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The Milkweed Lands Collection - Northwest Meadowscapes

The Milkweed Lands Collection

CREATE YOUR OWN MILKWEED BOTANICAL GARDEN

Famed for their role as host plants for monarch butterflies, milkweeds are much more than that.

They possess a floral complexity on par with rare orchids. They perfume the air with unmatched fragrance. The draw life to them – catalyzing whole complex ecosystems into existence by their mere presence: cobalt milkweed beetles that look like living jewels, bumble bee queens festooned with pollinia (the pollen-bearing structures of milkweed), small creatures devising nests of milkweed seed fluff.

This ecology, captured in our 2023 book, The Milkweed Lands, has edged towards disappearance in our collective lifetimes. In 2012, researchers calculated that some regions of North America have witnessed an almost 60% decline in milkweed abundance since the 1990s.

But the milkweed lands can be restored to their past glory. Sometimes reputed to be “hard to grow,” most people can actually grow milkweeds from seed with some dedication and diligence. While not always producing perfect results, the following general recipe has consistently worked best for us:

  1. Cold treat the seeds in a refrigerator mixed with barely damp sand for 30-60 days, checking occasionally to ensure no mold is growing. If it is, wash it off immediately.
  2. Soak the seeds in hot tap water for 8-hours after removing them from the fridge.
  3. Wrap the seeds in a damp paper towel, place this inside a plastic bag, and leave the package somewhere warm but out of sunlight – such as the kitchen counter.
  4. Unwrap and check the seeds daily.
  5. Any germinating seeds should be placed into a container with a mix of 50:50 seed-starting mix and sand, and kept in a warm outdoor location out of direct sunlight.
  6. Water and care for the young plants daily until they are large enough (6-8 inches) to be transplanted into the ground.

Results can vary, and as we improve our own process, we’ll continue to share those details here.

  • Showy Milkweed Seeds (Asclepias speciosa)

    Original price $6.55 - Original price $6.55
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    The only native host plant for monarch butterflies west of the Cascade Mountains! Showy milkweed’s thick fleshy stems and leaves make it a unique a...

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  • Narrowleaf Milkweed Seeds (Asclepias fascicularis)

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    Native from western Mexico to British Columbia, this is arguably a cornerstone of monarch butterfly breeding habitat across large sections of the I...

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  • Broadleaf Milkweed Seeds (Asclepias latifolia)

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    This is not a Northwestern Native, but rather is a plant of the central and southern plains and the desert southwest (roughly Nebraska to Californi...

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  • Heartleaf Milkweed Seed (Asclepias cordifolia)

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    This is sometimes one of the earlier emerging Western milkweeds, and certainly one of the especially visually striking species – with magenta/wine-...

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  • The Milkweed Lands (Book) – Author Signed Copy

    Original price $21.55 - Original price $21.55
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    The Milkweed Lands is a meditation on the existence of a wild plant in our current time-scale – both through a full year growing season – and in th...

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  • Common Milkweed Seeds (Asclepias syriaca)

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    Arguably the most iconic and widespread of the North American Asclepias genus, common milkweed naturally occurs east of the 100th meridian (essenti...

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  • Butterfly Milkweed Seeds (Asclepias tuberosa)

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    A native milkweed of the East, Midwest, and Southwestern U.S., butterfly milkweed is a specimen garden plant of tremendous appeal – one that can ad...

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  • Dogbane Hemp Seeds (in the pod) (Apocynum cannabium)

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    A milkweed relative, dogbane hemp is possibly the pre-eminent wild fiber plant of North America, producing tough fibrous stems that were rolled and...

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  • Swamp Milkweed Seeds (Asclepias incarnata)

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    Largely a species east of the Rocky Mountains where it occurs from New England to Florida and west into the Great Plains, swamp milkweed does occur...

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