Common Milkweed produces a profusion of sweet-scented lavender flowers in mid-summer and is the mandatory food source for the caterpillars of the Monarch butterfly who feast on the leaves. Growing well in any well-drained soil, it does spread rapidly by rhizomes so it is best planted in a large area with other wildflowers and native grasses. Grow Common Milkweed this year to attract Monarchs to your garden!
|How To Grow||Naturally stratify seed by sowing directly outdoors in the fall in a sunny site - cover seed very lightly with soil. Indoors sow seed in a soil-less medium in late February, barely cover seed as diffuse light aids germination. Stratify seed by placing container in a refrigerator or other cold place for 3 months. Bring the container out and keep at 20 C (70 F) for the 10-18 day germination period. Grow on under lights at a slightly cooler temperature before hardening off and transplanting outside after the danger of frost has passed. Plants grow 60-120 cm (2-4') tall. Seed from mature plants disperses easily by wind action.|
|Blooming Season Begins||High Summer|
|Propagation||Start Indoors or Sow Direct in Fall|
|Days to Emergence||10 to 18|
|Height||Medium Tall (60 to 90 cm)(24 to 36")|
|Frost Tolerance||Winter Hardy|
|Degree of Difficulty||Easy|
|Heritage||Native of Canada|
|Suggested uses.||Native habitat rejuvenation and regeneration.
Butterfly and wildlife garden essential.
Monarch butterfly favourite.
Fragrant flower and excellent drought resistance.
|Requires Stratification||Many native plants produce seed that is viable but dormant. This means that while the seed has all the internal structures and nutrients required to germinate, the seed coat is so hard, water cannot pass through it and initiate germination. When seed is in this state, it is known as being dormant. Seed dormancy is a naturally selected for trait that protects the seed of many plants allowing them to safely overwinter and then be ready to sprout in more favourable conditions in spring.
The remedy to naturally breaking seed dormancy is typically the passing of time. In particular, seed overwintering outside and experiencing the natural freeze thaw cycles that occur in late fall, winter and early spring. To artificially break seed dormancy, sow the seed in a soil-less mix, water than chill in a refrigerator for a set period of time. This dormancy breaking process is called stratification.