I’ve read somewhere to clip the top leaves to create more stalks but have been unsuccessful. I actually had to drive over to a local park that has a butterfly garden and cut some of the milkweeds to feed my catapillars who ran out of food . The cutting size you use will depend on milkweed availability, cage size, and caterpillar size. In addition, once it starts flowering, common milkweed attracts large numbers of ants and other predators. The reason I am doing this is because there isn’t a lot of info available on native milkweed propagation. Learn more about adding the balloon plant milkweed species to your garden in this article. My balloon plant (G. physocarpus)and swan milkweed (G.fruticosus) cuttings rotted in water, although others have reported success with these varieties. I have no problem getting milkweeds to grow by seed —it`s getting them to grow tall that’s the problem—-when they get to about 4 to 6 inches tall I start noticing little tiny monarch catipallars all over them and in 1 or 2 days all the plants are eaten. (from San Diego) This June we were amazed that a Monarch found and laid eggs on the plant we bought within a few weeks. 2. Any suggestions on preventing wilting? If it wilts the second time I throw it out and get more. The only bad thing is our community sprays for mosquitos and that has had a deadly affect on hatching eggs. Steps for Taking Native Milkweed Cuttings. I put it in a plastic container with a lid. I live in Zone 8 and there is a chance it will make it through the winter here, at least if we do not have an unusually cold one. Spray soil and leaves of the cutting. Fill the container with water so the oasis is saturated. Best, jim. We also offer information on how to raise Monarchs in your home or in the classroom. Do you have any idea what I could do. Push the rooting medium firmly around the stem to provide support. I also experienced the stems and leaves wilting very quickly on some, but not others. Seedlings we soaked in water for two days, then planted, are growing. Native milkweed species can be propagated by stem cuttings but need an environment conducive to growing, like in a greenhouse or under a misting system. Thank you. Hi Becky, on mature plants I cut back some of the stalk too…up to a third. It's easy to do. Hi Judy, water propagation works well for tropical milkweed. Water soil thoroughly. personally I would not do this for common milkweed, since it does spread so easily on its own. I wrote to you about a week ago and don’t know where to find the answer you gave or are going to give to my question. It also produces a chemical that makes monarchs toxic and bitter-tasting to some of their predators. Some species grow exclusively in specific regions while others will thrive in jus… There were very few monarchs coming to my garden. We’ve raised and released over 15 Monarchs here in Minneapolis. Since then I have not caterpillars. I learned this working at a florist. We’re planting our native milkweed cuttings in an 80/20 mix of perlite to peat moss, which is a more traditional mix for starting stem cuttings than starting in soil. Your best chance for cloning is with Asclepias tuberosa. Use organic peat or all-purpose potting soil in pots. We will share methods to propagate by seed on another page. New plants sprouted from every node. When the leaves are almost dry (but not wilted), I put them in a freezer bag and take most of the air out and put them in the refrigerator drawer with the produce. Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) Milkweed Pruning Guide: Do I Deadhead Milkweed Plants We may try some in our porch this spring, which should provide better cuttings quality and better growing conditions. I have also had problems with tuberosa flowering before I moved it this season. Cut a hole in the lid and replace it. I look forward to hearing about your cuttings too…good luck! it wouldn’t surprise me if this was possible, however tropical milkweed stems typically grow upright upright so you would have to force them down to the soil. I noticed that the plants who had several caterpillars are the best -probably because of their droppings. Once I take a cutting I immediately put it in water and take it inside. The photos show cuttings with a couple of leaves on them, and it states to cut all but two leaves. I take some out as needed. is valued primarily because its nectar attracts butterflies and because its leaves are the sole food source for monarch butterfly caterpillars. Thanks Bernice. And this popular plant hosts many more besides monarchs. I use the floral oasis from flower shops. I had to buy more and more plants because the caterpillars ate SO much! (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt) Ann Heisenfelt Many have adapted to different regions of the country and a wide range of climates and terrains, from deserts and rocky areas to marshes and open prairies. Here’s more info on transplanting milkweed: Transplanting Native Milkweed with Taproots, 3 Big Advantages of Winter Sown Milkweed + Winter Sowing Container ideas, If you have any questions or tips on taking native milkweed cuttings please, Valentine Gift Ideas for a Butterfly Lover, Start or Improve your Monarch Butterfly Garden, Butterfly Garden Book for Monarchs- Instant Download, Top Tools, Supplies, and Resources for Raising Monarch Butterflies, Steps for Taking Native Milkweed Cuttings, Monarch Butterfly Kits to Raise Caterpillars into Butterflies, 25 Milkweed Plant Ideas for North American Butterfly Gardens, Winter Sowing Milkweed Seeds Part 1: Supply Checklist, native milkweed plants still have herbaceous, viable stems, mid-summer cuttings will grow roots in plenty of time for fall planting, You can keep the cuttings containers outdoors. They seem to dry up and die no matter what I do…. First, my potting soil had fungus gnats, and then I switched to a soilless mix. I had great luck winter sowing Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) seed. Without it, they cannot complete their life cycle and their populations decline. The number of monarch butterflies, charisma