Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) is the host plant of the monarch butterfly and an important nectar source for bees and butterflies. Native to the western portion of Canada and the United States, this species spreads less aggressively than it's cousin Common Milkweed. The blooms are incredibly fragrant. Common milkweed sap is toxic, so growing it in areas where livestock graze should be discouraged. An alternative are non-toxic swamp or butterfly milkweed.
Note that Showy Milkweed will hybridize with Common Milkweed. In order to produce seed that is true to parent, it is necessary to plant these varieties a sufficient distance apart (2,500 feet or more).
Cold, moist stratification required. Mix seeds with moist substrate (vermiculite, perlite or moss) and place in a plastic bag and refrigerate for 6-8 weeks. Sow seed at 1/8 inch depth. Do not let seedling dry out while it is establishing.
Sow directly outdoors in late fall to overwinter.