When sowing seeds outdoors, work up the soil in a protected location in early to mid-November. Scatter the seeds over the prepared seed bed and then cover the seeds with approximately 1/4 inch of soil. The cold, moist conditions over winter improve seed germination. Seedlings should emerge in spring. Carefully transplant the seedlings to their permanent locations when the seedlings are 3 to 4 inches tall.
Harvest the seed pods of butterfly weed when the pods begin to split. Seeds can be sown directly outdoors in late fall or started indoors.
To start seeds indoors, fill a flat with a commercial germination medium (such as Jiffy Mix). Moisten the medium. Scatter the seeds over the surface of the germination medium and lightly press the seeds into the material. Cover the seeds with an additional 1/4 inch of the germination mix. Carefully moisten the additional material. Slide the flat in a plastic bag and place the bagged flat in the refrigerator. Leave the flat in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 weeks. After 4 to 6 weeks, remove the flat from the refrigerator and place it in an area with a temperature of 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Seeds should begin to germinate in 3 to 4 weeks. (If no seedlings appear after 4 weeks, place the flat back in the refrigerator for another 4 to 6 weeks and repeat the process.) Take the flat out of the plastic bag as soon as seedlings appear and place the flat under fluorescent lights in a 60 to 65 degree Fahrenheit location. Transplant the seedlings into individual pots when the seedlings are 1 to 2 inches tall. Continue to grow the seedlings indoors under fluorescent lights for several more weeks. Prior to planting outdoors, place the seedlings outdoors in a shady, protected location and then gradually expose the seedlings to longer periods of direct sun. Plant the seedlings in their permanent locations after they have hardened outdoors for 10 to 14 days.
Butterfly Weed is toxic to most humans in large doses. The sap and roots are the primary toxic compounds.
After the flowers have faded seed pods will begin to develop in late Summer and into Autumn. Eventually the pods will turn brown and open up, releasing Butterfly Weed seeds into the wind.
Butterfly Weed prefers rocky or sandy soil that drains well. It can grow in compacted soil and even clay, but will grow more slowly.
Butterfly Weed needs to have well-drained soil. Make sure the soil is well drained.
Garden Uses for Butterfly Weed
4 – Place pots in a location that receives morning sun and afternoon shade.
In Fall and Winter, Butterfly Weed can be cut back to the ground. Once the leaves and stalk appear dead or dry, simple take pruning shears and cut the plant to ground. It will reemerge in Spring.
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Why does my Butterfly Weed keep dying?
Uses by the Cherokee, Delaware, Menominee, Mohegan, and Navajo include
Butterfly Weed is a host plant for the Monarch Butterfly. That means that migrating Monarch Butterflies will lay eggs on Butterfly Weed plants.