Plant Green Milkweed Seeds for Monarch Butterfly Gardens!
Green Milkweed (Asclepias viridis) grows best in Central and Southeastern United States, and is a primary food source for adult Monarchs and their caterpillars, especially in Texas. It’s also commonly called Spider or Green Antelope Horn Milkweed, but both of those plants are actually Asclepias asperula or Antelope Horn – a different type of milkweed better-suited to Western and Southwestern zones.
Green Milkweed is also a highly attractive host plant for Soldier and Queen Butterfly caterpillars and adults, and serves as a nectar plant for many other butterflies and pollinators, too.
Characteristics of Green Milkweed Plants
Green Milkweed is an herbaceous perennial, hardy in zones 4-9. It’s one of the earlier-flowering milkweeds, blooming from May to June. As such, this is a great milkweed to plant for those early-migrating Monarchs. The larger-than-average flower clusters are a unique creamy greenish color, with purple highlights in the center.
Growing 1-2′ tall, this is one of the shorter milkweeds. Green Milkweed behaves well in the garden, spreading gently. It utilizes a taproot, making it very drought-tolerant. It will thrive in dry to medium-moist soils, but well-drained soil is a must. .
Most milkweeds prefer full sun, and Green Milkweed is no exception. It performs best under no more than partly-shady conditions.
Starting Green Milkweed Seeds
Green milkweed seeds require 30 days of cold stratification to break dormancy. After stratification, plant them about 1/8″ deep at room temperature, 70°F, and keep them moist. These seeds can be fall-planted, winter-sown, or planted in the spring (indoors or out) after cold-stratification.
Green Milkweed is a great choice for those early Monarchs! They also make an ideal native milkweed for a smaller butterfly garden, where you don’t want aggressive milkweed taking over!