezes. Swamp and Common milkweed are two reliable perennials for attracting monarchs, but most vendors are sold out for the season. Your best bet would be to see out a local native nursery. For future reference, these are some online stores we recommend:

      Milkweed Stores

  5. Hi,
    I have recently read an article that talks about the dangers of having tropical milkweed or non-native milkweed. It talks about how in warmer regions such as Florida, it might not die out like it’s supposed to in the fall like our native milkweed. This would create 2 problems: 1) It could confuse the butterflies if there is still food available and they might not migrate like they were supposed to. and 2) Since it doesn’t die out, it also encourages diseases to linger and spread when they would have died and disappeared . In the above article, you seem to be in support of the tropical milkweed being used. What do you think of these issues?
    Thanks so much! Your site, newsletters and information is fantastic!

  6. Tony
    The milkweed we got from Monarch Watch have a black like coating. The lady bugs and milkweed seed bugs are still munching on them but I am worried it’s a problem. They bloomed and we had bees and monarchs eating the flowers but do you know how we should deal with this?

    Thank you!
    Tanya Theobald

    1. Hi Tanya, milkweed tends to get fungusy at the end of the season. We only treat the soil around the plants preventatively each season with hydrogen peroxide. Otherwise, we remove affected leaves and discard:

      Milkweed Disease

  7. I’ve struck out twice trying to buy asclepias purpurescens. Once it was orange milkweed and the other time they may have been legit but the seeds didn’t sprout. Anyone have this rarer variety or know someone who really has it? Thanks.

  8. Rose Franklin Perennials has good plants. However, she is sold.out for this season 🙁

  9. WARNING!!! In Central Florida, Lowes and Home Depot Milkweed is NOT PESTACIDE FREE!!!!

    We lost over 70 caterpillars because of these poisoned plants. It took over 3 weeks of continuous washing, removing the dirt, and replanting the Milkweed with fresh soil in the ground before we saw any cats that lived after eating the Milkweed.

    Reminder: Even after washing the plants, pesticides are still in the dirt and Milkweed so it takes some time for the plant to filter them out. If you find a good source Milkweed, keep going there.

    Good Luck and “May the Monarchs be with you” young Jedi Knight.

    1. Hi Alan, sorry to hear this. Not all big box stores sell milkweed treated with pesticides, but enough still do that I always suggest buying from local sources that grow their own plants and can assure you they haven’t used pesticides or from trusted online vendors:

      Suggested Milkweed Stores

    2. Alan, I know what you mean. Our plants we eaten all the way down so we decided to check out lowes/home depot. Found bunch of plants a lowes. I told the cashier about all of the caterpillars/butterflies I had raised, bought the plants and was on my way to car with the plants. Lady came running after me telling me that the plants would kill my butterflies. Returned them all. I appreciated her honesty.

  10. HI Tony-
    Do you recommend planting a Butterfly Bush? I always read how they are invasive and that Butterflies don’t really care for them. Is this true?
    If you do recommend Butterfly Bush, is there a variety that you like better?

    I am from Lester Prairie, MN (zone 4)

    Thank you for your help,

    1. Hi Shelley,the biggest problem with butterfly bushes in our region is whether they come back or not. 1) they are in NO way invasive here…there have been issues with some of the larger varieties in the pacific NW 2)butterflies absolutely love them

      Buddleja buzz has grown well in our twin cities region:

      Buddleja Buzz Butterfly Bush

      We’ve also had ‘attraction’ and bicolor come back. You might try a couple different varieties to see which you prefer in yours…good luck!

    2. Shelley, we have several butterfly plants. the butterflies seem to like them but not as much as some other plants, such as Fire fly plants which butterflies and hummingbirds love.

  11. Hi Tony,
    I just received common milkweed from a nursery in Tennessee, URL “tnnursery.net.” I expected to receive plants, but, instead, got black roots. The accompanying leaflet states “We ship dormant plants with no leaves, blooms or foliage”. There were no instructions on how to plant these roots.
    My question to you is: do I completely bury the root, or do I leave some of it above ground? If I were to leave some above ground, it’s not always easy to determine which part of the root it should be.
    Thanks for your advice.

