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Wild milkweed propagation

 
gardener
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Hello friends. I have some wild milkweed about to bloom. We’ve been here five years. The first year there was one plant, now several. I don’t want to try to separate, or make cuttings now and mess it up for the butterflies unless that’s how it’s done. I’m pretty good and getting plants for free but I don’t want to mess this up. Anyone had success at making new milkweed?
The first picture is today, second was 6-8-19
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gardener
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works well from seed....i haven't tried dividing with Asclepias.
 
pollinator
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I haven't personally tried more than scattering milkweed seeds from dried pods as we find them in the area, but this Monarch Watch guide says a little about propagating from stem cuttings, if not from root division (although it does say that can be done). This Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center guide talks about root cuttings. And this one from SFGate (whose guides I've used, with and without success -- the latter being very common in my propagation experience no matter how good the instructions -- in the past) says root cuttings taken in the fall are the easiest way to propagate your orange milkweed. Hope that helps! Will you let us know how it goes?
 
pollinator
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I read that butterfly milkweed has deep tap roots so it doesn't transplant well. So far I have successfully grow many of them in my butterfly garden from seeds. I collected dry seed pods in late autumn when they are about to split. Separate seeds from the silks and store in the envelope. I wait till Jan or Feb to stratify the seeds in the fridge. Don't need to do this too early because if you mix the seeds with moist starting mix, they may germinate in the fridge. I plant the stratified seeds in tall containers in late March. Germination rate is over 95%. Seedlings have very long tap roots, I saw them growing down 5 inches before the first sets of true leaves appeared. That's why I use 4" pot to grow them instead of the shallower growth cells. Usually I transplanted the seedlings in ground till May to avoid slugs. I also broadcasted lots of seeds in the garden bed but I haven't seen any growing. I guess the slugs eat them all. New plants bloom on the first year, albeit with smaller and fewer flowers. Last year, I raised three generations of monarch butterflies on the milkweeds. I can't wait to see them again this year!
 
Posts: 329
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We have milkweeds, and monarchs, in the Dominican Republic, although ours are a different species, the Asclepias curassavica that is disrupting monarch migrations when planted in California where it does not belong. In the Islands it is native. I was able to transplant one -- it was growing on a gravel road, and I knew it would be destroyed next time the road was maintained. Those tropical ones are tough -- it showed no reaction to the transplanting, and although I cut back the top to compensate for root damage, it went on to flower in a matter of weeks.

Unfortunately, Dominican dairy farmers do not approve of milkweed, believing it to be deadly poisonous to cows. As much as I want to help the monarchs, I also understand good relations with the community. I took out the milkweed after I saw that it was scattering seeds all over the countryside.
 
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Scott, you are very fortunate to have a milkweed patch growing on your property!

I have a variety that grows in my woods.  Due to the deep tap root, we decided not to try to transplant them.

What I do is to buy these cheap organza bags.



Ebay link


I put the bags over the pods so that they can ripen on the plant and then when it opens the seeds are caught in the bag so I can plant them.






This might help:

https://monarchbutterflygarden.net/harvest-milkweed-seeds-no-fluff/



 
May Lotito
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Hi, Anne, the pouch should work pretty well for saving seeds. Not only it keeps the seeds in it alsokeeps bugs out too.
I have a butterflyweed in my garden that I keep a close eye on it, it produced 30 seed pods last year, with nearly 100 viable seeds in each pod. And there was another wild one nearby along the interstate. When I checked on it, there were only a few pods left, and there were holes on them. Some bugs were eating the immature seeds inside.
I got two more varieties of milkweed growing wild in the yard and I am going to try the organza bag methods to secure as many seeds as possible.

 
Posts: 19
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Question related to the OP:

I have some swamp milkweed volunteers that I would like to relocate. Is this advisable? If yes, when should I dig them up? Most are 2-3 inches tall with two sets of leaves right now.
 
Scott Stiller
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Hi Joe. Given the size you’ve described I think now is a perfect time to transplant. I dug some up earlier this spring. It has a very long taproot that really needs excavated. Trying to tug only breaks it. Ive been able to get them into pots and keep in the shade. They looked bad but have rallied as of late. It is very hot and dry so I probably won’t attempt a full transplant until fall.
Recently I’ve discovered an endangered milkweed on my property, Carolina Climbing Milkweed!
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Carolina Climbing Milkweed
Carolina Climbing Milkweed
 
Joe Flores
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Thanks Scott! I moved 5 plants. Was able to get a nice 3" cube of soil with each and I didn't see any severed tap roots, so I'm happy with my effort.

Most of my transplants are growing in pairs (see picture below). When should I thin down to one plant?
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Scott Stiller
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That’s a tough call. Mine grow on the side of a hill and they were all singles. It may be better to attempt to tease apart now. It seems like as they get larger they could get tangled. I’m not even sure they wouldn’t coexist in perfect harmony that close.
I’ll walk down there later and see if I have any older plants that are super close. If I find any I’ll get back to you.
 
Joe Flores
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+20 days update

Everything is looking good! I ended up culling the weaker of the pairs on all but one, and those both look good as well, just smaller.

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Anne Miller
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Joe, I am so glad that transplanting worked for you!

After 3 or 4 years my swamp milkweed had never bloomed and they were a magnet for ant farming aphids so I just quit watering them  Now, no ants, aphids, or milkweed, at least not on the table where the pot had been.
 
Joe Flores
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Here's a picture of the pair. The hand is there just so my camera will focus.
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Posts: 114
Location: PA, zone 6a
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I found these milkweed-looking plants by the back of the house. The flowers are very large, I have seem low growing milkweeds by the road quite a few times. This species just looks like a beast compared to those low growing types.

There is a honeybee (Apis) on one of the flowers if anyone wants a general size comparison.

Bumblebees, honeybees were all swarming the plant, otherwise I would have taken better images. Rather not get stung today!

I plan on collecting seeds from this plant. If it is a perennial type, I might let it do whatever it wants.
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Outward look of the plant.
Outward look of the plant.
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Flowers
Flowers
 
Joe Flores
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Today is July 15th. These are the plants that I moved on May 25th. They are very healthy and at knee height.
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Posts: 196
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Hi,  In the fall I have just taken the seed pods, dug a small trench, cut the pod open and scattered the seeds in the trench and covered the seeds. Next year there were milkweeds. Then I let nature take over and continue to have a larger patch.
 
Garrett Schantz
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Ordered some Milkweed species from Prairie Moon Nursery.

A lot of these species aren't really grown much - basically wild.

Asclepias viridis - Spider Milkweed / Green Milkweed

Asclepias sullivantii - Prairie Milkweed

Asclepias speciosa - Showy Milkweed


Milkweed species can sometimes hybridize, suppose I will look for hybrids in the future.

I haven't seen many monarchs lately, hopefully planting more milkweed bring them back.

Milkweed usually gets mowed down - weeded eated - sprayed around here.

 
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