Common milkweed

mucknmire(zone6 NJ)July 5, 2005

Has anyone tried growing the commom milkweed? We saw some in a field behind our home. They look so different from most of the plants in our yard. We always liked the look of the flowers and the bonus of attracting butterflies but I don't see them planted in yards. I braved poison ivy to dig out 5 small plants - couldn't get to the taller ones because of brambles and poison ivy but I think the smaller ones were attached by runners. So the question is am I making a huge mistake by planting these in our garden? Is this a running pest like mint or houttuynia?

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Birdsong72(7/Northshore NJ)

Yes. But the fragrance and it being a host plant for monarch is all the reason worth it in my mind.

All that you need do is to continually pick at the new shoots. It's easy as they come out of the ground readily.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 9:39AM
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They're only a pest if you don't remove or harvest the seed pods (just as they split). I wouldn't be without my milkweeds; syriaca, incarnata, tuberosa...

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 10:16AM
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wardw(z6 NJ)

Why not? Invasive plants are OK if you are an active gardener who doesn't mind spending a lot of time tending the garden. I've learned more about plants and gardening during my weeding time than from any other thing I've done in the garden. Many of my favorite plants are reseeders and that used to bother me because of all the careful weeding required. But since I'm in there pulling crabgrass and stilt grass, etc, all the time anyway, one more thing just doesn't matter.

There are quite a few good milkweeds available these days. Some of them aren't hardy, which may be an advantage when it comes to extra work. There is a yellow for sale in stores like Lowes that I'm trying this year which has very vivid flowers. If you have full sun and fairly dry soil the native orange butterfly weed is a good choice, it will will bloom much of the summer and never gets out of control.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 10:19AM
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mucknmire(zone6 NJ)

Thank you all for confirming my suspicion that milkweeds are invasive. I've alread planted them in 3 places in the yard but I may have to rethink the locations knowing that it will spread. I already have to contend with a wildly growing elderberry which was planted as a screen from neighbors- which it does admirably...maybe too admirably. I am ambitiously trying to put in a flagstone path aroung the house single handedly and have started to excavate a dry streambed to drain a wet spot in the yard so I don't have much time to control wayward plants.

We did have a butterfly weed (asclepias tuberosa)for 2 years but it died. Also planted some spurge (euphorbia) which is supposed to be a low growing relative of milkweeds but I either dug it up or it died because I haven't seen it this year.

Call me crazy but I also like the look of poke. If it weren't such a prolific weed I would plant some in our yard.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 1:11PM
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flowersandthings(MidAtlantic 6/7)

They're definitely "tough" in that they can grow almost anywhere. For that I wouldn't put it in a real garden bed or near "shyer" plants. But in a wilder area I think they're most welcome. their blossoms are as you say "different" and the scent is as mentioned BEAUTIFUL. The closes I could compare is lilac like? maybe mixed with (the sharpness of) hyacinth? :)

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 2:50AM
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