    1. Hi Donald, wasn’t familiar with them so I looked them up. Almost all the photos on the listing are of Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed) I have not planted dormant milkweed before but I would assume the entire root system would be underground…strange time to send a dormant plant. It will be interesting to hear if it actually does anything this season? I would call them to see if they have any suggestions…good luck!

  12. I have planted some milkweed for the first time this year. They seem to be doing well. They are in pots in my basement. We also have 2 butterfly bushes out back that have become trees. My husband cut them back and they are doing great. New growth and everything. We have all kinds of butterflies that come to them.

  13. Where can I buy milkweed plants in California native to California; California, Desert, Heartleaf, Mexican whorled, Showy, Wooly, Woolypod? I would like to buy online but most of the vendors sell seeds. I do not want seeds. I want young plants. Thanks.

    1. Hi. Just read your comment. Looks like Annie’s Annuals and Perennials has 9 different milkweeds listed. Two were sold out and one said it may ship bare root. I’ve made a wish list there, so I cannot comment about their wares, but she knows her plants, that’s obvious. They are located in the SF Bay Area city of Richmond and other local locales. I will be buying my annuals from Annie’s this fall. Best of luck!

  14. Tony,
    I’m in Georgia and I would like to buy a few milkweed plants online but a few of the sites I have visited say they have already filled their orders for 2017. If I do find some and get a pot or bare root what do I do with it since I can’t plant it until after our last frost? It won’t last inside will it?


    1. Hi Andy, I would wait until closer to spring. There is always more available then. You can look online, local nurseries, and spring plant sales can also be an excellent resource. I’m not sure if you checked out the suggested stores on my milkweed resources page, but most should have plants to offer closer to spring, and there’s always some hidden gems on ebay or amazon:

      Suggested Stores for Milkweed

      1. Tony, if i buy milkweed seeds now, in zone 9, should i plants in lil pots or wait. We still have lots of hot weather here.

        1. Hi Barb, you could always try planting some now and more when in cools down in fall. If possible, talk to others with first hand growing experience in your region to see what works best for them…also research the specific species before you plant it. Not all milkweed is the same.

    2. When I got started with my monarch garden I was buying plants regularly. Once I figured out that cuttings from stripped or leggy tropical milkweed will root in a glass of water, I’ve saved the cuttings, let them root (maybe 2 weeks) and I replant. I have hundreds of plants (plus I harvest the seeds when the pods open) and haven’t spent money on milkweed in almost 2 years! Maybe all varieties don’t regrow so easily but I’m in Florida and my milkweed easily self-propagates. Keep those cuttings!!

      1. yes, cuttings for tropical milkweed are a great option…just remember to wash/disinfect the cuttings. Unfortunately, most milkweed species are not this easy to propagate.

      2. Wow J, that is so cool! we just had over a 100 caterpillars tear up our tropical plants and are left with stripped stems.

        So do I just cut a piece of the stem and place in small glass of water til it roots? I wanna do this. Do you then just plant them is small pot and wait til good time to plant outside? Very cool

  15. I am lucky enough weather-wise to live in coastal San Diego, and raising monarchs continues through the winter. I have learned through hard experience to avoid chain Nurseries for milkweed…all of my cats died after they swore the plants were not sprayed. I use only Andersen’s Garden center or Mission Hills nursery. On a sunny
    day you can locate the milkweed in the nursery by following the butterflies. I rotate the 1 gallon plants in my large butterfly cage, so I finally have a large back up supply.
    I use organic fish fertilizer on my milkweed,
    and everyone seems OK with that.

    1. Hi Mary Sue, sorry to hear about your experience with tainted milkweed. It sounds like you found some good resources going forward, so that’s great news!

      I’ve also used fish emulsion fertilizer in the past, and never had any issues. Enjoy those winter monarchs!

  16. I am in dire need of milkweed plants. I currently have over 80 monarch caterpillars in my butterfly garden. They are almost out of milkweed and none of my local suppliers have anything . They are saying January before they get any. HELP please! I.m in South Florida.

    Thank you.

  17. Hi All,

    I think I remember hearing that Asclepias tuberosa does not work as a hostplant for monarchs. I have never seen any larvae on it. Can anyone confirm this? It is a good nectar source though.

    Here in southern California we also sometimes get queen butterflies on our milkweeds in addition to monarchs.

    1. I’ve personally never had a problem with asclepias tuberosa. Every plant I’ve ever had has been eaten to the ground. I live in Virginia. Hope this helps.

