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How is your milkweed doing?

Posted by docmom z5 MI (My Page) on
Tue, May 6, 14 at 20:02

I made an extra effort this year to plant lots of milkweed seeds over the winter to increase the plants in my yard and to have extras to share. Just today I finally have seedlings of almost every variety I planted, and I also found the first ground-breaking sprouts on my returning A. Incarnata plants. I have tons of A. Syriaca, A. Incarnata, a few Whorled Milkweed, and one Poke Milkweed seedling. No sign of any tuberosa yet, but they are usually my slowest. Now that I've had such great success, I'm not sure exactly what to do with all my plants. I'd love to pot them up and sell them for a buck each at some farmers market, but don't want to bother with getting a formal spot. I could just leave them out at the side of the road as free offerings, but then you don't know who takes them or whether they know what to do with them. I'd love to ship them off to any of you, if you think they could survive shipping. Online retailers ship plants all the time, so we should be able to manage. Anyone else having good luck with their milkweed crops?

Martha


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: How is your milkweed doing?

You are just a treasure! The butterflies I am sure appreciate what you are doing for them. I have just put A. Incarnata in my cart to order from the online nursery. Are you sure you really want to wrap, pack and ship plants? Are they in pods, pots, or bareroot? The last bare root plants I received were wrapped in wet paper towels, then plastic wrap and bubble wrap. I immediately potted them and they are looking ok. They were clematis about 6" total length with a good bunch of leaves and about 2" of roots. And there were three of them packed nicely in a USPS Priority mail box. I would love to have some only if you let me pay postage and handling fees. Or you could find someone else selling @ the farmers market that loves butterfiles to sell or give them away for you, that could explain how important they are to the new owners. Think about it, and let me know, we can exchange emails. Debra


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RE: How is your milkweed doing?

Debra,
So far, my seedlings have just their first set of leaves. They are all crowded together in my wintersowing germination containers. I'm sure whomever you are purchasing from has at least year old plants so you can get flowers this year. None of mine will flower until at least next year. But, if you'd like to add some baby plants to the mature ones you are already buying, I'd love to send you some.

Martha


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RE: How is your milkweed doing?

I got nothing. None of my seeds have sprouted yet, and no Milkweed has broken ground in my garden.
But I did see some Common Milkweed coming up on the job Monday.


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RE: How is your milkweed doing?

Over the years I have tried many varieties of milkweed and the only one with which I have had success is A. incarnata. I grow it almost every year because it is shortlived in my zone and it comes up very late...not yet sprouted in my WS containers. Strangely, this flowers in the first year for me. I just noticed that my two year old plants did not come back, so I'll have some to share this summer. I find the combination of this milkweed with Agastache 'blue fortune' provides the most tantalizing mix of butterflies and bees. Then there are others feeding on my parsley in my herb garden. I garden for them!!


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RE: How is your milkweed doing?

Hmmm. I've never considered incarnata to be short lived. But, I plant seeds every year, and it self seeds quite generously. So, maybe my plants are just turning over. I could simply plant all the seedlings I have and use them to collect a huge quantity of incarnata seeds to share. I know Monarch Watch had plenty of Common Milkweed seeds donated, but were going begging for incarnata. I don't think I have the space for all that I have, though. My brother, sister, and mother have properties I could plant and still have access to the seeds. It's a good problem to have.

Martha


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RE: How is your milkweed doing?

I find that incarnata flowers for me the first year as well. Must be the long Summer days we get up here, but if I start them early enough, I get blooms towards the end of the season. They are by far my favorite milkweed. Not only are they native, but attractive to both the eye and the butterflies. Syriaca is the Monarchs' second choice, and I find it rather aggressive.
My tuberosa is all but ignored. If incarnata is steak, then tuberosa is hamburger, it seems. Incarnata is one of the most irresistible nectar sources for the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.

John


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RE: How is your milkweed doing?

I'm waiting on the Asclepias tuberosa I planted last year to pop back up.... patiently.... keep your fingers crossed for me!


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RE: How is your milkweed doing?

David,
My fingers are crossed. Where did you get your plant? I definitely wouldn't be worried yet. There is no sign of my tuberosa, either. There is one tiny sprout in my wintersown jug of tuberosa, but the jugs warm sooner than the ground, so jugs are a few weeks or a month ahead of the garden, typically.

Martha


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RE: How is your milkweed doing?

