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Does butterflyweed need a splint?

Posted by noelladsa 6 (My Page) on
Sun, Oct 20, 13 at 22:08

I'm a newbie gardener and this is my first season of planting .I grew Butterfly Weed from seed and eventually moved them to my yard. Its been around three months and I noticed that the plants (around 20 of them) have all grown in the direction of the wind, some at terrible angles.

Is splinting necessary? I read somewhere else that butterflyweed dies down to the ground in winter.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Does butterflyweed need a splint?

Almost all of the butterfly weed I have seen grows at an angle. When the clump gets large, the slant isn't quite so noticiable.

Mine have all already turned brown and are almost down for the winter season.


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RE: Does butterflyweed need a splint?

If it breaks off, it will develop shoots from the middle, which I think is actually a good thing. Mine (ONE plant) is the same, just one LONG shoot. But I didn't have the heart to cut it off. I was waiting for it to develop a flower and then a seedhead, but it never did. BooHoo! I'm having bad luck with them, but this year I saw them blooming in two different places along the local roadside!!!!


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RE: Does butterflyweed need a splint?

There could be a couple of issues going on here. The first is that the shock of transplanting has them a bit weakened and once they get established, they'll straighten up. The second is that perhaps you've planted them in a non-ideal area? I see that moss is growing on the dirt which typically likes moist and shady areas. Butterflyweed likes drier and sunnier conditions so perhaps they're struggling?


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RE: Does butterflyweed need a splint?

Well, what happened was in spring and summer, the butterflyweed patch got a few hours of direct sunlight in the morning and afternoon. Maybe 4 hours of direct light.

Now in the fall, there is no direct sunlight anywhere in my yard.I hope they show up next spring and maybe get stronger.

Actually on wildflower.org they are listed under Sun and part shade. Thats my go to resource since I am new to this.They should have probably mentioned, thrives in sun but struggles in part shade lol.


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RE: Does butterflyweed need a splint?

Ours didn't straighten up until their third year (guess that's fourth from seed). It gets only morning sun planted against an east facing fence. Monarch cats took 100% of the leaves and gnawed off the top 25% of the stems in August; but it's back flowering better than ever with another four weeks or so to our first freeze. So, trimming for less leggy growth shouldn't be a problem once established.

Yes, they do die back to the ground with the fall freezes and are late to emerge in the spring.


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RE: Does butterflyweed need a splint?

Seedlings might need a year or two to settle in their new spot, and produce a more upright growth pattern. They will also have the chance to get used to the wind from the time they emerge.

Here are some seedlings I started from seed in containers this past Spring, and transplanted to the garden. They are not in a windy spot, but they are also kind of floppy. As I recall, previous seedlingshave been similar. It's the nature of the seedlings, I think.


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RE: Does butterflyweed need a splint?

  • Posted by dbarron Z6/7 (Oklahoma) (My Page) on
    Thu, Nov 21, 13 at 8:08

I have a feeling you don't have adequate light. I never see A tuberosa growing naturally in less than 1/2 day sun. I've never seen it naturally in a mossy area (usually likes higher and drier)


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RE: Does butterflyweed need a splint?

Are your plants A. incarnata, A. syriaca, or A. tuberosa? The first two are (pink and) more amenable to moisture, shadier conditions. Perennial plants generally take 3+ years to start to mature into an adult specimen. Plants that do not form permanent woody structures 'start fresh' each year. So a lean in this years' stems has no bearing on how they will grow next year, assuming they aren't leaning toward more light, or being constantly blown in the same direction by harsh winds. One really strong gust can knock some plants sideways for the rest of the (growing) year. Often the stress point of stick-staking can cause them to break instead. Ascepias shouldn't ever need any staking in sufficient light, (but this is why I won't get more Dahlias. I don't want to look at stakes.)

The real power of all species of Asclepias is being the only genus of plants that monarch butterfly caterpillars are able to eat. The flowers do provide nectar for adult butterflies of about any type, but countless plants can do that. So I hope you will not be alarmed if you see tiny caterpillars eating your plants, or use any chemicals on your plants that could harm the very visitors they attract.

Although monarch caterpillars can't eat other plants, there are other caterpillars that can eat Asclepias (of much less desirable visitors.) If you're new to the 'caterpillar thing,' it's a good idea to make sure that's what's eating your plant.


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RE: Does butterflyweed need a splint?

Not sure of the growing conditions there, but often times the native flowers like to be paired with native grasses. Might I suggest a couple clumps of prairie dropseed between those plants...

It looks to me like they are leaning toward the sunlight, which happens lot in my shady yard.

The curve of plant can be interesting, isn't it.

I wouldn't worry about it too much, they are newbies. In a couple years, they will be multiple stems pointing all in the same direction.


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RE: Does butterflyweed need a splint?

For first year plants, I think those look great. They are A. Tuberosa, which do prefer the sunniest location they can get. You might want to consider planting another species of milkweed that might be happier in your shady yard. You could also consider trimming some tree branches to allow for more sun. Gardening is always an adventure of trial and error. I'm so glad to hear so many people are growing milkweed. If anyone needs seeds, there is a newbie adoption program over on the seed trading forum for people wanting to grow milkweeds to help the Monarchs.

Martha


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