Can you provide a source for milkweed to attract Monarch butterflies?

Asked March 1, 2015, 8:16 PM EST

I would very much like to plant an appropriate milkweed for monarchs in York, Pennsylvania. I also have read that it is difficult to get them to grow from seed. Is there a source you could recommend and any tips for success?

York County Pennsylvania milkweed lrk monarch butterflies

1 Response

There are many kinds of milkweed, but the one I raise is called butterfly weed. The Xerces Society publishes a milkweed finder to help you find the best species for your area: Milkweed Seed Finder.

These are three species that grow in Pennsylvania:

  • Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
  • Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
  • Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
There are several native plant nurseries in Pennsylvania. "Edge of the Woods" is located in Orefield outside of Allentown, but you may find one closer to you through a search engine. As for growing seeds, you can buy butterfly weed seeds from most reputable seed companies, and the seed packet will have instructions for germinating the seeds.

One thing you need to note is that milkweed is attacked by an orange aphid that can kill the plant. You can't use pesticides since you don't want to kill Monarch caterpillars, so be prepared to visit your milkweed frequently to remove the aphids.