I have been working on increasing the diversity of Asclepias species I grow but have found the selection easily available to be limited. I would greatly appreciate it if anyone can direct me to sources for A. longifolia, A. quadrifolia, A. rubra and A. variegata. Thanks in advance for any leads.
Take a look at this link - it lists sources for these seeds:
Thanks for the link Kay! Unfortunately, the four species I'm seeking were not listed. Being a small world, I recently met Mona Miller, the lady who posted all that info, at a native plant presentation recently. She has e-mailed me some possibilities, but no real luck yet. :-(
Are you still looking for the seeds? I have some seeds of Asclepias longifolia subsp. hirtella I can send you, if that would work.
Cville - I would love some. I'll send you a d-mail. Thanks!
A site called butterfly encounters offers quality seed. I've been purchasing from Bobby for three or four years now.
Yes, thanks Kay - you are SO handy with your computer. ;)
It also occurred to me to identify the site of one of our very own DG members. I stumbled upon her site the winter I was planning my butterfly garden/monarch waystation. I purchased my first "butterfly kit" from her which included the two kinds of tropical MW, Tithonia, and I forget what else. Hah ahaha.
I too am trying to increase my native milkweed population. I can germinate them easily, but getting them to live in the ground has proved to be a challenge.
I am interested in A. amplexicaulis. If you have any of these plants growing and could collect some seeds this summer, I would be grateful. Here in Northeast Texas that seems to be the milkweed of choice. I have them growing in my area but the Monarchs eat them into the ground each year, so I have not had any seed pods produced.
I'm interested to know if you found good / better resources for milkweeds?
I order most of my milkweed seeds from Prairie Moon Nursery (www.prairiemoon.com) and as a whole they have germinated well.
I found some more resources today. I thought I'd share.
Holy COW! On Amanda's first link, I found a list of milkweed plant and seed suppliers - wonderful list!
I found a few sources here in TN that I hadn't known about. ♥
I'd like to find online sources that ship plants. If anyone has such online nurseries, please post them!
Yeah, I'm great at following every link to get to the resources, but have no $$$ for live plants.
Carole, that link is to a vendor in TN?
Three of those species are annual. Easy to grow. I have seed for tropical and the a. physocarpus. Both very eagerly eaten by monarch cats.
I've started more A. Incarnata from seed this year. The several plants I've had have not fared well between drought and aphids. Last year something got two of them from the ground up. The stalks turned black and worked its way up. Never saw that before on a MW.
ALSO have A. Viridis in the fridge waiting to come out. It might be time.
Ladies and gents, especially in TX, please plant more MW. I AM GOING TO line the driveway with pots of it I think when I run out of space in the garden.
Amanda, I don't think any Milkweeds are annuals. Some tropical species are frost tender, but those are generally not sold by vendors located where they are not hardy.
Thank you. They must be perennial in south America/Mexico and/ or south Africa. I have seen a lot more MW commercially available, including the topical MW. The physocarpus is popular in flower arrangements. :)
If you are interested I have seeds of Asclepias tuberosa var. Hello Yellow and the Monarchs eat it to the ground and it regrows and makes seeds here in Central Alabama. I also have A. curvassica if you have interest. The monarchs like it too.
REally. They eat A. tuberosa ?!
I have only found eggs on mine once, and those plants were next to the A. incarnata. They seem not to care for the A. tuberosa here as a host plant. I'd wondered if it was really more just a nectar plant but gratified to know they will eat that too.
I collect the seed and give it away freely to folks who are willing to plant MW. If you'd care to share maybe I have something on my trade lists (or something I can look for on your "want" list?) in exchange. Thanks for the offer. I'll send you Dmail.
In my research for a presentation on the Monarch butterfly, I learned that A. tuberosa does not contain sufficient quantities of cardiac glycoside (a poison that causes them to taste terrible) to arm them against their predators. I have not had Monarchs to eat my A. tuberosa, but a friend did. This past year only one monarch came through my area. She did lay eggs and I released fifteen from bringing the eggs in (my first time to try that). In the past I've seen five to ten, so the numbers are down. Several local friends who are Monarch watchers also did not see any.
