Free Milkweeds for Schools & Non-Profits

Thank you for your interest in restoring habitat for monarchs and pollinators!

16 February 2024: we have received applications for all of the milkweeds we will be distributing this spring. Going forward, all applications will be waitlisted.

15 March 2024: Award emails will be sent within the next 1-2 weeks.

Free milkweeds are available for most of the breeding range of the eastern and western monarch butterfly. There are a few exceptions, mostly in and around the Rocky Mountains and the Desert Southwest. We do not have milkweeds for these regions.

Who will be considered for free milkweeds?
Applicants who demonstrate the following will be given priority:

  • Schools and Educational Non-Profits
  • Educational goals of garden clearly described
  • A clear, long-term maintenance plan for the garden space
  • Adequate space (at least 100 square feet) and light ( at least 6 hours per day)
  • Spring/Summer/Fall nectar sources existing or to be added in addition to milkweed
  • Administrative support
    – Provide a letter of support from your school or organization that landscape crews will not pull the plants or re-purpose the space in the foreseeable future.
    – Commit to a follow-up survey in the Fall for photo submissions and garden evaluations.

All application materials must be complete prior to review by Monarch Watch.

Answer all questions to the best of your ability. Once you have applied, save the confirmation email that you receive. If you do not receive a confirmation, your form was not submitted!

If your organization qualifies, we will provide a free (including shipping) flat of 32 milkweed plugs of a species that is native to your region. In Texas, the flats will contain 58 plugs. We encourage you to share any extra plugs with another school if you don’t have room in your garden.

Clear, digital photos, maps of the garden and a letter of support are required for consideration. You will be prompted to upload these documents.

Applications will be reviewed in the order that they are received.

What is a “plug?”
The native milkweed that is awarded to qualified applicants comes in “plugs.” These are live plants that have been grown in a restoration nursery. The plants are often trimmed to increase the root mass or are trimmed for shipping. This does not harm the plants and can actually benefit them. Unlike nursery plants, restoration plants are grown for habitat restoration, not for aesthetic value at the time of planting.

Below are several excellent resources as you plan your butterfly garden:

Butterfly Gardening (Monarch Watch)

Ecoregional Planting Guides (Pollinator Partnership)

Schoolyard Butterfly Gardens (PDF) (Monarch Joint Venture)

We hope you will consider registering your garden as a Monarch Waystation

If your school or non-profit educational organization is interested in this conservation measure, you are ready to begin. Please note that the application form cannot be saved and revisited prior to submission – refer to the sample application as you prepare to apply for free milkweeds.

Once you have the photos, diagrams, and letter of support, please apply by completing the Free Milkweeds for Schools & Non-Profits form.