Do you root cuttings of your tropical milkweed?

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

I recently heard that it was possible to root cuttings of Asclepias 'curassavica'/Tropical Milkweed 'Silky Red' and 'Silky Gold'---Has anyone been successful with propagating this way?

For those of us up north who love this MW for the butterflies and our sunny borders, we could possibly take cuttings now and overwinter them, then start out in the springtime with some nice sized plants for the BFs.

Come to think of it, what about Asclepias tuberosa? Another cuttings possibility?

Does this make any sense? Anybody know?

(Or maybe I should post this on the Propagation or Perennial Forums...?)

thanks. t.

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The Woodlands, TX(Zone 8b)

t, I sear the bottom of the cutting and then just stick it in moist ground, they root easily. I've done it on tuberosa and curassavica. I haven't tried them in water, but I bet they wold root.

NE Medina Co., TX(Zone 8a)

I don't know if it helps or not, but I dip the lower part of the cutting in Rootone or Dip 'n Gro before putting it in a pot. Believe it or not, I often put cuttings in the cages (in little containers with water), then after the cats strip them, I dip them and plant them. Many make it, without a single leaf to start off. Didn't believe it would work at first, but I figured why not?

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 8b)

Linda I do that too. I ran out of little containers so I wet the aqua foam and put it in a ziplock, then set it in the jar or cage, and stick the cuttings in it. It has worked well, then when it's stripped of leaves....plant it.

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Thank you for the good news. I will get some root tone and get started making more.

I wish I had known this earlier! But didn't think of it!

Are their any other BF plants that can be started easily from cuttings?

(Maggie) Jacksonvill, FL(Zone 9a)


Pentas root nicely. I have cut MW stems and stuck it in holes in the lids of yogurt cups. No searing and no rootone. Funny think is, a little frass in the water seems to help. When the cats were through, I just left the MW in the pots for a while. At the end of a couple weeks, there were roots. Cutting long, lanky stems into sections works well too. I cut the bottom at a slight angle and cut the top off square. I leave at least 2 nodes under water and 1 above- again with lids. It also seems that gently scratching/wounding the node is effective in stimulating root growth. This was a wonderful way to increase my MW supply this summer. There were times when all I had were some stems in pots with a few leaves but it was enough to get me through until I could buy more MW.


St Augustine, FL(Zone 9a)

Great info, thanks! Karen

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Thanks for the details, Maggie. I will get going on my new MW Farm!

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

I finally learned this year that you don't have to do anything to root the Tropical milkweed, just leave the stalk in water! I've seared them but don't even need to do it on these. (It might be necessary on other kinds tho)

When I cut branches off for my recent big brood I just started sticking them in cups of water then putting some in pots. I bet I have 50 stalks rooting (rooted) sitting outside now! I need to get them in dirt asap.

Do you need Tropical mw??

Paris, TN(Zone 6b)

KKB, If you've got extras, I'll send postage for some. I didn't have any milkweed this year, but I have it down on my WS list. Just shoot me a D-mail if you want to work some kind of trade :)


Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Thanks, konkreteblonde., I don't need any right now, but I want to have some ready in May for the butterflies.

If I wintersow them in January they will not bloom 'til later in the summer and I want to have some ready to attract the earliest monarchs (and other BFs!)

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Paige, if you have anything other than Silky Gold extra cuttings, I would love to have a couple. It is the only one I have blooming. I have one scrawney Mexican (orange) that is trying. Hope to get seeds before the cold gets it.

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

Sure Sheila! I'm glad I read this tonight. I've been so busy and behind on my threads and spent my free time today potting for tomorrow. I'll try to pot some for you in the a.m. or I'll just bring them in some water for you to plant.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Thanks Paige, cuttings would be great, but dont' short your cats!!

hineni, if you want 'Silky Gold' seeds, dmail me.

St Augustine, FL(Zone 9a)

I just planted a few milkweed seeds and they came up without any problem. I just took a pod that looked ripe, opened it, took out the seeds and let them dry for a few days, and planted. Very easy!!

Texas/Okla central b, United States(Zone 7b)

ok you sear the milkweed before dipping it in rootone?

Crestview, FL(Zone 8a)

I "accidentally" rooted my milkweed. I removed and placed aside a pot of completely stripped stalk cuttings which had been in the Cat Nursery. When I removed them from the soil, to place in the compost bin, I saw the cuttings had rooted themselves. No rooting hormone required! Probably that magical frass and a rainy day or two to keep the soil wet.

This message was edited Oct 10, 2006 11:02 AM

Seabrook, TX(Zone 9a)

Oh Milkweed roots REAL easy! I root it all the time:) I have the red and yellow, pink.
It is such a easy plant to make cuttings from.
There is so very many plants that make for easy cuttings which would surprise us.

The Woodlands, TX(Zone 8b)

I used to sear, but I'm not anymore...too much work lol. Sticking them in the soil is right up my alley.

Mesilla Park, NM

This is the first time I hear about searing a cutting. What does that mean? I have some tropical and tuberosa I'd like to root cuttings of.

I'll try some in water, but, now I'm curious as to what searing means.

I know this is an old thread, I was searching for milkweed propagation and this post came up. Any information is appreciated.

Arroyo Grande, CA(Zone 9a)

I grew like 50 plants (orange and yellow curassavica) from seed this year but if I can root some easily maybe I should be out there making cuttings off last year's plants. I would love some of the red if someone has seeds they would send me. I could probably dig up some good nectar plants or something to trade.

Houston Heights, TX(Zone 9a)

I just brought in a twig of curassivica with an egg on it and placed it in water. The cat is about an inch and a quarter long now and the twig has roots. It is close under a fluorescent light.