I purchased baby milkweeds (asclepias asperula) this spring in 3" pots in an effort to participate in the Help Bring Back the Monarchs campaign. Of the ones that have survived thus far, they all look pitiful. They have not put on ANY new growth since I purchased them and put them in the ground - amended clay soil on a well drained sloping site. Any suggestions as to how to get these milkweeds to grow? I am in zone 8a (Fort Worth, TX). It has been a hot summer here (temps over 100 for last few weeks). Should I dig them up and move them to another location in hopes they will be happier with more moisture? Or should I just leave alone in hopes that they are developing a healthy root system and they will put on leaf growth and blooms next year for the Monarchs?
I would think anytime you put in new perennials you should water them deeply at least once a week for the first season in a climate like that. The NPIN says they have moderate water usage and well drained slope, so they could be wanting for water.
I have not grown this species, but I do have a couple that have exhibited poor/slow growth the first couple of seasons despite near perfect conditions, near as I can tell.
For example, I started A. exalta (poke MW) and A. purpuraescens (purple MW) from seed in 2011. I planted the young plants in the ground that fall. In spring, most came up but were cut down by either rabbits or insects (?). This year, the purple MWs are still only one or two stemmed insubstantial plants about 1' tall. The poke MW were a bit taller and larger, but still disappointing results. I'd read recently that the purple MW can take up to three seasons to develop into a mature plant. By that perhaps it means it won't bloom until then. I know several varieties that will not bloom their first year.
Others may know more! :)
Don't give up. They will come back next season, just make sure they develop good, deep roots.
Thanks for the encouragement & progress report from your experiences. It gives me hope. I have been giving them supplemental water since I almost immediatly lost about 1/2 the plants I purchased this spring due to the well drained condition. I was worried that maybe I was giving them too much water, but when I've checked the soil with my finger about an inch down, it usually seems fairly dry before I've watered. I just purchased some additional milkweed seeds, but different varieties, to try this fall. Last year I tried sowing seeds directly in the ground with zero success:( This year I am going to try them first in a seed flat, with hopes that i can get them started there, then hardened off to their permanent location. I really want to help those monarchs. I love gardening to see all the birds, butterflys, caterpillars & other insects etc in their natural native environment.
In full sun and high heat I water new plants almost daily if warranted, particularly on a well drained slope. Even consider some dilute plant food if the soil is poor. Most commercial/retail plants will have food added to the soil which will be depleted just in time for you to put them in the ground. This from working in the industry.
I've had limited success with direct sowing myself, and have determined "winter sowing" to be the best method, particularly for those species that require cold/moist stratification. If your seasons are cold enough you might try it, or consider the refrigerator. Many species have some pretreatment necessary for germination. Learning more about propagation will go a long way towards future success.
Thanks for helping the monarch! Still waiting here, but I just KNOW they will come. ;)
This message was edited Aug 13, 2013 6:46 AM
Thanks Amanda. Two of the varieties of seeds I bought do require the cold moist stratification. That's why I purchased the seeds now, so I could get them in the refrig for that forced "winter" period since some years here in FtWorth we have enough cold weather to call it "winter" and other years we don't. The varieties of seeds I bought, that are supposed to be native to this region, are: tall green milkweed / asclepias hirtella, swamp milkweed / asclepias incarnata ( website where I purchased said it really doesn't have to be a swamp & that ordinary garden watering will do, so I am going to put them at the bottom of the slope where the rainwater drains), and common milkweed / asclepias syriaca. Do you have any additional tips for these species?
Any and all help with propogating seeds and hardening off to maturity will be greatly appreciated. I know asclepias tuberosa (which I did have some success direct sowing in garden soil) develops a tap root therefore, does not like to be in a pot for long and does not like to be moved once established. I dont know if that is true for all asclepias.
I hope you get some monarch visitors soon!
