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The milkweed is a real butterfly magnet. But it is also a blessing for the gardener's eye. It convinces with its shiny leaves and its orange-red flowers. But will it survive the winter unscathed?

Some species of milkweed survive mild winters unscathed

Hardiness: conditionally hardy

Only a few species of milkweed are hardy. Most of them are not prepared for the winter in this country and would be damaged by frost. It is therefore advisable to only cultivate this plant as an annual or to keep it as a container plant and put it in in autumn. Some species are even suitable as houseplants all year round.

Move plants from outdoors to indoors

Have you had your milkweed on the patio or balcony in the summer? Then you should put them in by mid-October at the latest to protect them from frost. Bright locations are suitable for wintering. The place should be between 10 and 14 °C. Well suited are:

  • conservatories
  • stairwells
  • attics equipped with windows
  • cool bedrooms
  • hallways

Don't neglect your milkweed during the winter season. It is important that their root ball does not dry out. So water sparingly! Fertilizers are absolutely not recommended. The hibernation room can be ventilated from time to time.

Bring in or protect planted specimens

Anyone who has placed their milkweed in the ground directly outdoors does not necessarily have to say goodbye to it. You can dig up this plant in autumn, plant it in a container and overwinter indoors.

However, if you decide to overwinter the milkweed outside, the following should be observed:

  • cut down in the fall
  • protect from moisture in the root area
  • like to cover with brushwood
  • From temperatures below 10 °C occasionally leaves fall off
  • Plant dies above ground
  • sprouts again in spring

Move out again from May

When temperatures rise again in spring, you can slowly get your milkweed used to direct sunlight. From mid-May, the plant can take off completely. It is advisable to fertilize it with a good portion of compost right away.


Sometimes the seeds survive the winter season outdoors and self-seed. It is therefore worthwhile not to remove all the inflorescences after the flowering period…

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