Need tricks for growing milkweed & white Gaura

Hi everyone!

Around the property a ton of goldenrod and the bees just love it but would like to have some milkweed to attract monarch butterflies. Bought commercial seeds and followed instructions to the letter but did not get any result. Scarification, cold and blablabla but at the end of the day: nothing. Same problems with trying to grow white Gaura.

Why do I have so much success growing 99% of all my vegetables from seeds but none with those two???

If someone has any tips I would greatly appreciate.


Spend for some perennial plants. Over time they’ll increase in #'s.


Hey @Shabou! I grow common milkweed and swamp milkweed at my place. Monarchs like both but seem to prefer the swamp milkweed (small sample size though). We started out with actual plants and some of them have re-seeded a bit (more the common milkweed). I’d suggest just planting seeds in a mulched bed and seeing what happens. You might get more than you expect. I’d say just find seed nearby if that is an option, or there may be local groups who give it away for free. PM me if you want some of mine.


Milkweed starts very easily from seed usually they need cold stratification and here in the rockies usually snow seeded just worked into soil surface lightly. Bring any pots you started milkweed outdoors i think it needs cold to signal

Goldenrod i bought Peter pan since it is a huge nectar producer and powdery mildew resistant


Hi Ryan:

I tried many ways to grow them as indicated on the 3 packs (from 3 different sellers) I bought on eBay. Directly in top soil with LED lamps and heating mat, 24 hours in room temp. Water and then in top soil again with lamps & mat and 24 hours in water, 48 hours in fridge then in top soil and lamp and mat. Usually i have big success with all my veggies:

But with the milkweed = nada!

My main problem? No milkweed within many kilometers from here… so I can not dig and transfert here…

Since you did not expriment with planting from seeds I can not profit from your own experience… I still have 7 seeds but wasted 23 of them so far. i believe waiting for 60 days for some plant tips to show was long enough?

Maybe someone will give me some tips in the next few days. If not, I will contact you. Thanks for the generous offer! Marc

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I usually just put a bunch of seed in n the planting bed at the end of the year and a few new ones pop up each year. We started with one or two plants and have a few dozen now. They aren’t picky but it does seem like I have a low germination rate. That could be due to lack of poor effort because I know at least a few will take and we have “enough” already. I would be happy to dig a couple up to send your way, not sure what the best time of year would be. (or just send lots of seeds)


I just put them in a wet paper towel in the back of the fridge for 6 months or so and got a good crop. Once the milkweed sets flower I cut off the seed pods and store them so they don’t spread everywhere. If you still want seeds I can give you all of them since they are perenial.


Hi Jimmy!

6 months in the fridge??? Only 1 of the 3 packets bought said 48 hours in fridge, the 2 others did not mention refrigeration at all… No wonder I got nothing!

I guess it’s too late to start a new germination period now. I will wait until October, get the car and look for some milkweed pods a few km from here, dry the pods for a 3/4 month period then put them in the fridge until March then in the garage with lamp & heating mat and see what happen. If I get my hands on many pods, at the end of the drying period I will put some seeds directly in the ground before winter get here which is late August. HA! Ha!

Thanks for the advice and the generous offer!



Ferry Morse brand Butterfly Weed (asclepias tuberosa) seeds germinated for me last year without any issues. Germination was low, but they germinated without me providing any stratification or scarification.

I found the seeds at a big box store, either Walmart or Lowes. If they’re available near you it’s not too late to sow this year.


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Hi Paul!

Thanks for the tips. There is a Walmart about 30 km from here. Next time I will visit their seeds display. Did you put the seeds in ground or pots? How much time did it take before having an aerial tip? Marc

I started them indoors in late winter along with many others, so I don’t remember the details except that they were slow to germinate and the percentage was low. I eventually planted them outside and they flowered sometime during the summer.

I have quite a bunch of the 125 seed pack left and think I’ll see if they’ll germinate outside this year. I have a few places near a pond where they might look nice. Nothing to lose…

Good Luck!

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While on the milkweed topic if you get the orange aphids I wouldn’t bother trying to get rid of them. I still had decent flowers and leaf production with a severe infection. I have never seen so many aphid predators in my life. Hundreds of lady bug larvae, lacewings and some sort of maggot that ate them too. First time seeing assassin bugs in my cucumbers too.


This is my first year trying to grow butterfly weed, for what it’s worth. I got the seeds from Burpee and started them in the grow box at 75’ about 10 days ago (late to the party). No specific reason for sticking them in the grow box other than I had some space freed up after moving some peppers out to harden.

Well, the first seeds sprouted after four days. A week from planting, most seeds have germinated (at least 90%, I would say). I have a lot of seeds left over so will start some outside too.


I have too much butterfly milkweed among my apple trees. Roundup knocks it down but doesn’t kill it.

(I would dig it up and relocate or give away, but I’ve done so much digging in the last 60 years I’m tired of digging, so anyone that brings a hoe I’d give some away.)

I talked with A NeighborThat raises cattle last year…
“ ( Hey how is it going …
Good …mowing pasture . Milk weed is about to take over…
I said , milkweed seed prices are up. !
He gave me a very strange look .
I tried to explain…
He left to go mow…
I wonder what the $ of seed yield is. Per acre ? Compared to/ or with cattle ?
Oh ,…and that milkweed seed likely blew off my farm onto his , iam up wind…
I did not mention that at the time …:grinning:


I’m in SoCal and have gardened in the 4 corners area also. Gaura purchased as a 4 in or 1 gal. plant has re-seeded itself all over my yard to the point it’s kind of a nuisance now. I’ve begun to trim back or pull out I have so many. I tried milkweed by seed with no luck. However again purchasing a 1 gallon, I have been successful in having it come back 3 years in a row. I’ve ignored the aphids, it’s been eaten down to a single stem and come back beautifully. I’ve seen the caterpillars in my yard along with Monarchs.

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I have a small 3x8 bed with milkweed and fennel just so my daughter can obsess over the butterfly. The moment I saw the seed pods open I knew I needed to round them up so I wouldn’t end up regretting it. Not all that hard to just cut them off and toss them in a bucket. I often wonder why the seed is so expensive when it is such a bountiful producer. Guess the Monarch being on decline has spurred some entrepreneurs, not a bad thing by no means but if anyone wants seed I’d gladly pay for shipping.