Bad year for A. tubrerosa?

brindlebuttSeptember 8, 2010

I had a terrible year with my A. tuberosa this year. I have them in ages from 1-3 years old. Whereas last year, the 1+ yr olds were blooming lushly, approx 3x3', this year they were stunted, barely 8 inches high. On different plants, regardless of age or position in the garden, some of the ends of leaves were shriveled and wrinkled. The 3 yr olds didn't even flower, and hardly grew at all. Anecdotally, the few people I know who were growing them this year as well had similar problems.

It did emerge "early" this year because of the warm weather early on. I'm definitely going to keep pinching it back next year.... But is there another explanation as to why it did so badly this year?

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My plain ole A. tuberosa's didn't fair so well this year, but they haven't been that great the last few years anyway. They did flower as usual. My 3 yo "Gay Butterflies" was phenomenal this year. I had removed the earliest pods and have some nice green foliage amongst the ratty stuff. Mine were up much earlier than usual as well. I'm in NJ where it pretty hot and dry for the most part, but my plants were watered daily. I guess it'll depend on where you're located to figure out if weather & rain (or lack of) played a role in it...

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 2:36PM
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There is a virus that seems to affect Asclepias tuberosa more than other milkweed. At first the leaves are spotted, and finally they turn white, or almost white. We have seen this in past years, but not this year. A. tuberosa is quite resistant to drought, and it does best in sunny locations, with well-drained soil. It can be pretty picky about where it will grow. Our milkweed did OK, until the aphids moved in. They look ratty at the moment. We have A. tuberosa, A. incarnata, and A. syriaca.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 6:12PM
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terrene(5b MA)

This summer was hot and dry, last summer was cool and rainy. My A. tuberosa has grown pretty well both summers. On the other hand, it's the A. incarnata that has been subject to some kind of wilt the past 2 years, with stem and tip die-back and no blooms. My young A. syriaca plants got some of the wilt last year too. (Could be fusarium wilt that yours and my plants are suffering from??)

Overall I am coming to the conclusion that Asclepias is a somewhat fussy genus of plants to grow, getting hit with weird wilts, aphids, milkweed beetles, etc. That doesn't stop me from trying, because they are beautiful plants and the Monarch host plants. In addition to the more common species, I am trying to establish A. purpurascens, A. speciosa, A. exaltata, and A. variegata from seed. We'll see how well that works! :)

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 9:17AM
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My A. tuberosa and all my asclepias varieties did very well this year. I didn't get any milkweed bugs, beetles or aphids until very recently. I usually find them early in the season and fight a losing battle trying to get rid of them.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 11:12PM
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