Four questions

Asked August 22, 2019, 9:29 AM EDT

1. Can you buy the large sunflower plants somewhere or do you have to use seed--just throw it out in the fall or start seedlings in the spring? 2. Saw Dove Foot Gereniams around a Maple doing well, looking beautiful. Are they available locally? 3 A lady said she saw an article about replacing grass with clover--it doesn't need mowing because it is short. Also, it requires little water. I'm redoing my back yard. Would clover be feasible? 4. Want to add Milkweed to my yard but don't want to take it from the wild. How do I start it? No butterflies around my house..

Anoka County Minnesota

1 Response

Perhaps in the future if you send us a question, you could restrict yourself to a single question per post? That way our answers can be short and to the point. It also facilitates classifying for the purposes of searching. Finally, some of us are more expert in certain things than in others. If a question covers several areas, it is possible it won't be handled by an appropriate expert.

Sunflowers are best grown from seed (long taproot makes them difficult to transplant). Seed them in the spring after danger of frost is past, somewhere around mid May.

Doves foot geranium has become invasive on the west coast and is not native to North America. That's probably why you (and I) could not find sources. I suggest growing one of our native cranesbills:

Clover is a great alternative to Kentucky blue grass, for the reasons you mentioned and also it fixes nitrogen, so there is no need to fertilize. If you can't find a garden center that sells it, you should be able to buy it online. Read here:

You should be able to find milkweed seeds at a garden center. If not, there are many online sources. You can also harvest milkweed seeds from plants in the wild. Milkweed seeds can be planted outdoors in the fall. They can also be started indoors in the spring, but they need a cold treatment. Details can be found here: