Skip to main content
Lake County, Ohio - Soil & Water Conservation District

Milkweed Pod Collection





**Please do NOT collect pods from Lake Metroparks or other public park properties without permission. Be sure you have permission to pick them on any property if it is not yours. Thank you!


To help foster the creation of habitat for the monarch butterfly, Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative (OPHI), in cooperation with Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Districts is organizing a Statewide Milkweed Pod Collection this year starting September 1st and ending October 31st.

Milkweed is essential to the survival of monarch butterflies in Ohio and Ohio is a priority area for monarchs. The monarch butterflies that hatch here in the summer migrate to Mexico for the winter and are responsible for starting the life cycle all over again in the spring.

Since 2015, volunteers have collected approximately 5000 gallons of common milkweed seed pods, totaling over 22 million seeds! Milkweed is the only host plant for the Monarch butterfly for egg laying and caterpillar rearing. It also serves as a food source for Monarchs as well as many other pollinator species. The disappearance of milkweed across the U.S. has contributed to the 80% decline of the eastern monarch butterfly population over the last 20 years.

During September - October, everyone is encouraged to collect Common Milkweed pods from established plants and drop them off at a pod collection station. The majority of Ohio counties have a Milkweed Pod Collection Station, most of them being located at the local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) office such as the Lake Soil & Water Conservation District.

Due to the climate here in Lake County our Milkweed Pod Collection will run from October 1-31.



To collect the seed pods from a Common Milkweed plant it is best to pick them when they are dry and gray or brown in color. If the center seam pops with gentle pressure, they can be picked. You can prevent the rest from popping open by gently putting a rubber band around them.

Do not pick them when they are green and the seam will not pop with gentle pressure - the seeds will not be viable.

Collect pods into paper bags or paper grocery sacks. Avoid using plastic bags because they attract moisture.

Please mark on the sack: the county in which the Milkweed pods came from, the Milkweed species and the date collected.

Store pods in a cool, dry area until you can deliver to the closest pod collection area.

Drop Common Milkweed pods off between 8:00am - 4:30pm to:

The Lake Administration Building Lobby

105 Main St

Painesville, OH 44077

Questions, contact Natalie at [email protected]