  18. I live in Louisiana (zone 8 ) Reading your blog has made me want to start a butterfly garden. I have Monarchs in my yard, but not too many. I have never grown milkweed. My question is: “Is transplanting plants or sowing seed the best way to start milkweed?”
    Thanks for recommending looking at the reviews. I did this and the catalog I was looking at had horrible reviews on their milkweed.

    1. Hi Mary Lou, I’m not sure there’s a best way to start milkweed…whatever works! It also depends on what species you plant. Starting with two or 3 varieties is a good idea to see what grows best in your region and which species bring you the most monarchs.

      In our northern region, I prefer fall planting plants because it give us bigger plants the next season. You have more options with a longer growing season. The first step is deciding which species you want to plant, and then research those varieties. We do have individual plant pages for many varieties so be sure to search the site:

      Asclepias incarnata

      Asclepias tuberosa

  19. I really appreciate all the info on your website! I have just moved to the NW Houston area and have some wooded space and wanted to do a butterfly garden around it. I’m confused with the fall planting if I tried to start now. Could I get the seeds now, do the refrigeration period and then into the ground? Or wait until spring? I’m a little hesitant to do in pots and transplants bc it seems like I have less success with that with my vegetable garden, but could try that too if needed. I looksed for plants to try and order to put right in but having a hard time finding at this point. Thank you for your help!!

    1. Hi Katie, gardening is a whole different experience in continuous growing regions. Your best times for planting are probably late fall and winter when your temps are coolest and seedlings have a better chance to get established. You might also consult with a local resource with first hand growing experience in your region. If you’re interested in plants, I’d try online sources where you’ll find much more variety and availability:

      Milkweed Resources Suggested Stores

      Butterfly Plants Page

  20. I have a good size annual and perennial garden east of Michigan, can you send me some seeds, I would like to have an early start for next year,

  21. Be careful when you order internationally. I ordered some that were confiscated en route. They came from China and didn’t have the proper paperwork!

    1. Hi Rina, sorry to hear this. I would stick to ordering milkweed from your own country if there are viable options. good luck!

  22. I want to keep this very simple. I have some lowland that has plenty of open, grassy area, by a stream, that I have been keeping control with a string trimmer. I want to be able to plant milkweed plants, that I purchased as plants, not seeds. But I am not going to do a lot of maintenance. Can they survive on their own? Will they spread on their own? How can I best make this a successful venture?

    1. Hi Reid, most milkweed will spread through seeding and undergroundrhizomes if it’s perennial to your region. If you planted swamp milkweed, that species doesn’t have rhizomes but will still spread through seeding

  23. Should a monarch hatched in a cage be released on a sunny 90 degree day if thunderstorms are predicted for the next day at 4PM?

  24. Hi Tony,
    You mentioned cutting the tropical milkweed back. To cut it back do I cut it to the ground or leave it a couple inches above the ground? Thanks for your help

    1. Hi Patti, you can cut back to about 6″…make sure there are no viable leaves to give the monarchs ideas! Tropical milkweed grows back pretty quickly…

  25. Greetings all ye excellent monarch lovers!
    Brian from Newport News, Virginia here.
    If you have any seeds that you’re able to share, please message me. I’ll send a stamped envelope right away.
    This is my third year growing milkweed, and im trying to fill my yard with plenty of monarch chow 😉
    Happy Monarching 🙂

  26. I need to propagate milkweed seeds in indoor pots for a plant show for my garden club. The show is next May. Can you give me planting tips and timing to achieve plants preferably in bloom?

    1. Hi Sharon, we don’t have a greenhouse, so we mainly start non-native milkweeds indoors that need an extended growing season to mature and seed. Here’s the info for that, but I would consult with someone with a background growing natives to sell in spring. BTW- not sure where you are located, but most milkweed varieties won’t be blooming in May unless you are offering non-native tropical. Monarchs also prefer less mature plants for egg laying, so don’t get too far ahead of the perennial growth cycle:

      Starting Seeds Indoors

      1. I live in the Twin Cities and received my Mexican Flower seeds March 30. When do think I can sow then outside?

        1. Hi Christian, I suggest starting MSF seeds indoors early 2-4 weeks before planting outdoors. Otherwise the seeds take too long to germinate sometimes. You can also get MSF plants at the friends plant sale in St. Paul:

          Friends School Plant Sale

  27. Hi Tony, there is a wildlife sanctuary nearby that is bursting with milkweed so, I’ll grab some seeds from there.
    Thanks so much~

  28. I’m totally new to this but determined to help raise and release butterflies. I purchased some Milkweed and have to contact the provider to see if any pesticides are on them. In reading articles about where to plant I understand that Butterflies don’t like wind and my back yard is facing south but seems to be a wind tunnel. Some milkweed lives around the ponds close to our yard, so should I plant near them or try in a more sheltered area in my garden? I don’t have all day sun.

