About Tall Green Milkweed: Though not as well known as other varieties of milkweed, Tall Green Milkweed distinguishes itself with abundant clusters of green-white flowers that attract many butterflies and bees. This species has been classified as threatened in some states, since its natural habitat is decreasing. It can still be found occasionally growing in dry prairies, rocky areas, sandy wetlands, or along roadsides. At one time, the silk from this plant’s seed pods was spun for fabric or used for stuffing pillows; in World War II, school children gathered the silk to provide a cheap filling for soldiers’ life jackets. Commercial attempts to make use of this abundant plant included the manufacture of paper, fabric, lubricant, fuel, and rubber; eventually these became impractical and were abandoned. Though this plant is toxic to most animals, butterflies are immune to the plant’s poison and actually become rather poisonous themselves as protection from predators.
Tall Green Milkweed Germination: In late fall, direct sow just below the surface in full sun or partial shade and rich soil. This plant also tolerates sandy or rocky soil. Plant three seeds together every 18-24 inches. Germination will take place in the spring, after the last frost. When the seedlings appear, thin to the strongest plant; seedlings usually do not survive transplanting, since they resent any disturbance of their roots. For spring planting, mix the seeds with moist sand and refrigerate for 30 days before direct sowing.
Growing Tall Green Milkweed Seeds: Though this plant can tolerate some dryness, occasional watering may be necessary. The flowers attract bees and butterflies, especially monarch butterflies. This plant will reseed itself, but volunteer plants can easily be removed if not wanted.
Harvesting Tall Green Milkweed: This makes a striking cut flower. Cut the stems long, choosing flowers that have just opened. Keep in mind that the milky sap is mildly toxic and can irritate the skin.
Saving Tall Green Milkweed Seeds: After the plant finishes flowering, 3-4” narrow pods will form. Be sure to harvest the pods before they split and the silky fluff carries the seeds away on the wind. As soon as the seeds inside the pod ripen to their mature brown color, 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. Store the seeds in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Tall Green Milkweed Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Green Milkweed, Prairie Milkweed Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Summer Height: 24-36 inches Spacing: 18-24 inches Light: Full Sun Soil Moisture: Medium USDA Zone: 3a-7b Seeds Per Oz: 4300 Produces a tall stalk with 4-6” narrow leaves and large round clusters of tiny light green flowers.