FAQ - #gotmilkweed 2016

If you can't find your answers in the FAQ below, please do not hesitate to contact us at contact@davidsuzuki.org

Why should I plant milkweed?

Monarch butterflies depend on milkweed to survive. It’s the only plant on which monarch mothers lay their eggs and food source for monarch caterpillars. Over the past few decades, more than one billion milkweed plants have been lost across North America, largely due to widespread use of the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup) on millions of hectares of agricultural land. Planting milkweed throughout the monarchs’ migratory range is the single most important thing we can do to help them.


What is #gotmilkweed?

This is the third year the David Suzuki Foundation has hosted our #gotmilkweed campaign, and the first time we're selling in the fall. Over the past two years, the campaign inspired more than 15,000 milkweed plantings in Toronto gardens, balconies, parks and schoolyards. This year, the campaign expanded to include milkweed seed packs in addition to milkweed seedlings, and we sold over 10,000 packs across Canada.


What type of milkweed is best for my area?

The #gotmilkweed sale includes three milkweed species — common, swamp and butterfly — that are native to Canada. Please consult the list below to find milkweed for your region.

  • Ontario and Quebec: All three types available through this campaign, common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), swamp milkweed (Asclepias incamata) and butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
  • Saskatchewan: Only common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
  • Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island: Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) and swamp milkweed (Asclepias incamata)
  • BC and Alberta: The best native species of milkweed in these regions is showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa), however we were unable to source seeds for this year's campaign. Please contact local garden centres and nurseries and ask that they carry this species in future. Also check out local native plant groups. If you wish to support the #gotmilkweed campaign, you can contribute and we'll plant milkweed on your behalf
  • Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut: Milkweed is not native to your region. Please contact local conservation and horticultural groups to find out which pollinator-friendly plants are best for your community. Also check out local native plant groups. If you wish to support the #gotmilkweed campaign, you can contribute and we'll plant milkweed on your behalf
  • Outside of Canada: We cannot mail seeds outside of Canada, unfortunately. But we encourage you to contact local conservation or horticultural organizations to find local sources of milkweed for your region. NANPS has a great list of local native plant groups across North America.


When will the seed packets be mailed?

All orders for seeds will be mailed in late October. Note seeds will only be mailed within Canada. No international orders. 


How do I grow milkweed from seeds?

Choose a sunny, well-drained spot in your garden. Make a half-inch-deep hole in the soil (with your finger), add one or two seeds and cover lightly with soil. Plant at least six inches apart.

You can plant milkweed seeds in late fall before the ground freezes, when it’s too cold for them to sprout before winter. Make sure you've marked where the seeds are planted. Mother Nature will do the rest. 


Will milkweed take over my garden?

While all milkweed species spread through seeds, some species, such as common milkweed, also spread through rhizomes — underground lateral roots. To prevent spreading through rhizomes, add a below-soil border to separate milkweed from other parts of your garden. 

Like dandelions, milkweed seeds have silky appendages carried by wind. To prevent seeds from spreading, remove seed pods before they open in late fall. Save your seeds to share with friends and neighbours.  


How else can I help monarchs and other pollinators?

One easy way to get more information about helping monarch butterflies is to sign the Monarch Manifesto. For more information about how to help other pollinators, such as wild bees and butterflies, check out www.davidsuzuki.org/bees.


Thank you to our national partner Nature's Way.

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