En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
2 ratings

Thursday - March 28, 2013

From: Burnet, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources, Butterfly Gardens
Title: Questions about milkweed seeds
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Dear folks, I am trying to locate Nan Hampton from Los Fresnos, Texas who asked about Asclepias texana seeds and other Asclepias seeds on Dec. 10, 2008. I would like to know if she found any and has some for trade or sale. I would like to grow these, too, esp. the rare varieties. Thank you.


You are referring to this question from Dec. 10, 2008, I believe.  Nan Hampton (me) is not the person who asked the question; instead, I answered the question as one of the Mr. Smarty Plants volunteers.  We do not give out contact information for people who ask the questions.

I am very happy you are interested in growing milkweeds.  Growing milkweeds is very important since the latest news is that monarch butterfly populations are declining.  This decline has been linked to the decreased availability of milkweed plants which has been tied to habitat destruction, the drought and herbicide use in agricultural fields.

The Bring Back the Monarchs campaign was created to restore the dwindling milkweed populations.  Producing quantities of native milkweed species seeds is not as easy as one might think, however.  On the Texas Butterfly Ranch website an article by Monika Maeckle, Persnickety Texas Milkweeds "May Not Lend Themselves to Mass Seed Production", describes the difficulties encountered by Native American Seed in Junction TX in producing quantities of seeds of two Texas native milkweeds, Asclepias asperula (Spider milkweed) and Asclepias viridiflora (Green milkweed).

Here are sources of milkweed seeds that I found:

Check the Native Seed Network website for their listing of sources for seeds of various Asclepias species.

Native American Seeds in Junction, TX lists seed of Asclepias tuberosa and A. asperula for sale.

Monarch Waystation Program advertises a seed packet for sale with seeds of Asclepias syriaca (Common milkweed), Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed) and Asclepias incarnata (Swamp milkweed) included, as well as nectar plants for adult monarchs.

Additionally, I would again suggest (as recommended in the question you cite) contacting the following sources for milkweed seeds and/or plants:

Sources for Monarch Butterfly Waystation Plants listed on Mother Earth News.

The Native Plant Society of Texas in those areas where the rare Asclepias texana (Texas milkweed) grows (e.g., Big Bend chapter, Austin chapter, Kerrville chapter) to see if they know a source.  Since you are in Burnet, you might also try the Highland Lakes Chapter.

Also, check our National Suppliers Directory for seed companies and nurseries near you to contact to see if they have seeds are plants for sale.

Check out this Mr. Smarty Plants question for information about propagating milkweed.

Finally, here is an informative article about Texas' native milkweeds from the Native Plant Society of Texas.



More Butterfly Gardens Questions

Butterfly Plants for Chicago
September 13, 2014 - I live near Chicago, IL and am interested in planting a butterfly garden. Not sure when to start, but I want all native plants that would attract butterflies. Can you please let me know which plants ...
view the full question and answer

Pollinators for Washington State
June 26, 2015 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am removing invasive knotweed in the Pacific Northwest and I would like to provide native plant alternatives that would flower and provide pollen in the late summer/fall f...
view the full question and answer

Will Canada geese eat Asclepias tuberosa from Cape May Court, NJ
May 20, 2014 - Will Canada geese eat my butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)? I know this plant is deer resistant. I really want to plant some on sandy bank near pond in my back yard, but I fear the geese will ...
view the full question and answer

Flowers that attract Queen butterflies
August 17, 2014 - Walking into the cloud of Queen butterflies around my Gregg's Mistflowers is one of the coolest things I've ever experienced, so I started wondering how I could prolong this "visitation". Can you...
view the full question and answer

Butterfly garden in Austin
May 28, 2008 - I am located in North Central Austin, and just bought a house with a large back yard. One half is shade-part sun, and the other half is full sun. The shade from three large (55-60) foot trees. I am...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center