Milkweeds

Asked November 8, 2018, 2:24 PM EST

I know that Monarch butterflies need milkweeds to live on.I have milkweed seeds that were sent to me by relatives in Iowa.I would like to plant them in a large flowerpot on my deck and see if they will grow. However,being a former farmer's daughter,I don't want to cause an agricultural issue. I think if I pull the seed pods off the plant before they open it should be okay.(and plants continue to remain in container)

Marion County Oregon

3 Responses

Good thinking! You're right to be cautious with introducing non-natives. Milkweed is a beneficial wildflower, despite having the word "weed" in its name. According to the USFWS, there are over 100 species of milkweed native to the US and none of them are considered noxious weeds. That said, it's a good idea to plant milkweed local to your region to ensure it won't take over your yard.

References:
Butterflies Need Room and Board to Stick Around the Garden: https://extension.oregonstate.edu/news/butterflies-need-room-board-stick-around-garden
Spreading Milkweed, Not Myths: https://medium.com/usfws/spreading-milkweed-not-myths-5df8c480912d

I planted my handful of seeds in a large planter outside. We'll see if they sprout or not. I happened to think that I never asked if there are native Oregon milkweeds or where I could obtain seeds from them. I live in Silverton and have never seen them growing around here. Thanks, Janet

Hey Janet,
The Xerces Society has a guide to native milkweeds in Oregon. Check it out! (http://www.xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/OR-milkweed-guide_XercesSoc2.pdf)

As Extension, we cannot recommend places to obtain seed, though I'm sure with the names of a few natives in hand and a google search or two, you'll find someone.