IN the image below, I have some milkweed seeds germinating on a damp paper towel in a covered container. I've noticed about four white string looking roots? appearing. Next, I believe I wait for green shoots. How soon after that do I pot them? What are my next steps to keep these going?

My hope is to have a monarch window box.

Milkweed seeds germinating  here

  • You don't say which variety of Asceplia these are, and I can't help with your query, those rootlets are going to be pretty fragile for handling, and may need potting straight away, before topgrowth starts, not sure. its more usual to start these in flats as per info here monarchwatch.org/milkweed/prop.htm
    – Bamboo
    Commented Apr 30, 2016 at 12:59
  • I'm unsure of the verity. I harvested them from the shores of Lake Michigan if that helps. They were growing wild.
    – Rick
    Commented Apr 30, 2016 at 16:06
  • Changed my mind, will do an answer of sorts...
    – Bamboo
    Commented Apr 30, 2016 at 17:44
  • as a note common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is something you do not want in your garden. It spreads by roots which can under flagstones for five feet or more. Other types are better in your garden such as Asclepias incarnata
    – kevinskio
    Commented Apr 30, 2016 at 19:03

1 Answer 1


If you collected these seeds from plants growing wild, chances are they would have germinated and grown outdoors if you'd simply sown them straight into a windowbox. Alternatively starting them in seed trays (as per the link below) or flats as you call them there, pricking them out when they had their second leaves into individual small pots, growing them on, hardening off and then planting in your window box was probably easier.


Now the seeds have started producing roots, I'd pot them, carefully, now, into small pots, and grow them on, then hardening off etc ready for planting outside. Handle with care so as not to break the root though, its going to be a fiddly, delicate job...

UPDATE: See comments below - you may need to pot on or up into deep pots more quickly as the plants grow, and you will likely need a deeper pot than a window box for the plants, given they develop a long, thick taproot (assuming it's not a tropical variety, which it probably isn't if you collected the seeds locally).

  • Agreed, plant now. they make a thick taproot and do not transplant well.
    – kevinskio
    Commented Apr 30, 2016 at 19:00
  • @Kevinsky - doesn't that also mean they'll need a deeper container than a window box, with a tap root?
    – Bamboo
    Commented Apr 30, 2016 at 19:34
  • missed that bit about the window box, Don't think that will work for common milkweed. Maybe the tropical variety
    – kevinskio
    Commented Apr 30, 2016 at 19:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.