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How to Grow Scarlet Milkweed From Seeds

By Tammy Lee Morris ; Updated September 21, 2017

Scarlet Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica), also known as Tropical Milkweed or Blood Flower, adds beauty to any garden while attracting butterflies. Like all milkweeds, the Scarlet Milkweed is a host plant for Monarch butterflies and attracts many other species of butterfly and insect. Grow Scarlet Milkweed from seed by starting it indoors or sowing directly into the ground.

Choose a location for Scarlet Milkweed that will receive plenty of sun while providing you with a good view of these colorful plants and the flying visitors who will enjoy them. Milkweed plants prefer moist, well-drained soil. Allow room for mature growth. Scarlet Milkweed plants grow 3 to 4 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide.

Gather seeds. Scarlet Milkweed is not a commonly found wildflower in the United States as it is native to Mexico, Central and South America. Seeds must be collected from established plants or ordered from an online supplier.

Start seeds indoors in seed starter pots or nursery trays. Start seeds approximately four to six weeks before the last frost date. Add 2 to 3 seeds to small seed-starting containers or pots filled with soil. Water and cover the seed starter tray. Once seeds have sprouted, remove the cover from the starter tray and thin to a single seedling per pot. Transplant into the ground outdoors when all danger of frost has passed.

Sow seeds directly into the ground. Milkweed plants in the wild primarily use wind dispersal to propagate. When planting milkweed seeds on your own, follow Nature's example. Scatter milkweed seeds over the ground and allow them to germinate where they land.

Make successive plantings throughout the season. This ensures plenty of milkweed plants to feed Monarch butterfly caterpillars. Monarch caterpillars will eat milkweed plants throughout the season.


Things You Will Need

  • Scarlet Milkweed seeds
  • Seed starter pots (optional)
  • Soil for starter pots (optional)


  • Dead-head wilting blooms to encourage faster production of new blooms.
  • Milkweed plants do not need extra fertilizer. Scarlet Milkweed will continue to bloom during the growing season.


  • Remember Tropical Milkweed has a wide circumference when adding it to a flower bed.

About the Author


Tammy Lee Morris is a writer living in southern Illinois. She has been writing professionally for print publications since 1992 and contributing to online publications since 2006. Now writing a column for "The Weekly Review," she has also contributed to "Woman's World," "Countryside Magazine," Asylum.com and the Woman's Day website. Morris studied journalism at John A. Logan College.