Free Milkweeds for Restoration Projects

Please note: Until further notice, we are unable to supply free restoration milkweeds to Texas, Florida or California. We are working on resolving this issue. In the meantime, smaller amounts of milkweed for California and Florida may be available for purchase via

Go directly to our Free Milkweeds for Restorations Projects Form to request milkweeds or continue reading for additional information.

Through funding provided by Monsanto, we will be able to offer 100,000 free milkweed plugs for large-scale restoration projects in June and September of 2015 and through spring and fall 2016. Applicants for these free plugs are asked to describe the site. We would like to know the type of habitat (roadside, old field, prairie restoration, etc.), its location (including a picture and approximate latitude and longitude), along with a brief description how the site will be maintained. We would also appreciate it if your group would provide us with pictures taken during or after the planting. While the plugs are free, the recipients must agree to cover the modest shipping costs described below. For more information on Monsanto’s monarch program please visit:

Types of flats with plugs

Plugs will be available in two forms: flats with 32 plugs each and flats containing 50 plugs. The 32 plug flats will be available for selected species and ecoregions in June with some possibly being available for fall planting. The 50 plug flats will be available for some regions this fall and will be ready to ship to a broader array of ecoregions in the spring and fall of 2016.

Milkweed species available

Based on the needs of monarchs, the availability of seed stocks and anticipated germination and growing success, we expect to distribute the following species to selected ecoregions in 2015: Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed), A. sullivantii (Sullivant’s milkweed), A. viridis (green antelopehorn milkweed), A. exaltata (poke milkweed), A. incarnata (swamp milkweed), and A. verticillata (whorled milkweed).

We anticipate being able to broaden the ecoregions for which the above species are available in 2016. In addition, we anticipate adding A. speciosa (showy milkweed) and a few other species to the list. A. tuberosa will not be among these offerings due to the lack of ecoregion specific seed sources for this species.

Please contact us at to learn if milkweed plugs are available, or are likely to be, for restoration in your ecoregion.

Minimum orders

This program is intended for restoration projects only (not for gardens or resale). Our desire is to assure that milkweeds reach sites appropriate for restoration in sufficient numbers to effectively benefit monarchs and other pollinators. To meet this goal, and, due to the necessity of keeping production and handling costs low, the minimum order is 6 flats with 32 plugs each (192) and later (late 2015 and all of 2016) 4 flats with 50 plugs (200).

Maximum orders

Provisionally, the upper limit for an order is set at 1 pallet per restoration program. Depending on the types of plugs and packaging the number of plugs in a pallet is 1400-1600. This limit reflects our desire to distribute the available plugs over a broad range of locations. The idea is to fill as many holes in the distribution of milkweeds as we can with the available resources. If your organization is coordinating restoration over a broad range of sites, we might be willing to make an exception to the 1 pallet limit.


Most orders will be shipped UPS Ground (1-4 day delivery depending on the distance) unless the recipient is willing to pay for expedited shipping. Two-day delivery is preferred since 4 days in transit can stress the plants. If we anticipate that a shipment will require 4 days, we will let you know in case you wish pay to expedite delivery.

Pallets of plugs are shipped via truck. For all pallet orders, we need a shipping address that has a loading dock, as well as equipment to remove pallets from the truck to the dock as soon as the shipment arrives (pallet jack, fork lift, etc.). We also need a phone number of the person receiving the shipment, so that the driver can phone them when in the vicinity.

Shipping costs

Shipping costs are modest but will, of course, vary with the number of boxes with flats shipped to a recipient. In most cases, the costs per plug work out to be 20-30 cents. Therefore, a shipment of 200 plugs is likely to cost $40-$60.

Pallets are generally delivered in 2 days and shipping rates differ among carriers and with distance. Nevertheless, these costs are generally modest as well and are in line with our rates with UPS.

Milkweed species available:

R. G. Bailey, Ecoregions of the United States, USDA Forest Service, revised 1994.

Species list with common names:

Asclepias amplexicaulis (Clasping milkweed)
Asclepias asperula (Antelope Horn Milkweed, Spider Milkweed)
Asclepias exaltata (Poke Milkweed)
Asclepias fasicularis (Mexican Whorled Milkweed, Narrowleaf Milkweed)
Asclepias hirtella (Green Milkweed)
Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed)
Asclepias oenotheroides (Sidecluster Milkweed, Zizotes Milkweed)
Asclepias perennis (Aquatic milkweed)
Asclepias speciosa (Showy milkweed)
Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed)
Asclepias sullivantii (Sullivant’s Milkweed, Prairie Milkweed)
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed)
Asclepias variegata (White milkweed)
Asclepias verticillata (Whorled milkweed)
Asclepias viridiflora (Green Comet Milkweed)
Asclepias viridis (Green Antelopehorn Milkweed)

Images of most of these species can be found at