Indigenous milkweed source for Richmond, VA

Asked February 23, 2015, 8:53 AM EST

I'd like to plant some milkweed to attract Monarch butterflies this summer. I can't find a good source here. Do you know of one? Or do you know of a mail order source?

Henrico County Virginia wildflowers and native plants butterflies milkweed monarch butterflies horticulture

2 Responses

The best species of milkweed for monarch butterfly caterpillars is considered to be common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) and butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) are two other kinds of milkweed which attract monarchs. All three of these species are native to eastern North America.

A good source of milkweed plants is Prairie Nursery Inc. at prairienursery.com.

An excellent source of information about monarchs and milkweeds is monarchwatch.org. Monarch Watch encourages people to establish milkweed patches and to have their patch registered in the Monarch Waystation program.


I wanted to make you aware of two/three plant sales coming up in Virginia where milkweed will be sold:

  1. Butterfly Society of Virginia will have a plant sale on Saturday, April 4, 2015, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm at Francis Land House, 3131 Virginia Beach Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23452. Free and open to the public. For more information go to http://butterflysocietyofva.org/.

  2. Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy will be having a couple of plant sales: Milkweed plant sale in May (May 16th) and all plants will be $3 each; We also have a native plant sale on April 18th but those plants will be a little more expensive (they will also be more mature plants though). Details are now on our website in the calendars: http://www.loudounwildlife.org/Programs_and_Field_Trips.htm.

Here is information on a mail order source given to me by the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy: Easiest (if you're ok with buying by the flat) is to order directly from Monarch Watch. People like us (LWC) sent in seeds last fall and they are growing them out specific to our ecoregion. They are excellent about making sure that the plants go back to the areas that the seeds came from so it's the most native you can get. They are also grown pesticide free. More info is here: http://monarchwatch.org/milkweed/market/. This is where we get our milkweed plants and they are terrific.

As both of these locations are a good distance from you, I would recommend that you contact your local Virginia Cooperative Extension Office Master Gardener Volunteers and ask if they could recommend a local plant sale where milkweed might be sold. To find your local Extension Office visit: http://www.ext.vt.edu/offices/index.html.

One local plant sale in your region that I am aware of is at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, May 1 & 2. For more information visit their website: http://www.lewisginter.org/events/event_detail.php?event_id=762.