Asclepias syriaca ?

adidas(6/7)August 11, 2012

I don't understand how this species can be considered a pest? I have a gravelly, weedy spot w/a few A. syriaca plants growing in it. They grow big beautiful leaves, equally beautiful flowers, LOTS of seed pods but no seeds...WHY? because the larvae of beetles (not sure what species)eat them before they ever leave the pod. How do these things even survive much less become pests?!

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molanic(Zone 5 IL)

It is because it also spreads quite aggressively by underground runners. I planted a patch of it knowing its habits a few years ago and have not regretted it...yet. Since I raise monarchs I appreciate the rapid growth and large fleshy leaves. Swamp milkweed and butterfly weed can't compete in that respect. I have had sprouts pop up a good 4-5 feet away and turn into large clumps themselves, but that doesn't bother me...yet. I can see how that would not be desirable in a tidy planned flower bed. The stalks can also get quite tall and need staking after some wind/rain.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 7:28PM
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adidas(6/7)

Wow! I didn't know Asclepias had underground runners! What I find interesting is that I haven't found a SINGLE caterpillar or even an egg on any of the milkweeds! When I was little I lived for awhile in New Zealand and we raised monarchs on milkweeds but I'm not sure of the species. It was not syriaca. Looked more like tuberosa but wasn't orange...anyway the monarchs ate EVERYTHING! There were caterpillars everywhere! But now I am in VA and we have swallowtails (mostly) and I saw one lone monarch yesterday but no caterpillars (of any species)! I was planning on gathering the Asclepias seeds and dropping them in a few more patches but I can't find any seeds...do you know if they transplant ok? I know tuberosa does not.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 9:44PM
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molanic(Zone 5 IL)

I haven't found as many monarch eggs or cats this year either. I have heard that because of the very mild winter in much of the country that there is a much larger population of their predators this year. I have my best luck finding eggs by watching for the females to lay the eggs and then immediately looking for them. If I wait until the next day, they oftentimes are all eaten already.

I have grown five different types of milkweed, all from seed that I have wintersown outside in containers and then planted out. They all transplanted well at the seedling stage and really took off. However many of them do have large tap roots that can make it hard to transplant mature plants. I did move an A. tuberosa that was a little over a foot tall and I dug the rootball down almost a foot which broke the taproot off. I thought it was dead because it was completely wilted after transplanting, but with plenty of watering it survived. It did take until the next year for it to fully recover though.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 3:37PM
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