what type ood Milkweed should I get?

cghpndApril 4, 2013

Good morning!
I'm curious to know what types of milkweed I should get for the monarchs in particular. I plan on having a hanging basket and a raised flower bed. I live in Northern Va and every place I've gone to does not seem to know what I'm talking about. Thanks in advance!

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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

The easiest to grow for keeping in a pot would be Tropical Milkweed, or Asclepias curassavica. Usually you will find it in garden centers later in the spring. There are lots of milkweeds available--best obtained from a native plant nursery. Asclepias tuberosa is pretty but has a long tap root. I googled "milkweed found in Virginia" and found a lot of links. I would start there as you can browse topics you find interesting. There is a Butterfly Society of Virginia.



Here is a link that might be useful: Butterfly Society of Virginia

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 9:48AM
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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH

And I highly recommend their shirts. I got 3 of the caterpillars shirt. They offer 3 colors (may not have all 3 in your size). I think the transfer looks best on yellow.

Here is a link that might be useful: Butterfly Society of Virgina stuff

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 1:26PM
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Just an update, so far there is one nursery around here that carries milkweed and it is the swamp milkweed, he said thats all this area carries ...

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 9:18AM
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That's a good start. My incarnata get a lot of action around here, and they are easily transplanted, too.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 10:32AM
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terrene(5b MA)

A. incarnata is a great plant, but it prefers moisture, so a raised bed is probably not the best to grow this. It is clumping, so if you have a small sunny spot somewhere in the yard that gets good moisture, it would work well.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 11:10AM
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I am putting them in the huge deep pots about 3- 4 feet tall.
The pots remind me of the huge trash cans with their width. and they already have drainage holes. so im happy about it. My last question before I plant them in there, what kind of soil to use? This is my 1st time. I have a huge bag of potting soil made for the containers but should I mix it with the perlite or any kind of pebbles etc?

So far I only have the A. Incarnata. Still waiting on the curassavica

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 8:34AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Hi CGH I'm not a container expert, but grow a couple hanging baskets, and have read a little over on the Container forum. Perhaps someone here can chime in, or you can ask questions on that forum too (they are very experienced over there). From what I understand, growing in containers is very different from growing in soil, where you have all the soil microbes, and subsoil and so forth. In a container, you want to use a soil-less potting mix that promotes good drainage. And generally, it is most effective to fertilize with a regular weak solution of chemical fertilizers in containers, whereas I am strictly an organic gardener in the ground.

Are you putting more than one plant in a pot? Your pots are very large, perhaps too large. For A incarnata, their root system doesn't go down very deep. Here's a pic of an A. incarnata that I happened to transplant a couple years ago, as you can see the root systems are "bushy" -

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 9:24AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I'd do just potting soil. Even large containers will be tough to keep watered once hot summer days arrive. No need to improve the drainage for plants that like it more moist.

I'm hearing more and more about systemic pesticides that commercial growers apply to their soil to kill insects that might otherwise chew on the seedlings and damage their inventory. I hope that the nursery that is selling the Asclepias currasavica doesn't use such chemicals. Unfortunately, the distributor probably wouldn't have information regarding chemicals that the growers might have used. You might be able to check on the plant tag for the company that grew the milkweed and contact them to ask if they use systemic pesticides. Good luck.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 9:36AM
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Thanks for the input. I have smaller containers as well. they are about 1&1/2 foot deep maybe 2 ft. Maybe they should go in there instead of the bigger ones.
I have the little plant that has the leaves on it in the hanging basket so maybe it will catch their attention. Now do these plants like to have other plants planted with them? or they like to be alone? Ill check that forum out! thanks!

I shouldn't have much of a problem with the insects except the wasp maybe.. Where I live, they are always spraying stuff on the bushes and grass, not sure what it is but Ill find out as soon as I can find someone to translate for me. I plan on keeping everything on my patio which is perfectly sunny and there a spot in the corner where the sun hits for about 3 hours , that's where Ill put the swamp milkweed. Sound good or no? The remainder of the patio has sun from morning until it goes away! which is awesome!

What are systemic pesticides?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 9:47AM
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Systemic pesticides are chemicals that enter the plant's vascular system and tissues and kill when the insect (cat) eats the leaves. You should speak to the person/people spraying and ask them to avoid your garden altogether, esp your Milkweeds and other host plants.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 10:35AM
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