Mesilla Park, NM

Dee, by red are you meaning e tropical curassivica ? Let me know.

Steadycam, that's good to know. I'll take some cuttings today. Do you guys know shat searing means? How long does it take to root in water, ? Just curious, I've got the yellow and the red with yellow centers.


Houston Heights, TX(Zone 9a)

By searing she means she flames the end of the stem. Many do that because the latex leaks out. I don't think it is necessary because Ive never done it and I root them in water all the time.

Arroyo Grande, CA(Zone 9a)

Gourd -
I could be mistaken, I have an orange/yellow curassavica and a yellow/yellow curassavica. It just seems to me I've seen red. You know just about the only milkweeds I've had success with here is a California native type, tropical milkweed and physocarpa types. I've had trouble getting the others to even germinate.
Steadycam3 - Often times putting water on a plant cut that has latex sap will stop it from "bleeding". It's a old garden trick, works well with Euphorbia family plants too.

Mesilla Park, NM

This is the one I have and they labeled it red silk, the third photo .. Don't gave seeds yet, but I'm looking for some rattail cactus, aporophyllum plants or cuttings of them?. I would be willing to send you either rooted plants or cuttings if you would like to trade shoot me a dmail. I'm a little obsessed right now fir golden rattails and any aporophyllum plants named or not.

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Arroyo Grande, CA(Zone 9a)

I'd just as soon have seeds when it does it's thing.
I looked at your trade pages and I have 4 of the plants on your want list: Silver squill, Pregnant onions, "Dracula" epi cactus, and I have a cleistocactus that I believe is golden rat tail. In fact I have an extra plant, not just cuttings. If you would like to pay for a medium flat rate or even a large flat rate box I could send you box full. I have pots full of silver squill and pregnant onions and I could get a least one good cutting off of the "Dracula" epi.
Let me know if you want to pay postage.

Mesilla Park, NM

Oh Dee, you have just made my day, night... I'd love some of everything... Do you have paypal? If you would like any of the plants I have, I can send you a box too. I have been wanting Dracula too! I can't believe you have that... I'll save all the seeds for you thus fall. Was that the red one in that third photo? Would you like the yellow orange seeds also? I'd love a large flat rate box. I've been wanting to have these for a long time too... Thank you so very much.. Sending you a dmail too.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Wow, making me feel older looking at this thread from 8 years ago!
I was just starting out with raising MW and Monarch cats. Since the topic was do you root cuttings of MW I need to say yes! I do as the others did, save the striped stems and stick them into wet soil under a grow light. Then you will loose some but most will root easily.
Here is the set up I used when I purchased plants that had been sprayed. They were two cheap and huge to pass on so I bought two full 4 foot tall A. curassavica plants for $12 ea!

I took them home planted them and cut off all of the stems to about 6or 8" and netted them to keep Monarchs from laying eggs on them. The stems were then washed in soapy water and cut in 6" lengths. After which I used large pots sitting in trays to keep them wet. When they got roots they went in four inch pots. This is after they began growing again. They weren't pretty plants, but I knew after planting they would return to normal the next spring.

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Arroyo Grande, CA(Zone 9a)

These look great Sheila. I have a curassavica that is literally waist high. I should have no trouble trimming it back some for cuttings. So many of my other milkweeds are leafed out now so I don't have to worry about all of a sudden getting cats and not having enough leaves. I think I'll just trim 6" off of each tall stem and put them in 2" pots. Since you're not using bottom heat I can just leave them in the greenhouse. This is a nice reliable way to get some of the pure yellow ones I like so much too.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

A lot of eggs are laid in the flower buds. So I would clip the buds and poke them in some wet foam until you were sure they didn't have cats on them. The stems will root if kept moist and in shade. Good luck.

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

Sheila - Just out of curiosity, what happened to the part of the milkweed plants that you had netted? Does that spray eventually wear off or grow out so that the plant is usable? Since it's so hard to know any more if plants may have been sprayed (not just milkweed) I've always wondered about that.

Last year I read (possibly on the daily butterfly thread?) that many stores including Lowe's, Home Depot, etc. sprayed their plants. I try to buy most of my plants from sources I know don't spray, but sometimes there are great deals out there (like your milkweed) and I don't want to poison the visitors I'm trying to attract.

Arroyo Grande, CA(Zone 9a)

Does anyone have some fennel seeds? I didn't think it possible for me to run out and I did. The darn gophers ate my seedling fennel plants and I want to start more in old washtub. The butterflies love fennel.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

NAN....Down here after the Monarchs migrate, we don't have it used by a caterpillars until maybe early fall. Most of the Monarchs are not mating when they fly through. So once spring migration was over I took the net off. It put out more leaves and stems then and went on to flower. I guess you could strip the leaves,spray yours with soapy water at a time when it wasn't in the sun, let is set for a while and wash it off. I wouldn't think the leaves it put out would have pesticides since most are residue products. I would test it out on a Queen if you get those up there, before uncovering it.

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

Thanks, Sheila!
I don't have any plants at the moment that I'm concerned with, but I have purchased plants in the past that I wondered about. Fortunately, most were bought in autumn after pretty much all the flying critters were gone (butterflies, bees, hummers) and they did seem to be fine by the following spring after I cut off all the old growth.

I never would have thought to cut off the stems and wash them like you did or to net the rest of the plant. I think that's brilliant on your part! I really learned something there so thanks for posting that info.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

I wasn't sure it would work, but I figured it was either that or the compost pile. I lost a lot of tropical Milkweed this winter, but I had sprinkled a lot of seed pods from plants last fall that are coming up now. So I will be ready when they come again.
There has been so much construction in our area that has taken the wild MW. I hope the government will start aggressively seeding for new plants along the corridors as they indicated they would.

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