Broadleaf Milkweed Seeds (Asclepias latifolia)
This is not a Northwestern Native, but rather is a plant of the central and southern plains and the desert southwest (roughly Nebraska to California). Still, given the interest in monarch butterfly conservation and out of an appreciation for the milkweed genus, we’ve had many folks reaching out asking about other milkweed species to use as interesting botanical specimens for their gardens. After discovering this often-overlooked member of the milkweed clan in our travels, we thought it might be as interesting to others as it is to us.
Standing at nearly 3-feet in mature height, this is a very sturdy plant with (as the name suggests) big, rubbery, Dr. Seuss-like leaves, pronounced with enormous bulging veins. The whole affair resembles something like a reptile crossed with a cabbage.
Keep this in dry, sunny locations at maturity for the most impressive results!.
Note: milkweed seeds can be hard to get started. We sometimes struggle ourselves to break seed dormancy, and get seedling plants growing. Based on our experience (which should not be treated as the last/best word on the subject), here’s what we recommend:
- Cold stratify the seeds in the 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.
- Soak the seeds in hot tap water for 8-hours after removing them from the fridge.
- 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.
- Unwrap and check the seeds daily.
- 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.
- Water and care for the young plants daily until they are large enough (6-8 inches) to be transplanted into the ground.
Approximately 150 seeds. (1.1 grams).