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Monday - March 18, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources, Seeds and Seeding, Wildflowers
Title: Milkweed Seedlings Source for Austin, Texas
Answered by: Anne Van Nest


Where can I find seedlings or four inch pots of common milkweed? I have a backyard garden that is mostly filtered sunlight and space for them.


Many different milkweeds (Asclepias sp.) are native to Texas and come in a range of intriguing pink, white, green, or orange blooms. Included in this group, Asclepias syriaca, the common milkweed is also a frequent resident of roadsides and old fields through most of the eastern half of North America.

Most milkweeds prefer fill sun and well drained, lean soils but there is one Texas native that will grow in full shade (2 hours or less of sun), Asclepias obovata, (pineland milkweed) and a few that like moist soils such as the swamp milkweed, (Asclepias incarnata) and the fewflower milkweed, (Asclepias lanceolata).

If you are planting milkweed for the monarch butterflies (which you should!), many experts recommend planting milkweeds, other than the common one in Central Texas. Here’s a previous Mr. Smarty Plants question about finding milkweed to feed monarch larvae.

To help narrow down your selection and convince you to consider expanding your milkweed planting beyond the common variety, Dr. Chip Taylor of Monarch Watch recommends Asclepias asperula (antelope horns) or Asclepias viridis (green antelope horn) for Austin, San Antonio and Central Texas for wildscape areas. Visit the Texas Butterfly Ranch for more information on the best milkweed plants to choose for monarch butterflies.

So to give you some milkweed alternatives to Asclepias syriacus, here are some additional Texas natives to consider.

Asclepias amplexicaulis (clasping milkweed)

Asclepias arenaria (sand milkweed)

Asclepias asperula (antelope horns)

Asclepias tuberosa (butterflyweed) - Take a look at these previous questions on growing butterflyweed from seed.

Asclepias viridiflora (green milkweed)

Asclepias viridis (green antelopehorn)

To find sources of plants or seeds for your milkweeds take a look at the Suppliers List on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center website. Just search for Texas and a list of about 25 nurseries and seed suppliers will appear with links to more detailed information about each one. The Monarch Watch group also have milkweed plant and seed suppliers online which include several in Texas.

By the way, starting milkweed from seed might be the best option for you and it's not that difficult. The Monarch Watch website has some good information on propagating and growing milkweeds.




From the Image Gallery

Common milkweed
Asclepias syriaca

Common milkweed
Asclepias syriaca

Common milkweed
Asclepias syriaca

Common milkweed
Asclepias syriaca

Clasping milkweed
Asclepias amplexicaulis

Sand milkweed
Asclepias arenaria

Antelope horns
Asclepias asperula

Green milkweed
Asclepias viridiflora

Asclepias tuberosa

Green antelopehorn
Asclepias viridis

Pineland milkweed
Asclepias obovata

Fewflower milkweed
Asclepias lanceolata

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