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Milkweed seed is now available at Fontana Interpretive Nature Center in Hazleton. Four species are available while supplies last – common milkweed, swamp milkweed, butterfly milkweed and whorled milkweed. Also available free are packages of Meadow Blazingstar seed.

Milkweed is the only plant that adult female monarchs lay their eggs on and that monarch caterpillars will eat. Milkweed numbers have decreased drastically with the widespread use of herbicide resistant crops. In order to ensure the continued survival of this iconic butterfly species, we need to have more milkweed growing in home gardens, ditches, waterways, school grounds and other uncropped open spaces.

Planting instructions are available at the table in the nature center with the seed, but essentially involve throwing seed on bare soil now so that the seed experiences a period of cold weather which will improve germination in spring.

Meadow Blazingstar is a nectar producing flower that blooms during the early part of the monarchs’ fall migration. It is a perennial that will surely draw in adult monarchs, but does require 2-3 years before it will bloom, so it requires some patience and proper ID of the young plant to prevent weeding it out.

Butterfly gardening seed packages that include four milkweed species, larval host plants for other butterflies, and nectar producing flowers that will bloom throughout the summer and fall are currently being assembled and will be available by Dec 1. These seed packages contain 20 total species and are available for just $10. Compared to other sources of native butterfly plant seeds, this is an amazing discount. All seed is harvested in Buchanan County from native plants.