After the recent heat (90F yesterday, uggh) I went outside to check on my milkweed progress. Syriaca is up about an inch, tuberosa is just breaking ground, and incarnata has some tiny buds poking up. My wintersown incarnata is sprouted along with some new to me milkweeds. If I recall I had sown showy, purple, and whorled milkweeds. I had planted out some green milkweed (virdis?) last year but don't see it now. I also have one small cup of tropical milkweed started as a backup, and that has germinated too.

Honestly, I think with how vigorous the common milkweed is that I wouldn't really need the rest. But it does a little too well and I may get rid of it if I can get enough of the other species well established. I knew it was aggressive but at the time I started it I had a ton of monarchs (raised over 200 that summer) and other milkweed was in very short supply. That year may have been an aberration though. I didn't raise a single butterfly last year. Now that the common milkweed is established it is shooting up very fast very far from where I planted it. They are easy to pull out, but come back quickly too.

Of the ones I have grown the syriaca definitely provides the most food with quick growth and huge leaves. If it starts to look ratty or sickly I can hack it back and get fresh new growth quickly. Tuberosa is their least favorite unless it is tender new seedlings. My very first caterpillar ever was found on a tiny tuberosa seedling I had just planted. Incarnata I have problems with. The leaves start to get black splotches or turn yellow and drop. Their scent is heavenly though. I keep trying them in different places to see if I can get them to thrive.


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RE: How is your milkweed doing?

After yesterday's "heat wave" of 83H and 60L, I found some purpurescens and some Ice Ballet breaking ground. At work, the syriaca is breaking ground.
Molanic, I have had similar experiences c tuberosa; it is the least favorite of the Milkweeds. I try to avoid syriaca because of its bad manners in the garden. Incarnata grows best in moist to wet conditions in full sun. Aphids are a problem, though.
I have tried other species such as exaltata and others, but they get munched by bunnies. I have some Spider Milkweed and Tall Milkweed planted in the side garden from last Fall, so we'll see how they fare.


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RE: How is your milkweed doing?

I've tried to grow a variety of types of milkweed in my garden and roadside, and the only one I've had luck with is A. curassavica. But I don't remember trying A. syriaca.

I'll e-mail you, Martha. I'd like to try this plant in a variety of situations to see if it likes one of them, since monarchs really like it.

Sherry


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RE: How is your milkweed doing?

My a-incarnata ice ballet is doing great, I ordered 2 from Burpee, and two a-tuberosa and planted them at the end of March. The Ice ballet is about 10"
now, still no growth from the tuberosa. After our 99 degree heatwave, I really thought the Tuberosa would pop, but still nothing. It is supposed to be long lived and do very well here. I am being patient....
Martha, I did order 5 A incarnata Red and a package of seed from Prairie Nursery, so I won't be needing yours. Please send to someone more capable... I am going to try to find a more native milkweed just to see,
a-asperula, antelope horns are native, not very pretty but I would like to try some native milkweed.
Good luck to everyone on the Tubersosa, I will post as soon as I see some green on mine.


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RE: How is your milkweed doing?

I have quite a few tuberosa seedlings sprouting now. More Whorled and Poke continue to sprout as well. I sent a huge tray of syriaca sprouts with my brother for him to plant on his property. I've got tons more sprouts coming of that variety, and plenty more seeds. I need to find time to start getting some of these in the ground. I'm so excited to keep pressing on to spread milkweed far and wide. Everyone keep up the good work.

Martha


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RE: How is your milkweed doing?

I'm starting to get germination at long last, along with some volunteers in the back garden, where the Ice Ballet and tuberosas are planted. We're forecast to have a warmer day tomorrow and maybe they will really start to pop.

John


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RE: How is your milkweed doing?

Martha, you are such an inspiration, This time next year I hope to be running around the Panhandle of Texas with milkweed, giving it to a few neighbors and family. I wish more nurseries in my area carried any type of milkweed. Even if I only have one Monarch this summer it will be worth the effort. Thank you for all of your encouragement. I hope everyone in their small area will plant a plant or two and even try seeds and disperse those seedlings in the neighborhood and family, farmers market, etc. Feeding and raising butterflies, what could be more natural!
Debra


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RE: How is your milkweed doing?


I bought two well-started pots of curassavica this spring.

They came from a Florida nursery called Windmill Farms
And were very healthy and strong.
After I potted them up into large planter containers
I had them outside for abt a week in a flower bed
Where their new flowers quickly attracted Palamedes
And Spicebush swallowtails.

