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Article: Milkweeds: which one's for your garden?: Non-seedpod producing Butterfly Weed Plant

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Forum: Article: Milkweeds: which one's for your garden?Replies: 4, Views: 59
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Tracys Landing, MD

October 12, 2009
5:11 PM

Post #7161524

I bought this plant a couple of years ago for the purpose of butterflies and more. This year my pink Milkweed produced alot of pods but the orange one didn't. (sorry image is before it starting flowering but it's orange/yellow) Can anyone shed light on no-pod butterweed here is the name on tag: Asclepias Tuberosa.
Does this plant have to mature before it goes to seed?

This message was edited Oct 12, 2009 1:14 PM

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Ames, IA

October 12, 2009
5:35 PM

Post #7161599

My Asclepias tuberosa (as well as Asclepias incarnata) didn't do well this year either, and I think I got an average of no more than one pod per plant. I hope that it was because of all the rain and cool temperatures that we had and that the plants will do better if we have the typical hot, dry Iowa summer in 2010.
Tracys Landing, MD

October 12, 2009
10:33 PM

Post #7162552

Thanks for your response. I hope I see pods next year also. I wanted to share some with friends this year but will hold off and see next season here in zone 7MD.
Stanchfield, MN

October 13, 2009
6:38 AM

Post #7163889

Milkweed flowers are rather "unique", in that it takes quite a bit of luck for an insect to actually pollinate the flower.

There are five nectar cups on each flower (not the flower cluster), with smooth, incurved "horns" growing from the cups. An insect's leg will "slip" on a horn and go into the slit between two cups. If the insect is trapped there, and dies, no pollen is brought up -- but when the insect frees itself and moves on to another flower, it takes with it two pollen sacs from that slit. Then the whole process has to be repeated, resulting in the pollen sacs being deposited in/next to the cups of another flower...

Because of the unique method of pollination, and the fact that there is only one pod for each flower (again, not the flower cluster), the only way to get a LOT of pods is to make sure a LOT of flowers are actually fertilized. If you really want a LOT of pods, you may have to hand-fertilize your milkweed's flowers.


Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

October 13, 2009
6:26 PM

Post #7165268

Thanks NordicFletch, for adding those fascinating facts.

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