Thanks to our funding sources, Monarch Watch and our partner nurseries were able to distribute 113,500 free milkweeds for restoration in 2017. Since the program began in the Fall of 2015, we have distributed 320,000 milkweeds! We also owe a big thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to plant and care for these milkweeds.
The Spring 2018 application is now open for habitat restoration projects located in the Monarch Milkweed Corridor. This includes most of the eastern half of the United States. South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana are not included in the grant at this time. As of 1 October 2017, Monarch Watch has secured funding for 100,000 milkweeds for Spring 2018. We are actively seeking more funding sources. If funding and seed become available for more areas, the application will be updated accordingly.
- Non-ProfitNon-Profit FundingThrough a grant from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), over 80,000 free milkweeds for restoration projects were distributed in 2016 by Monarch Watch and our partner nurseries, leaving just under 20,000 to distribute Spring 2017. Monarch Watch uses 22.3% for administrative costs and 77.7% to pay the nurseries for the plants.
- CorporateCorporate FundingIn 2015 and 2016 over 100,000 free milkweeds were distributed by Monarch Watch and our partner nurseries for habitat restoration projects thanks to a grant from Monsanto. The grant has been renewed for 2017. Monsanto pays the nurseries directly for the plants and Monarch Watch receives 21.8% of the grant for administrative costs. For more information on Monsanto’s monarch program please visit: Monsanto Announces Multi-Year Commitment to Help Monarch Butterflies.
- PrivatePrivate FundingSeveral anonymous sources provide funding for free milkweeds for restoration.
Free milkweeds are for large-scale (two acres or more) 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. Roadsides and Trails are acceptable areas. 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 project. We recommend against planting large quantities of milkweed in a small area. The application is currently open to most of the eastern half of the U.S. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to provide all species listed.
Monarch Watch reserves the right to determine whether an applicant qualifies for free milkweed, based on the restrictions of the various funding sources.
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 Milkweed Corridor. Recipients should consider the time and effort it takes to grow large numbers of seedlings to maturity, including watering. 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.
Orders will be shipped UPS Ground on Monday or Tuesday, in order to arrive before the weekend. 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.
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.)
Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed)
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed)
Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed)
Asclepias verticillata (Whorled Milkweed)
Asclepias asperula (Antelopehorn Milkweed, Spider Milkweed)
Asclepias viridis (Green Antelopehorn Milkweed)
Asclepias oenotheroides (Zizotes Milkweed)
Midgrass and short grass prairie species:
Asclepias speciosa (Showy Milkweed)
Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed)
Images of most of these species can be found in our Milkweed Profiles
Please read the guidelines above before proceeding to the 2018 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.