Orders for free milkweed seed halted due to high demand in Tennessee

TDOT said the program to receive free milkweed seed will return in June 2024.
Published: Oct. 4, 2023 at 2:06 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) said it has halted all online orders for free milkweed seed as part of its Project Milkweed due to high demand.

Project Milkweed was launched in June 2023 as a way to restore landscapes and preserve habitats for monarch butterflies and other pollinator species. The project allowed Tennesseans to order free milkweed seeds. Since June, TDOT has taken almost 131,000 orders. In total, 779,601 red and common milkweed seed packets were requested.

TDOT said the program will return in June 2024.

“TDOT is happy to offer such a popular program to the public, and to empower Tennesseans to do their part in saving pollinators as they are vital to life, growing food, and the economy of Tennessee,” said TDOT Commissioner Butch Eley.

Through Sept. 30, 300,000 milkseed seed orders have been fulfilled. TDOT said more milkweed seed is expected to arrive in October. All remaining orders will be fulfilled at that time.

TDOT said because of late delivery, they recommend planting the seeds next spring.

For more information about Project Milkweed, click here.

According to TDOT, milkweed is a flowering plant that plays a critical role as a host plant in the lifecycle of monarch butterflies. Milkweed provides a place for the butterflies to lay their eggs and serves as food for their larvae and caterpillars.

Both the monarch butterfly population and milkweed habitats have experienced a 90% decline since 1992.