How To Vote

Every seed counts! Plant your vote today!

There are a number of ways the average citizen can make their vote count:
  • Plant native milkweed seed  Request seed from us in the fall by emailing us to receive our address. Then, send a S.A.S.E. and we will return it with seeds! A S.A.S.E. is a self-addressed-stamped-envelope, basically an envelope addressed to yourself with a stamp, stuffed inside an envelope mailed to us. OR pick up seeds packets from us at our shows for just 50 cents each! The seeds require moist and cold conditions (called stratifying) to sprout successfully after the last frost in Spring. They can also be planted directly in the ground in the late Fall, but may be vulnerable to pests or late frosts. We provide detailed planting instructions in the seed packets, or you can follow these instructions. 
  1.  Method A: Sow seed directly into the ground in the fall, when the weather is 50 degrees and below.  Bury each seed 1/4-1/2 inches below the surface in a clear area (not grassy or overgrown, unless you can keep it clear until the plant gets larger). Ideally ground is well draining unless you're planting Asclepias incarnata (Rose milkweed). After our cold and wet winter, they should start coming up! Pros: Easy. Cons: May be susceptible to frost and pests, and be overtaken by other plants.
  2. Method B: For best successs, shake the seeds onto a moist paper towel and place in the crisper drawer inside a plastic bag for up to one month in the refrigerator (a minimum of two weeks will work). Take them out, and they will start to germinate if it's room temperature and up! Plant out into seedling trays, one per pot segment. Once the seeds have sprouted, they can be potted up into a larger container when they have several adult leaves, and then transplanted into the ground. This can be done in early spring if you missed the window for Method A.
  3. Method C: Sow seeds into seedling trays, and leave them outside in the winter elements. When the seedlings start coming up, protect them from pests and frost as necessary. Follow the latter half of Method B instructions.
  • Plant adult milkweed plants Adult plants can be obtained from various nurseries in the spring, or from us at one of our garden events! Different species can tolerate different growing conditions, just ask us what will work for your area.
  •  Share seed! Spread the word! Many people are unaware of the Monarch's plight. If you are currently growing milkweed, share seeds with your friends and neighbors, schools, etc. Every person's efforts will make a difference! Every vote counts!
  • Donate stamps or purchase artwork All donations go towards purchasing soil mixes, pots, stamps, copy services, our website, and various expenses and goods at our in person events. 


Q: "Are there any Monarchs in Portland/Oregon/Washington/etc?"
A: Currently a few individuals have been spotted throughout the Wilmette Valley (and it is questionable if some of these are actual Monarchs! Many have mistaken orange butterflies or even swallowtails for Monarchs). Most sightings are east of the Cascade. However, many decades ago the butterflies used to migrate through here! The reason why butterflies are so few is because of the depletion of their food and habitat sources due to herbicide use.  Many of our supporters reminisce about growing up in Oregon and seeing many Monarch butterflies in their childhood. The nearly complete absence of them today is what makes this campaign so important!

Q: "Which milkweed is best to grow?"
A: That depends on what growing conditions you can provide! We generally recommend milkweed that is native, and for most of the Pacific Northwest, that would be either the showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) or the narrowleaf milkweed (Asclepias fasicularis). We offer various other species seeds for those with limited garden space or who have particular growing conditions, or who just love milkweed and wish to have a collection of different types. Narrowleaf milkweed is a native of the Columbia River Gorge, and is the most drought tolerant out of all of the species we provide. Since our summers have grown increasingly hotter and drier, even drought tolerant Showy milkweed populations in the wild have been suffering. For those with particularly wet conditions, Rose milkweed likes wet feet and is fantastic for  that type of land. In addition, it does not spread, and is recommended for those concerned with keeping milkweed contained or with a preference for 'well-behaved' plants.

Q: "Does it spread?"
A: If you prefer a well-behaved garden plant, Rose milkweed (A. incarnata) and Butterflyweed (A. tuberosa) are your best options. Everything else sends out rhizomes, though the growth is generally held in check depending on water conditions. Most of the milkweed spread very slowly however, with the exception of Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) which is quite vigorous. All milkweed spreading can also be controlled by harvesting seedpods before they open. The seeds are viable once they turn brown inside their pods, which is right before they open, so they can still be harvested and shared.

Q: "Are seeds difficult to start?"
A: We find that a lot of difficulty with seed comes from poor germination, either from old or prematurely harvested seed, or notoriously difficult species. The seed types we offer have a great germination rate, as long as you stratify them (that is, mimic cold and moist winter conditions).  After they sprout and are either kept in seedling trays or in the ground, it's up to you and a green thumb to provide proper care (not over-watering is a big one for any plant species!).

Q: "How many seeds are in a packet?"
A: We put a generous pinch in each packet, at the very least you are getting 25 seeds (usually more). The seeds are about the size of an oatmeal flake, though not as thick so they are a fairly easy size to handle. 

Got a question? Send it our way!