Free Milkweeds for Restoration Projects


Thanks to our funding sources, Monarch Watch and our partner nurseries were able to distribute 100,670 free milkweeds for restoration this spring. Since the program began in the Fall of 2015, we have distributed 306,402 milkweeds! The application is currently closed. We plan to reopen the application for Spring 2018 on 1 October 2017.

We are actively seeking more funding sources to distribute milkweed for restoration projects in the entire eastern US. Completing an application is not a guarantee that we will have free milkweeds for each ecoregion. It will help us determine interest so that we may pursue funding and seed sources. Once all factors are in place, free milkweed will be awarded to qualified applicants.

Funding Sources

  • Non-Profit
  • Corporate
  • Private


Free milkweeds are for large-scale native habitat restoration only. Habitat restoration is defined as the practice of renewing and restoring degraded, damaged, or destroyed ecosystems and habitats. Gardens or landscaped areas do not qualify as restoration. The portion of property where milkweed will be planted must be a minimum of two acres in area. Our recommendation for ideal monarch habitat is planting milkweed in patches of 3-4 plants, 10-13 patches per acre. Applicants must demonstrate that they have a land management plan, and that other nectar sources are either pre-existing or are included in the new planting. We recommend against planting large quantities of milkweed in a small area. The application is currently open to all ecoregions in the eastern half of the U.S. Our hope is that we will secure seed and funding for all of these ecoregions.

Monarch Watch reserves the right to determine whether an applicant qualifies for free milkweed, based on the restrictions of the various funding sources.

Plug Specifications

Milkweed plugs are propagated in two types of flats, either 32-cell flats with a shallow well or 50-cell flats with a deep well. The minimum award is four flats. The amount of the award is dependent on funding, supply and demand, and our goal to distribute milkweeds widely across the entire monarch range. Recipients should consider the time and effort it takes to grow large numbers of seedlings to maturity. Requests for more than 2,000 plants will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


Recipients will be responsible for shipping and handling costs, which are modest compared the value of the plants. For most shipments, 200 plants cost $40-$60 to ship via UPS Ground, (20-30 cents per plant).

Freight charges for pallets vary by carrier and distance travelled, but are usually in line with the UPS rates.

Most orders will be shipped UPS Ground on Monday or Tuesday only. Expedited shipping is available for an added cost.

Large quantities (2,000+ plants) will be palletized and shipped via freight or on racks in nursery trucks. A dock and pallet jack or forklift will need to be available at the delivery address.

Species Available

Recipients will receive plants grown pesticide-free, from seed collected within their ecoregion. The species offered will depend on seed availability. The following is a generalized list of species typically available to Monarch Watch in various regions. Monarch Watch only distributes plants that are considered native to the recipient’s location. For example, we would not distribute Asclepias asperula to N.E. Oklahoma, because it is not found there. A. viridis would be appropriate. (This is not a list of all of the native plants found in each of those regions.)

Midwest species:
Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed)
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed)
Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed)
Asclepias verticillata (Whorled Milkweed)

Texas/Oklahoma species:
Asclepias asperula (Antelopehorn Milkweed, Spider Milkweed)
Asclepias viridis (Green Antelopehorn Milkweed)

Gulf Coast species:
Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed)
Asclepias perennis (Aquatic Milkweed)

Midgrass and short grass prairie species:
Asclepias speciosa (Showy Milkweed)
Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed)

Milkweed Images

Images of most of these species can be found in our Milkweed Profiles


Please read the guidelines above before proceeding to the 2017 Free Milkweed Application.


If you wish to donate a monetary amount to Monarch Watch, please visit Donate to Monarch Watch.

Monarch Watch uses donated and purchased milkweed seed. If you wish to donate seed collected from wild populations of milkweed, see Seed Collecting and Processing.