Blood Flower (Milkweed)
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Seed Count: Approx. 500 seeds
Days to Maturity: Annual
Description: The Blood Flower is a milkweed that attracts flocks of butterflies and their larvae. However, it is poisonous and should not be ingested, by people or animals. Butterflies, specifically Monarchs, are immune to the plant's poison. In fact the Monarch butterfly loves this plant so much that its larvae make it their home! Have fun raising baby Monarchs with this funky flower.
Mint2Grow Tip: Milkweeds tend to be pretty invasive in my frost free area. They love Florida's swampy soil. I like to keep them in pots, so my small garden space doesn't become over run by this species.
How To Grow
Sowing: Direct sow indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost. After the last frost, and when the seedlings have grown tall enough to handle safely, transplant them. To direct sow, sow seeds just below the surface of the soil in late fall or
Growing: Milkweed tolerates light shade; it also adapts well to either dry or moist soil. In cooler regions, milkweed can be grown as a container plant and brought indoors for the winter, or grown outdoors as an annual. Keep in mind that these plants are very slow to mature. They tolerate some dryness, but grow best with the occasional watering. I find they do best being kind of swamped with water once mature. Self seeding may occur, if you do not remove the seed pods, but volunteer plants can easily be transplanted or removed, while they are still small. Blood Flowers attracts numerous butterflies, specifically the monarch butterfly, and hummingbirds, and resists deer. Aphids seem to love this plant, but they are quite harmless to it. This plant can be cut back at anytime of its growth to produce new foliage or to tidy up its growth. Mature plants can be divided.
Harvesting: Blood Flowers makes a striking cut flower. Cut the stems long, choosing flowers that have just opened. However, keep in mind that all parts of this plant are poisonous, and the milky sap can irritate the skin. To harvest seeds, remove the pods and spread them out to dry. Split open the pods and take out the silky seed material. Remove the fluff from the seeds, and store the milkweed seeds in a cool, dry place.