Your milkweed purchase is the first step in creating habitat for the monarch butterfly. It is important to sow the seed correctly to give the seeds the best opportunity to germinate and grow. Make sure that you are able to achieve a good seed to soil/mulch contact before sowing the seed. The seed must contact its growth medium in order to anchor in and begin the germination process. Seeding can occur between October and June, but should not be completed during the summer months. Once the seed is broadcast, work the seed into the soil to a depth of 1/8th inch. This can be accomplished by flipping over a garden rake and lightly moving the seed and the soil/mulch. Straw may be added but is not necessary. Often time, straw introduces weed seed that competes with the milkweed plants.
Milkweed are perennial plants and may take multiple seasons to germinate and grow. Most species need to go through a cold stratification process in order to germinate. This means that if you sow the seed in the spring after the freeze/thaw process the seeds will most likely lay dormant until they can be stratified the following winter. Keep in mind that just because you can't see the milkweed doesn't mean it's not growing. Perennial plants will put down roots for stability prior to emerging above ground. It is these deep root systems that will enable your milkweed plants to be a home to Monarchs for future generations.
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