Milkweed in containers

october17(5chgo)August 15, 2011

Does anyone grow milkweed in containers? And if you do, what type draws the monarch eggs? I never found one egg on my giant milkweed. Maybe in a container I can keep a much closer eye out for the eggs.


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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)

I grow tropical milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) and common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) in pots. Some in small pots that go into the greenhouse over winter so I will have something growing and blooming early in spring and some during the growing season in large pots that sit outside near the greenhouse and also on the deck. Both varieties grow well for me in pots.

The common (Asclepias syriaca) began looking bad mid summer, leaves mottled, tough and ugly, so I cut off all but about 8 inches of each plant and the plants VERY quickly put up new top growth, velvety smooth and soft. They are once again very beautiful plants. This really surprised me at how quickly the common renewed itself. I grow it as a food source for the monarches, not so much for the blooms. The common MW didn't bloom this summer and this is my first experience growing it so don't know if it was because the plants were in big pots, the high heat we experienced all summer, their age (second year roots) or the fact I cut them back before they had time to set blooms.

Last summer I had lots of Monarch activity but this year I've only seen two all season and neither left eggs. Last summer all I had of any size was the tropical and the Monarchs laid a lot of eggs on it. This summer I also have the common and nice sized swamp milkweed but no Monarchs. If not this year, I'll really be ready for next year! :-)

Give it a try. As you say, you could more easily watch for eggs if the plants were closer.


    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 9:32AM
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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)

Correction on my recent post in this thread.

What I referred to as tropical milkweed is Asclepias curassavica, NOT Asclepias tuberosa, which is commonly known as butterfly weed. My mistake and I surely don't want to spread mis information.


    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 10:29AM
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Thank you for your response! I did have some asclepias curassavica last year. I really liked it but so did the wasps! They were all over the blooms. I'll try it again but cut the blooms off?????

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 10:43AM
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bob_71(z7 MD)

I grow Common (A. syriaca), Swamp (A. incarnata), Tropical (A. curassavica) and Butterfly Weed (A. tuberosa) in pots.

My Common Milkweeds have not bloomed the first year after planting but bloom profusely thereafter. I grow all these types in 5 gallon pots with rather large holes (1") in the vertical sides. I plant them (pot and all) in the ground to about half the depth of the pot. I use this method to aid in the protection from voles. I do this with all plants, not just milkweeds. This also aids in keeping the pots from tilting over in high winds. All my milkweeds grow rather tall. Anchor roots of the Common milkweeds escape through the holes in the pots and you will quickly have a large "plot" of milkweed! All other varieties that I have grown stay in the pot quite well.

I have had caterpillars on all types that I grow.

I have to stake the Swamp milkweeds and they are the most susceptible of all to aphids.

The blooms are highly attractive as nectar plants for the Monarchs and many other butterflies.

Good luck to you!


    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 11:05AM
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