Propagating butterfly weed

lindacatherineAugust 25, 2009

"Butterfly weed is easily propagated in water." according to Wikipedia (yeah, I know). Is it saying that this plant can have cuttings taken from it, placed in a vase of water, and it will sprout roots? Has this worked for anyone?

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Doubtful, but I'll give it a try. I know Asclepias incarnata will not root like that, but Asclepias curassavica, tropical milkweed, will root in water.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2009 at 5:54AM
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Hmmm, I found a field of Asclepias curassavica that I've been watching to "pod over," so I can grab some seeds and plant in my butterfly garden. But if I can take a cutting or two....hmmmmm.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2009 at 7:47AM
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mechelle_m(z9 TX)


I found out, accidentally, that currassavica will root in water. I had brought in some cuttings as food for my cats and they chewed it down to the nub. One of the cats pupated on the stem and I was waiting for it to harden and for the other cats to finish up the rest of the leaves before removing it. Much to my surprise, roots started growing very quickly in the miniature vase I had placed the cutting in.

I have been successful in getting these cuttings to grow into plants about 50-60% of the time (gotta remember to water them!). Once the roots start appearing, dip them into some rooting hormone powder and plant in a pot of potting soil.


    Bookmark   August 26, 2009 at 8:31PM
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fighting8r(10 Fort Myers Florida)

I agree about the currassavica. Almost every one of the cuttings I put in water take root, and I do them a lot. Then I just stick 'em in the ground, pot, whatever. They need regular water the first couple/few days but then they just go! Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2009 at 10:36PM
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good luck

i rooted some with aeroponics....took way to long

your better off with seeds

    Bookmark   August 26, 2009 at 11:42PM
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Are you asking about a. tuberosa..the wild orange milkweed we get here in New England? I've never tried rooting it..Only grown it from seed. Once established itwill come back every year.

Maryann in CT

    Bookmark   August 26, 2009 at 11:46PM
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Hmmm, Asclepias curassavica, Asclepias incarnata, or a. tuberosa...they all look so similar. The one I'm talking about is the one I pictured in my original post. This picture was taken in a park of a coastal Massachusetts town near Cape Cod where I live.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 7:23AM
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The photo above is Asclepias tuberosa, also known as "orange butterfly weed." I have grown this from seed. The seed has to be set out in damp soil, in the late winter, and subjected to repeated freeze/thaw cycles, before it will germinate. The pots sit from March until June, and eventually, some green shoots appear.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 8:17AM
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A. curassavica - Tropical milkweed, bloodflower, mexican milkweed, etc. will not overwinter here

A. tuberosa - butterflyweed, orange flowers, likes dry scrubby roadside places. Difficult for some people to grow. Not a monarch favorite as it has very low leaf moisture. Great nectar plant.

A. incarnata - Swamp milkweed, pink flowers, ice ballet (white cultivar), typically likes wetter places.

A. syriaca - Common milkweed, pink to purple flowers, 2 - 6 feet tall roadside and field "weed", spreads aggressively by runners.

All have pods, curassavica seems to be the fastest for regenerative growth thus may root better with cuttings.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 9:38AM
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Okay, so I have to watch when these go to pod and gather the seeds. I have common milkweeds in my garden already for monarch munchies. I really want a Lantana, but am in the wrong zone for it to stay outside year round, so I am thinking the butterfly weed is a close second.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 12:26PM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

You can overwinter lantana if you do several things.

1) Don't trim the plant before winter.

2) Mulch heavily over the roots. I use several inches of leaves/straw.

3) After frost danger is past, cut back the old plant and pull back the mulch.

It may take a while for the plant to come up. But, I have done this for several years and kept a lot of my lantana plants alive. I'm in zone 6B/7A.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 4:20PM
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