    1. Hi Carol, congrats on starting your new butterfly garden! Your best bet is to to try planting in both places to see what works best. We plant the same milkweed species in different growing conditions within our yard to see where it will flourish. You definitely don’t need full sun to grow milkweed. Two milkweed varieties we successfully grow in partial shade are swamp and tropical. I encourage you to try those and others to see what works best for you…

  29. Don’t buy non-natives! In your yard it might seem like a great thing, but tossing non-native wrenches into local ecological systems has often wrought disaster.

    Consider English sparrows and starlings, which have been a disaster to native song birds. Once, someone thought it would be nice to have the (European) birds Shakespeare mentioned in some East Coast park…. and they looked great at the time! Native songbirds, however, are still paying the price.

    The problem with non-natives is that you simply can not predict when they’ll escape and displace native plant communities, or how they will effect the overall ecology of your area. Someone probably thought, “Hey, this purple flower would look great!” and now we’re dealing with Purple Loosestrife.

    Don’t be that person. Do your butterfly thing, but with natives! If that means you get a short season, well….. that’s OK. You’ll be supporting the flitters’ natural life-cycles and migration.


    1. To Steve,
      Here in Santa Cruz, where there is a Monarch sanctuary in our Natural Bridges state park, and here also there is great debate about using non-native species to help the Monarch population. However it is at such a decline that the rangers at the sanctuary ARE encouraging anyone to plant tropical milkweed locally in their gardens, they are selling seeds for it and have it growing in their butterfly garden by the ranger station. Native milkweed (showy milkweed) is very invasive so I do not grow it, if the seeds fly to the neighbors’ yards and take over that is not a good thing. I grew tropical milkweed last year for the first time ever and had Monarchs show up right away (I live about two miles inland from the sanctuary) They loved the tropical milkweed. This year I have been raising the Monarchs indoors and so far I have had eight successful releases, (three I lost due to mistakes I made, then I bought Tony’s book and have learned so much!)

      I was able to find seeds for heart leaf milkweed which is native to the west coast. I have gotten one plant so far as it is very hard to sprout so the main milkweed for my cats is my tropical milkweed. It likes the weather here in Santa Cruz and grows beautifully.

      Other debates include whether to have milkweed growing here in Santa Cruz at all, because then the theory is, that the Monarchs won’t migrate, I think most of them do, but some stay here, and is that really a bad thing? They will still need to overwinter whether or not they flew here from the Rockies or had their generations of butterflies here locally. It will get cold here in the winter, in my yard it freezes a few weeks a year. The sanctuary is right by the beach (it doesn’t freeze near the ocean) and the Monarchs hang in long clusters in the eucalyptus trees to stay warm. Oh, and that is another debate, eucalyptus trees are non-native too!! But the native species that Monarchs used to roost in (I can’t remember what type of tree it was) have almost disappeared do to disease and other stress factors, so at least there is something to keep the Monarchs safe through the winter and the eucalyptus will be blooming in the winter so the adult Monarchs have something to feed on when we get some sunny days and they are active.

      Bottomline, nature adjusts to things usually (not always though) but if the system is working then it is a good system like our tropical milkweeds and eucalyptus, both are non-native but now they have made the Central coast of California their home and the Monarchs come here still every year.

      Thank you Tony for this great site so we can share our passion for these magnificent creatures!

