Green Milkweed Seeds for Butterfly Gardens
Asclepias viridis has several common names such as Green Milkweed, Green Antelopehorn Milkweed, and Spider Milkweed. (The term “Spider Milkweed” is also used for Asclepias asperula – a different type of milkweed). It is native in central and southeast US states and is considered a major food source for Monarchs, especially in Texas.
Along with being a highly attractive milkweed to the Monarchs, Green Milkweed also serves as a host plant for Soldier Butterfly caterpillars and Queen Butterfly caterpillars. It serves as a nectar plant as well for many adult butterflies and other pollinators.
Characteristics of Asclepias viridis
Green milkweed is one of the earlier milkweeds, blooming around May to June. As such, this is a great milkweed to plant for those early migrating Monarchs. The flowers are unique with their creamy greenish coloring with purple highlighting in the center. They are also rather large on this smaller milkweed plant.
Growing 1-2 ft tall, this is one of the shorter milkweeds and is well behaved in the garden, spreading gently. It utilizes a taproot, making Green milkweed a very drought tolerant plant. Well drained soil is a “must”. It will thrive in dry to medium-moist soils.
Full sun is highly preferred as with most milkweeds and will bring about the best performance but the plant will tolerate part shade. Asclepias viridis is an herbaceous perennial, hardy in zones 4-9.
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 and kept 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!