Sure, I can speak to my experience:
A.incarnata: you're right, I've also read that the species does not require wet conditions. I planted five plants purchased at farm supply store. They did not bloom for three years! I don't know why, except perhaps that is a species like the purple milkweed that takes years to mature. Two succumbed to something strange when the stems turned black at the base and worked it's way up. Have no idea what that was! The plants are in part shade and get about 6+/day. I try to keep the aphids off but they start to show up about now. By TH time TH monarchs show these plants are not in the best condition, but it is the favored host plant in my yard. I figure monarchs and milkweed have been competing with aphids from the beginning of time, so I let it be. Plants do not spread by rhizomes like other species. Seems to stay put in the garden.
This season I bought more seed and did the cold-moist stratification in the fridge for two or more months. Then I put the seed in my milk jug containers to let them do their thing. Had great germination.. I can't remember how many plants I got out of it. I've been giving away a lot of milkweed trying to encourage others to help TH monarch. I retained 4 plants, each now in an 8" container and about 10" high. Perhaps I should use fertilizer more, but they are growing slowly, probably developing nice roots in those big pots. the aphids have appeared, usual at terminal great tips, and I just pinch them off with my fingers. Some spray with water, or wipe w tissue, but at some point you will (!!!) Encounter eggs and/or caterpillars which is why I give up at some point in the fight. Unlike the A. tuberosa, it can be moved as I have had to. Like all natives, they probably can develop an extensive root system but the butterfly weed seems unique as far as I know with the tube root. Maybe someone else can speak to that.
A. tuberosa. Started from seed in 2010. Required cold-moist stratification. Will not bloom the first year from seed. Second year growth slow to spread but nice flush of flowers. If you clip the seed pods they will rebloom. now fourth season have spread nicely and have flowered and gone to seed. I've collected seed and waiting for rebloom. This species is not a preferred host plant though I have found cats on them before. It does not contain as much of the toxin that most MW carry therefore is not as effective for larvae to develop their toxic properties which is essentially a defense mechanism against predators. Plant develops deep, tuberous roots. Have not tried to move, obviously it is not recommended. The plant thrives in full sun, dry soil once established. I have not found it necessary to supplement with water even in drought conditions.
A. syriaca: grown from seed last spring. Requires cold-moist stratification up to three months. Likes full Sun but can tolerate some shade. Spreads by rhizomes and can be aggressive in the garden. Can be divided and propagated by digging rhizomes. Gorgeous flower second or third season. To me it smells like spring hyacinths. :)
Large seed pods, large leaves. Also a host plant to milkweed beetle larvae. Preferred host plant for monarch cats. Can grow to 6' or more
I also grow from seed every season A. curassavica /tropical MW/bloodflower. Grown as an annual in my zone. To 4' tall and 36" wide. Preferred larval host plant of monarch. Does not require pretreatment. Prone to aphids. Excellent nectar plant as well.
A. physocarpa is native to south Africa but I grow here as an annual. Large round seed pods are interesting in the landscape and the foliage lasts well into the fall. Plants did not succumb to frost and lived into January here before dying back! Have not found cats on the plant but they will eat the foliage readily when offered. Prefers full Sun.
I have alreadty mentioned the purple MW and poke MW. Both require cold-moist stratification. Poke MW wants shade. Purple MW tolerates some shade. One Poke MW plant out of nine bloomed third season from seed. Purple MW has not bloomed yet in its third season from seed. Have not had them long enough to observe much or note significant changes. foliage on poke much larger. Both species eaten to ground last year by wildlife and both topping slightly now over 12" high.
That's as much as I grow with now three mature swamp MW, six or eight clusters of a. tuberosa, nine poke, twelve purple, ~36 tropical MW, eight a. physocarpa, and one clump of common MW with about six tall stems (from seed one plant second season).
That should give you something to chew on. :)
Thanks for the supplemental info. Helps to know what to expect, esp w some varieties taking multiple years to fully develop. Do you fertilize your MW? I have been giving mine an occasional drench of diluted Garrett juice (local product developed by organic guru Howard Garrett)
I don't fertilize much, but I probably should. Had read somewhere not to "baby" the plant,extra water, door, but can't now remember which species. I amend the soil anually with compost and random bags of top soil, pine bark fines...
Will have to look up this juice you speak of. :)