  30. I grew up with milkweed plants in my backyard. Now in a new home, the monarchs are around and I wish to buy plants for the area of Los Angeles near the beach. I know they cannot be shipped from the East Coast, and I am having trouble finding clean plants or plugs. Any help would be appreciated

    1. Hi Dennis, I would seek out local nurseries that grow plants without using harmful pesticides…or look for annual plant sales in your region. As far as I know, many nurseries in other parts of the country are able to ship to California, but you would need to check shipping policies before ordering:

      Milkweed Resources

  31. Is there a supplier for milkweed seeds that can ship to Hawaii? We have Monarch Butterflies here but have been unsucessful in finding a source for the plants.

    1. Hi Gary, I know there are USDA restrictions for shipping to Hawaii. Have you tried locating calotropis plants that are common to your region and taking stem cuttings for rooting instead? I am currently trying this calotropis procera and will be reporting on the process/results if the success is an experiment. You could also harvest seeds from bursting pods. These are the the milkweed plants commonly found in Hawaii:

      Calotropis procera

      Calotropis gigantea

  32. I live in Houston and there are 2 nurseries that are somewhat nearby that are supposed to sell only native and pesticide free plants. Last year after I brought in 6 or 7 caterpillars and ran out of milkweed, so I bought a couple plants from one of those nurseries. I cut a few stalks and placed them in the cage with my cats. Within 20 minutes, all but 1 was WRITHING on the floor of the tank. It was obvious they were in extreme pain. Some even threw up. It was absolutely sickening to watch but there was nothing I could do and they all died, all except 1 little cat who had not gotten into the milkweed yet. I called the manager of the nursery and told her what happened. She SWORE over and over that they bought only from growers that did not spray. I told them that it was impossible, because my cats were all fine, but 20 minutes after I put their milkweed in the cage, they were all nearly dead. A lot of people started complaining about what happened to me on Facebook, and they finally said they were pulling their milkweed from the shelves. They didn’t bother to apologize to me though or admit that they were wrong, which was really annoying. I won’t buy from them again. I’ve got 2 pretty large milkweed patches going now and am now putting out seeds for more. I’m trying to get some different native varieties going, along with lots of nectar plants. Hopefully, I’ll never have to buy a milkweed plant from a nursery again.

    1. Hi Bett, sorry to hear this happened to you. Unfortunately, this has happened to many people people raising monarchs throughout the years. Some of the big box stores may even think their milkweed supply is clean, but when someone else is doing the growing you can never be 100% sure. You are doing the right thing by getting your own patches established.

      I would like to say there are local nurseries across North America that don’t use pesticides and they’re an integral part of helping our community to support more monarchs. I hope you are able to find a better resource in Houston…just in case. Have a great season!

  33. I am new at this and purchased my most recent milkweed from a big box store when I needed more plants. I am not sure what killed my cats but if it was spray on the milkweed, how long would I have to wait for these plants to be OK? Thanks for any help on this.

    1. Hi Evelyn, sorry to hear about your poor cats. Unfortunately, I can’t answer this question because it depends on what pesticide was used, when it was applied, and how much was used. I would suggest seeking out new local nurseries and online resources to start the season with fresh plants…good luck!

  34. Am totally new at this but quite interested and don’t know where to start, I live in Alabama and wonder if I should buy ones that will thrive here and conditions for growing them.
    I will appreciate any help getting started.

  35. Missouri Wildflowers Nursery (mowildflowers.net) has an excellent selection of native plants and seeds. I have been happily purchasing from them for 9 years now.
    Thank you, Tony, for your infectious passion for monarchs. You inspire me to be the best butterfly gardener I can possibly be!

  36. I bought 6 Tropicals from my local nursery and got 22 cuttings from them, the theory being that the leaves I stripped off were the sprayed ones (from the commercial nursery) and the top 2 nodes having sprouted after the spraying. As of Mar 15 here in Phoenix they’ve only been in water a week and are already beginning to sprout tiny roots.

    I since have put 4 Tuberosas in the ground with the idea that as they sprout new leaves, I’ll strip off the old ones in time for the Monarchs arriving in about 6 weeks! I believe diligence is the key when starting a Monarch/butterfly way station…

  37. If you are a member of a Facebook butterfly enthusiast group, members will offer seeds for free as long as you include a stamped envelope, too.

    1. I would send you showy milkweed seeds harvested from last year if you send me a stamped addressed envelope. Email me at melwoodonly@aol.com with subject line BF Seeds.

      1. I need some seeds but will these do well in Michigan?I have a huge perennial garden with lots of plants that attract butterfly but I take it it’s not a source of food.

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