Who stole my milkweed seedling?

sandpapertongue(7a VA)June 27, 2013

I planted 4 incarnatas seedlings in my yard two weeks ago. They are growing well, but still small. Probably only about 3 inches long. I've been watching them in my OCD way. Yesterday, all was well, and today, one of them was missing! Gone, all of it, stems, roots, everything. What could have happened? Pretty sure there is no foot traffic here. No caterpillars around, unfortunately. I was hoping if something ate it, that meant there were monarch cats around! Could a bug eat something so fast? Would a bird steal a seedling like that? What happened to my seedling??

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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

Most likely an underground creature like a gopher. They eat my plants all the time. They seem to not be effected by the toxins in the milkweed, and LOVE it.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 4:40PM
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There's another possibility, the Swamp Milkweed Beetle. They're capable of consuming whole plants, in some cases. Most of the time, I don't have any, but on rare occasion they show up...very difficult to get rid of all of them sometimes. Check the other plants!

Here is a link that might be useful: Swamp Milkweed Beetles

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 8:00PM
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Yes, a bird could take off with a plant like that. They uproot our bean seedlings often.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 10:11PM
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Mole cricket, perhaps?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 2:32AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I'm sorry for your frustration. I have a decent patch of A incarnata and plan to collect as much seed as I possibly can. I'd be happy to send you some for next year. I should also get seed from my A tuberosa and A syriaca from down the road. I even have a fourth variety that I should be able to identify by summer's end, though I haven't seen bloom buds on it yet. My goal is to enable anyone and everyone who is working toward increasing the habitat available to the Monarchs. So, if you'd like seed for next year, check with me later in the summer.

You could also order plants from a native plant nursery. Many are out of stock for this season, but you could pre-order plants for next year so you wouldn't have lost an entire growing season.

Good luck to you.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 9:58AM
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monkeybelle(7A NJ (Camden County))

I had several seedlings and baby plants go missing in the past couple weeks and assumed it was birds. Until I saw a chipmunk in the act, digging up some cosmos. I didn't know they would do that.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 4:46PM
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sandpapertongue(7a VA)

Thank you so much for your kind offer, docmom! I do have lots of other seedlings though, I just haven't completely decide where to plant my future butterfly garden, so those are still in startup containers I replaced the missing seedling, and so far, it's still there, so we'll see!

Interesting about the birds and chipmunks! I thought the whole point was that milkweed was poisonous! Guess there are still plenty of critters that find it delicious.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 7:49PM
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