Question: When does your milkweed come back?

nel.nucifera(8a)April 3, 2013

Which kind of milkweed and what zone?

Please and thankyou!


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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I grow Mexican/tropical milkweed, A. curassavica, in my garden in raised beds, and mine is coming back now. Some plants are about 3" - 4" high, some are just pushing up from the ground.

I've tried growing other types of milkweed with no success. Well, actually, I've grown swamp milkweed successfully, but the monarchs ignored it. They love A. curassavica! I know it's not native, but I've ordered three more plants - they're still in the container - to plant in my meadows. It reseeds very well, and with the monarchs in trouble like they are, more milkweed would be a good thing. My native milkweeds, A. lanceolata and A. longifolia, both have very narrow, tough leaves that the monarchs never lay eggs on.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 4:55PM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

This year, everything is late coming back. I usually have swamp milkweed coming up by now. I do have some potted swamp milkweed on my patio that has overwintered and is sprouting. But nothing in the garden has begun to grow yet. It's late, but spring is late this year. And by this time last year, I had seen my first Monarch. I'll be surprised to see them before the end of April.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 7:56PM
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Thankyou Sherry and Sandy! I have been wondering if I should just count mine dead or pull them up.

Last year was my first year with milkweeds so I have no idea if these overwinter well here.
My inground A.Physocarpa, A.Incarnata, and A. Curassavica have yet to make an appearance.

But my A.Incarnata in pots are starting to bud along the base and the stem!!!!

Sherry, my monarchs loved the tropical milkweed AND the a.physocarpa... ALOT! I hope swan milkweed comes back. I had to relocate caterpillars when they ran out of it.

I'll keep waiting. Hope some of them come back.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 8:43PM
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JessicaBe(5-6 Central Ohio)

I've never had milkweed and I was wondering the same thing, I started seeds this year from my plant last year so either way I will have milkweed if that doesn't come back ;)

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 5:04PM
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That will be great for the cats, as I read on this forum that Monarchs lay on young plants.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 5:16PM
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rickinla(8B SW AL)

Is it possible that A. Curassavica would live through a freeze. I know we had a couple of days that hit the high 20's this past winter, and although most of the leaves fell off the plants never died. I actually cut them back a few weeks ago to keep them from being too leggy.

What about the milkweed at Lowes, they're labeled as A. Tuberosa but look like Tropical. Has anyone seen them that can give a good idea of what type they are?

This post was edited by rickinla on Fri, Apr 12, 13 at 22:45

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 10:58PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Nel, I don't know where you are, but if you're anywhere in the east, you've had a colder than normal spring, so yours might come back up yet. I raise mine in raised beds in my garden, because where I live, the constant wetness in winter kills more overwintering plants than cold. I couldn't even grow butterfly bush successfully until I put them in raised beds.
A friend sent me some seeds, including A. physocarpa. I planted them in one of those little 6-packs, and, hopefully they'll come up and thrive. I've tried growing this plant before, and it croaked after a big rain. So, I'll plant these in raised beds, and, also up by the main road where the ground is very well drained. A. physocarpa is a plant that really likes arid conditions, which I don't have here.

Rick, I haven't seen the A. tuberosa in Lowe's, but it's probably A. curassavica. It COULD be A. tuberosa though - got a picture?


    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 11:35PM
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A. tuberosa has thicker leaves and light orange flowers. It is also more cold tolerant than Tropical Milkweed.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 2:57AM
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rickinla(8B SW AL)

I don't have pictures but the flowers are yellow like the 1 that was id'd as a.curassavica on this site last fall. Last fall they they had the yellow one and a red and yellow one, and both were labelled as a.tuberosa.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 12:05AM
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wifey2mikey(7a Tulsa, OK)

In a mild winter I have had curassavica come back. Only one out of about 8 plants, but it has happened, so yes, possible. I wouldn't count on it though.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 9:38AM
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I know a local nursery that has Asclepias curassavica and puts on signs/labels Asclepias tuberosa. I tried to tell them what it is, but they still do this. In this area, A. tuberosa will not survive in our climate, yet every once in a while a list is published or given out, suggesting A. tuberosa as a regional plant for butterflies. I have no idea who makes up those lists...smacks of ignorance. I use A. curassavica, as well as A. texana and A. asperula. Those last two I grow from seed, the A. curassavica by seeds and cuttings.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 9:52AM
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Curassavica comes in both red/yellow and its yellow cultivar. It has a shallow root system and is easily transplanted. Tuberosa is more orange (except Hello Yellow) and has a long thick tap root. Doesn't take kindly to transplanting.
Tuberosa also has more texture to its leaves.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 10:25AM
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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)

Most of us have experienced a cold spring this year so I'd give your in ground milkweed extra time to show before reworking the bed. My swamp milkweed (A. incarnata) is showing growth on some plantings and other plants nearby have yet to show nubbins poking through the soil. Common Milkweed I grow in a big pot is just now showing new growth, yet, in prior seasons, it would be first up and showing 12-14 inches by now. Best rule of thumb is to allow plenty of time for variences in soil temps and individual plants.

If you have hot, dry conditions, then consider trying butterfly weed (A. tuberosa). Once established, the plant can take droughts and even some cutting. It is the least favored by monarch caterpillars, though, because it has very little toxin in its roughly textured leaves, but other butterflies and adult monarchs LOVE it as a nectar source. In my experience, it is the longest blooming of the perennial milkweeds. The colors are various shades of orange plus a newer color called "Hello Yellow". They can bloom the first year but it is commonly expected they will not bloom until the second season of growth. As Leafhead mentioned, it also doesn't transplant well, due to the deep taproot it develops. Plants can be started by rooting cuttings, though the cuttings can take a while to develop roots. In my area, it grows in the wild and is commonly known as butterfly weed.

Butterfly Weed (A. tuberosa)

Tropical milkweed or bloodflower (A. curassavica) is generally grown as an annual in most parts of the US and is not native to the US. It is easily started by seed (the seed requires no cold moist stratification as do so many of the perennial Milk Weeds) and the Monarch mama's favor it as a host plant. The leaves are smooth and delicate, easily eaten by the tiny cats and the leaves and stems contain high amounts of the toxin the cats and butterflies need to help them survive predators. Colors are the orange/yellow or yellow. There is a new variety known as silky red and the orange color of the bi colored blooms tends toward a very dark red orange. The color difference is very striking when grown next to the older orange/yellow variety. In my limited experience, this new color MW also seems to be a very strong grower. This milkweed is also easily increased by taking cuttings and rooting them in water or damp rooting medium.

Once A. curassavica begins blooming, it will continue to put on blooms until a fall frost kills it.

Topical Milkweed (A. curassavica)

As you can see, blooms on both Milkweed plants are strikingly similar.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 12:11PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Such pretty pictures, Mary!

I ordered some seeds and plugs from a new (to me) nusery - 'must be somewhere in the midwest, because they advertise prairie plants mostly. I ordered some purple milkweed plugs. They say it can grow in a wider variety of situations than other native MWs, so I thought I'd give it a try. The flowers are SO beautiful, and, if they're like every other milkweed, butterflies will like to nectar on them.

I also ordered some seeds for Scutellaria latifolia, a type of skull cap that grows here off and on. The flowers are beautiful!

Also, some prairie phlox/P. pilosa, which, oddly, grows on dry roadsides here. I've got dry areas of the meadow where it should do. This is a plant that blooms early every year, and the flower color is variable between pink, purple and blue - 'love it!

' Also ordered evening primrose seeds/P. biennis, which I've been looking for forever and couldn't find.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 12:25PM
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