Question about Milkweed (Ascelpias syriatica)

gee_oh_nyc(6b/7a)April 28, 2013

I have milkweed (Ascelpias syriatica) growing in a container. Each year the new shoots are more numerous. Will it make for a stronger plant if I thin the emerging shoots to just a few?
Any advice is appreciated.

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Individual milkweed plants have a life cycle the eventually leads to the plant diminishing in size and vigor. I don't claim to understand this process, it is something I have seen. During the first two or three years, the plant will get larger, and grow more stems, year to year. Then it will stabilize, and be about the same size for maybe 4 or 5 years. Eventually, the plant will put out fewer shoots in the spring, and only grow to half the expected size. I have seen this play out with several milkweed plants, also several purple coneflowers. Maybe someone else can add to this discussion.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 8:39PM
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Thanks for the information. I'll keep looking and waiting. Hoping for some of those great smelling flowers but have not had luck yet... Maybe this will be the year.

Any advice to encourage flowering?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 12:58AM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

Syriaca is the Common Milkweed which puts out lots of runners. I don't know if this might be the cause of the plant not doing well. Just a thought. Normally this plant is grown where there is lots of room to spread, as it can be a nuisance in a backyard. If you are successful at keeping it in a container, that would be good to know.


    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 9:42AM
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Milkweed has a tap-root, & because of this it might do better in a deeper than normal pot. Ours are all in the ground. We have A.tuberosa, A.syriaca, and A. incarnata.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 10:26AM
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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)


I grow Syriaca - Common Milkweed in a BIG pot. I don't know the size of the pot but it is very large. This is the fourth spring with it in the pot and it has come back again. It doesn't grow quite as tall as it would if in the ground but it is my spring source of food, if I'm lucky to have spring monarch babies to raise. For me, it begins to look bad during mid summer. If I cut it back to about 6-7 inches, I'll get a nice second growth. The trouble is, with our hot summers, it must be watered daily when it gets hot. This may contribute to it beginning to look rather sad as the summer progesses. Of course, that also may be how it would normally look, were it growing wild. I've never seen this plant in the wild so have nothing to compare it to.

You can see in the photo below, it is growing in one of those big plastic tubs with rope handles that you can buy at most big box stores. I lined it with bubble wrap, to try and keep the roots a bit cooler. I forgot to mention that I drilled a lot of big drainage holes in the bottom of the tub before planting. Most of us know this but for someone new to butterfly gardening, just thought I'd best add this additional info.


Syriaca - Common Milkweed growing in a BIG pot...

This post was edited by mary_littlerockar on Tue, Apr 30, 13 at 12:01

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 11:55AM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

Thanks, Mary. I think I will try this. I have quite a bit of syriaca that I grew from seed, so I can put some in a pot, and save some for out at the acreage.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 6:47PM
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Mine is in a 5 gallon bucket. The shoots seem the best they have been so far, so I'm hoping this is the year that it shows off how gorgeous its flowers are. Nice thick stems so far... keeping my fingers crossed.
Your pics inspire me Mary.
Thanks everyone

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 10:42PM
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Im glad I stumbled upon this post. I am new to gardening and reading all the threads really help me. I do containers as well and I have a few huge pots which were donated to me and my new love to save the monarchs! I am going to go ahead and plant that common milkweed! Thanks!!!!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 9:56AM
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Good going and welcome to the Gardenweb.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 3:06AM
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