Butterfly milkweed produces seeds that can be gathered and sowed in other areas to provide even more plants to attract butterflies. The monarch butterfly, a species that relies on the plants to host its larvae, is often seen flitting about the plant.
The seeds of the perennial plant come in brown pods. Long silky white hairs are attached to each small, brown seed. Once the pods split open, the mature seeds rely on the hairs to catch the wind and take them to new areas to germinate.
Butterfly milkweed can propagate by cuttings from the plant’s rhizomes or via seed. New plants usually bloom in their second year. The seeds can be gathered from the plant, then sowed in the fall. Keeping the seeds in a cold place for three months before planting can aid in germination.
Seeds from butterfly milkweed can be collected as soon as the pods ripen but before the pods split open. Since the seeds are easily wind-borne, using a paper bag to gather the seeds may help. Butterfly milkweed seeds can also be bought at nurseries.