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Free Milkweed for Schools and NonProfits Application

This application must be completed in one sitting.  Your progress cannot be saved.  To preview this application, please go to this link:  Sample form 
Note to Texas applicants:  EACH Texas recipient will receive a full flat of 50 plants.  If 50 plants are too many for your garden space, find a partner organization such as a school, library, public park or nature center. We will need an application from both organizations.

Please answer all questions to the best of your ability.  Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. 


These plants may be free to you, but they are incredibly valuable (retail value is between $100-160 per flat; value to monarchs is without measure), and we want them to succeed.  Every year, we receive feedback from recipients, saying that their plants "died," even when we know that the plants were strong and healthy when they left the nursery.  Please read the following information before proceeding with this application:

  • Native milkweed plants are perennials. They have a period of dormancy and a period when they are growing.  They will appear "dead" when they are dormant, but they are not dead at all.
  • Dormancy does not always happen only in the winter.  It can also occur during a drought, extreme heat, or when the plant is moved to a new location.  E.g.: Most Texas species go dormant in the summer and winter and grow in spring and/or fall.
  • Do not assume a milkweed is dead because it has lost its leaves.  If you do so, you will be discarding living, valuable plants.  White milkweed roots are living roots.  If you need us to send you photos of examples, please ask.
  • Our shipping contract is with UPS. Sometimes the plants become tossed around and jumbled by UPS.  Each plant will still be in the box, and will likely be alive, even if the stems are broken.  Please locate each plant and do not discard plants because they were without soil for a short period of time, have broken stems or missing leaves.  The value of these plants is in their perennial roots.  If the plants look too destroyed to survive, PLANT THEM ANYWAY.  You have no idea if they are alive or not, but if you assume they are dead and discard them, they are certainly not going to live.
  • Perennials come back from living roots every year.  Annuals do not come back, except when they re-seed themselves.  Do not place your milkweed in an area where they will be replaced annually by other plants.  Place them in an area where they will thrive every year for many years to come.  
  • We hope that this application makes it clear that more than milkweeds are needed to foster monarchs and pollinators in your garden.  Please do not apply for this grant if you do not already have other flowers in your garden plans.
  • Please do not plan to put all of the milkweeds in one small area.  Perennials need space to grow.   If your garden is smaller than 100-150 square ft., please do not apply for this grant.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service created a downloadable Schoolyard Habitat Project Guide!  And the USFWS Schoolyard Habitat Program helps teachers and students create wildlife habitat at their own schools.  Click here to access these resources: https://www.fws.gov/cno/conservation/Schoolyard.html

The St. Louis Butterfly Project created Monarch Gardens for Schools: A Resource Guide for PreK-12 Urban School Communities <--click here

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Monarchs and pollinators need our help due to habitat loss.

If your school or non-profit educational organization is interested in this conservation measure, we can help you create a habitat for monarchs and pollinators. Please apply using this form.

If your organization qualifies, we will provide a free flat of 32 milkweed plugs as well as guidance on how to create a new habitat or enhance an existing garden. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has provided funds for this project.

You should receive a confirmation email when you submit this form. Please email monarch@ku.edu if you have any questions.

Clear, digital photos, maps of the garden and a letter of support are required for consideration. You will be prompted to upload these documents.

APPLY NOW!  Applications will be reviewed in the order that they are received.

Who will be considered for free milkweeds?

What's a "plug?"

The native milkweed that is awarded to qualified applicants comes in "plugs."  These are live plants that have been grown in a restoration nursery.  The plants are often trimmed to increase the root mass, or are trimmed for shipping. This does not harm the plants, and can actually benefit them. Unlike nursery plants, restoration plants are grown for habitat restoration, not for aesthetic value at the time of planting.  


Aphids and many other greenhouse pests are herbivores.  They may be on the plants because the greenhouse is growing the plants for herbivores (monarch caterpillars), and therefore they can't treat the plants with pesticides.  Sometimes, when the plants arrive, they have been trimmed and they have aphids, so they look unlike plants you would get from a local plant distributor.  Please plant them and tend to them.  They will recover, and the aphids will probably diminish if not disappear.

Applicants that demonstrate the following will be given higher rankings:

  • Schools and Educational Non-Profits will be given highest priority
  • Educational goals of garden clearly described
  • A clear, long-term maintenance plan for the garden space
  • Adequate space (>100 square feet) and light (>6 hrs per day)
  • Spring/Summer/Fall nectar sources existing or to be added in addition to milkweed
  • Administration support
    • Demonstrate in writing that landscape crews will not pull the plants or re-purpose the space in the foreseeable future
  • You will commit to sending an evaluation of the garden success and spring/summer/fall photos of the planting and maintenance of the garden
    • We will send a survey in the Fall for photo submissions and garden evaluations
  • All application materials must be complete prior to review by Monarch Watch

Note: Look for important hints and examples in small, red text below the answer space. (Hint: The hints and examples will look like this.)


Select your ecoregion based on the results of the Pollinator Partnership ecoregion finder. Click here: Pollinator Partnership

Or, view the map here: https://www.fs.fed.us/rm/ecoregions/images/maps/ecoregions-united-states...

​Not all Ecoregions are listed on this application.  If you do not see your Ecoregion listed below, that means we do not have plants for your area.  Our milkweed availability depends on donations of seed from volunteer seed collectors.

Please call Angie at 785-864-4850 if you have questions.
If you do not see your state listed, we do not have milkweed for your state.
Who will receive the package? (Enter this information only if it is different from previous entry.)
It may be more convenient for the plants to be shipped to a residence rather than the organization. If so, enter a shipping address. Fill in this portion only if the address is different from the organization address that you entered above.
Enter a shipping city only if it is different from the organization city that you entered above.
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