I did use a potting mix that was designed for plants that
Are fast-growing and like lots of water plus good drainage.
I have them on my front south-facing deck now,but
Even sun lovers can get stressed in the hot summer
Sun here so I will be watching.

The thing is ...I just don't see many Monarchs down here.

I am going to collect seed from them also.

DD


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RE: How is your milkweed doing?

My Winter sown milkweed has sprouted beautifully. It is the first year I am trying this technique and it has been really encouraging so far. Pretty much all the plants I started have come up, with the exception of Prairie dropseed. For some reason that germinated really poorly.

I planted tuberosa and incarnata seeds and got terrific germination on both. They are now about at the six or eight leaf stage. I opened up the containers a few days ago to harden them off. Around here, I found both species of milkweed are very attractive nectar plants. Monarch eggs were few and far between last season, but the few I found were on the swamp milkweed. The swamp milkweed seeds I planted were gathered from local plants, so they should do well.

I'm a little afraid to plant any of my winter sown seeds in the ground yet. We have such a deer problem. Even though I only planted "deer resistant" plants, there really is no such thing. With such tiny seedlings, one bite and they're gone. Maybe I can cover them with floating row cover, or some such thing.
Liz


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RE: How is your milkweed doing?

I am also nervous when I finally plant my seedlings in the ground, not because of deer, but the wind. We have less control over them once they are planted. Good luck. I still have not had any sprouts from my A Tuberosa. I know I am rushing spring, and must think of June, do they sprout that late?


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RE: How is your milkweed doing?

I start my seeds inside in a sunny window, in plastic 1 1/2" cell flats. I transfer into 4" pots when large enough and then plant in the ground when at least 6-8" high. I have no deer in my neighborhood but I do have plenty of rabbits. Once they have outgrown their pots, they are distasteful enough to them to plant in the ground.

John


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RE: How is your milkweed doing?

Liz,
Don't give up on the Prairie Dropseed yet. I planted it, also, and haven't seen any sprouts. I give everything until well into June before I call it quits. Drives my husband crazy to have pots sitting around for so long. But, some things really need prolonged warm temps both day and night.

Martha


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RE: How is your milkweed doing?

Thanks for the encouragement, Martha. I got mine from a local nursery in Wixom (Brainers). Their stuff is pretty reliable in my experience. I planted it a little late in the season (early fall - after it had flowered) so I'm hoping it'll pull through and be fine. The butterfly bush might be a different story but... we'll see....


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RE: How is your milkweed doing?

I just bought some swamp milkweed and am very excited! It's already growing and buds are forming. It is increasingly difficult to find native milkweed here. I'm going back for more soon. The tropical I planted is about to bloom :-)


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RE: How is your milkweed doing?

Good for you, and thanks for providing for our beloved Monarch Butterflies. My Milkweed is just now making an appearance and it is showing up in garden centers as well. I may just go to Jung's later today and pick up some more Swamp Milkweed (you can never have too much Swamp Milkweed :-) ).
It is also a terrific, rabbit-proof nectar plant for all flower loving Butterflies, esp. Swallowtails.

John


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RE: How is your milkweed doing?

John,
I have a ton of Swamp Milkweed seedlings that I could share with you. Though, I understand if you want more established plants. Post here if you want some.

Martha


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RE: How is your milkweed doing?

I always have more room for Swamp Milkweed. Is there anything you'd like? I have Fennel, Rue, Anise Hyssop and Snapdragon seedlings. E-mail me with your address if you are interested in any of these and I'll e-mail you mine :)

John


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RE: How is your milkweed doing?

I also have the plants you listed. I really did go all out planting seeds this winter, so I don't need anything. Except, of course, more time to get them in the ground. We've had so much rain that I haven't been able to get anything planted. Fortunately I still have plenty of weed killing to work on to make space for the new plants.

John, I'll e-mail you and you can e-mail me and figure out how to best ship some seedlings.

Martha


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RE: How is your milkweed doing?

I, FINALLY, have some sprouts in my milkweed jugs. I had almost given up hope.

My arborist showed up yesterday and we fell a bunch of trees to allow more sunlight for my gardens. Unfortunately where some of these trees had to fall was where a large part of my milkweed garden was going to go. It is unlikely I will have time to get it all cleaned up this year, So I have extra milkweed seedlings that I would also be happy to ship to fellow canucks (sorry with rules etc too hard to ship to USA) or I will scramble and find a place to plant them.

Bring on butterfly season!!!

SCG


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