ARIZONA MILKWEEDS FOR MONARCHS
Terrior Seeds is partnering with AZ Milkweed for Monarchs to grow and distribute 16 unique milkweeds.
These milkweed seeds are the highest quality available anywhere because they are hand-grown across central and northern Arizona, then hand-harvested, hand-cleaned, and hand-packed. Over the past five years, they have been test-grown in different elevations to verify their vigor and adaptability to different conditions.
This is the first time several of these species have been available for sale, for the simple reason that they can’t be commercially grown and machine harvested.
If you are a gardener who cherishes the appearance of the Monarch butterfly and want to attract them into your garden, this is your best chance to plant the finest milkweed seed before the word gets out and we sell out!
Credit: Mary Barnes
In 2018 we partnered with Arizona Milkweed for Monarchs, a nonprofit pilot project organized by citizen science volunteers that hand-raises over a dozen milkweed species in central and northern AZ.
Since then, nearly 2,500 packets of milkweed seeds have been sown by home gardeners across the US, creating greatly diversified stands of multiple milkweed species – an incredibly beneficial improvement for Monarchs all across the continent. Each fall, these milkweed plants spread their seeds far and wide on the fall air currents, strengthening the milkweed population significantly.
Through this partnership, AZ Milkweed for Monarchs has furthered their studies of milkweed pests and diseases, evaluating the best habitats for the plants and how well Monarchs utilize each milkweed species at a given location, as well as collect, propagate and grow additional species of milkweed that aren’t available as of yet.
All of this would not be possible without you and your garden!
Terroir Seeds, 2021
Terroir Seeds Update 2022 - 2023
AZ Milkweed for Monarchs – our partner in supplying milkweed seed – has been working diligently over the past few years to grow more species and collect enough seed to be able to sell. Their hard work and dedication are paying off, as we’ve received fresh seed of the Whorled Milkweed, and have two new varieties to offer.
Thanks to this partnership, we have a full dozen milkweed species on offer, with 11 being grown by AZ Milkweed for Monarchs - all in Arizona, fully by hand. That means sowing, monitoring, harvesting, cleaning, and packing are all done by hand by a steadfast group of home gardeners, each growing a couple of species so they can help produce the highest quality seed available.
Here are the two new varieties -
Giant Swan Milkweed
It is not native to Arizona, or the US for that matter. It is native to tropical Africa, but it produces so much biomass of leaves for the African Monarchs, that greenhouse managers and Monarch conservationists alike are growing it to feed large numbers of hungry larvae.
Besides being a feeding station, it blooms later in the season than almost any other milkweed and provides both nectar for adults and leaves for the larvae to feed on. For this very reason, it is known and highly valued as a Monarch hatchery plant.
What stops people in their tracks isn’t any of the above reasons, but the fact that it is a six-foot tall plant covered with fuzzy lime-green balloon-like seed pods, each sporting soft spines.
AZ Milkweed for Monarchs has found this milkweed overwinters up to 4,000 feet elevation in Sedona & the Village of Oak Creek, known for mild winters.
This tough, vigorous plant is native to California, Utah, and Arizona and is often found climbing or twining up to 10 -15 feet long on neighboring bushes and shrubs in dry washes of the Mojave and Colorado deserts.
It forms an extensive network of vines, climbing everything nearby while creating shade with its leaves and a canopy of delicate cream-colored blossoms slightly brushed with pink when in bloom. The explosion of color and shade in otherwise arid washes creates striking memories for many hikers who come upon it.
Perennial in its native habitats, it is grown as a tender annual elsewhere, making an excellent addition to the nature-scape or wildflower garden as a larval host plant for the Monarch Butterfly and Queen Butterfly. The abundance of attractive flowers readily attracts butterflies and other pollinators.
AZ Milkweed for Monarchs found the original plants along the Verde River in AZ growing under cottonwoods.