tic nomads of North America, is rapidly declining. My rose garden is full of common milkweed and it was never there before! Cut a hole in the lid and replace it. When I’m cutting milkweed to bring inside for our caterpillars, my hands can sometimes end up orange — yuck! It has red and yellow blooms. Of course, my plants are on the edge of our lawn and not in fields. My best experience mowing common milkweed was with a dairy farmer who harvested first cutting from a hay field (over 100 acres) where milkweed was very common. Creating a butterfly garden is a process, and once the butterflies finally find your garden they really do keep coming back! We’ve done this successfully with tropical milkweed, but have not tried with other native or non-native varieties. In previous seasons, we tried starting milkweed cuttings in potting soil and most of the cuttings rotted because there wasn’t enough oxygen in the soil. I guess I could wear gloves, but I’ve never liked to garden in gloves. Or does the cutting need leaves? Insert chopstick/pencil in soil to make holes for placing cuttings. Milkweeds can be grown from seeds or vegetatively from root cuttings or rhizomes. I’m not sure if you have ever looked at my “How To start A Monarch Butterfly garden” post, but it goes over the basics to consider when starting your garden. I live in Indiana if this helps anyone. Use a sharp pruner to take milkweed cuttings at a 45° angle for optimal water absorption. And it’s flowering too. He takes them to pre-k so the kids can watch the “hungry” caterpillars grow (we changed out pots of milkweed often) and form chrysalis and then become butterflies. Thanks again for this helpful comment! quick note: the only native species I have had success rooting in water is a. tuberosa. I place the end of the stalk in a container of water, with the end under water, and cut a second time. Our Monarchs must like the coast because we have a steady stream of eggs. I started this plant indoors from seed last year. The best performer here is the tropical which was direct sown and is going gangbusters. These observations led us to consider a new approach to managing milkweed for monarchs. Monarch butterflies are beautiful, charismatic insects known for their long-distance migration and their reliance on milkweeds (Asclepias species).Milkweeds are the only plants on which monarchs lay their eggs. 200 seeds or more now, but since so few people know about this plant, it os a fun one to share seeds from. Only found 3-4 caterpillars before the plants were cut. Cuttings can usually be transplanted in 6-10 weeks. http://monarchbutterflygarden.net/how-to-start-monarch-butterfly-garden/. Jim, sorry to hear this. Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) can be propagated by cuttings or by seed. I start cuttings using a powder rooting hormone>>>”Green Light Rooting Hormone”__Home Depot , gardening stores. 8. I don’t know where you’re located, but even if I did it’s impossible to give you a definitely answer why monarchs aren’t visiting your garden. Perhaps most famously, milkweed species serve as the host plant for the monarch butterfly. Like all members of the milkweed family, balloon plant is one of the best plants for attracting monarch butterflies. Something was eating the each of the leaves to where there wasn’t much of the leaves left. Interestingly the tuberosa and swamp that I bought spring 2013 has not bloomed. We put up our first bat house and encourage our native birds. Monarch Promise Milkweed features showy fragrant orange flat-top cup-shaped flowers with red overtones at the ends of the stems from mid summer to early fall, which emerge from distinctive dark red flower buds. I took several cuttings from my in-ground plants before I cut them back for the winter and rooted them. Insert cutting into prepared soil and firm wit your fingers. Congrats! I have been raising Monarchs for 5 years now and have discovered that a great way to prevent the wild Milkweed leaves from wilting too soon, I keep the plants watered on a regular basis. Also, you would have to separate and space the plants out at some point. Adding sand and/or vermiculite to the mix could also increase your success rate for milkweed cuttings. It was about 4 inches long and full of small leaves, most of which I left intact as I was using it in a flower arrangement for greens. Keep cuttings in a light shady area. The stems should be placed in sand, vermiculite, or potting soil that is kept continuously moist. 4. My milkweed wilts quickly (within an hour). It is probably too late to do a stem cutting now, but does that work for this variety of milkweed? The stems and leav… Anyway please send me some monarchs! (Tallahassee, Florida). When I first started raising Monarchs, I … Mix in perlite or coarse sand to allow more air to reach the newly forming roots. Tropical milkweed is a non-native most commonly sold in nurseries. I raise Monarchs and am having a terrible time with milkweek immediately wilting. For the following varieties (and others not listed) we suggest using the traditional cloning method detailed below: 1. 3. I use the leaves instead of the stalks. I filled a coffee scoop with water, submerged the stem ends of two leaves and covered the top of the scoop with masking tape. Can you cut the rest of the stalk into 4″ cuttings (though there won’t be any leaves)? My best advice is to improve your garden while you are waiting, so they won’t want to leave when they come back…good luck! I have also had this problem sometimes with the milkweed. time of day? Btw, someone mentioned layering. After cutting a hole in the lid I close the container. Oh Happy Day! Some insects such as monarch butterflies have evolved a resistance to the poison and can safely consume the plants. Regrow milkweed for monarchs: A citizen science study Nathan Haan and Douglas Landis, Michigan State University, Department of Entomology - May 15, 2020 If you have a patch of milkweed and some time, you can help study how to best conserve monarch butterflies. You might consider a protective fence to stop small critters like rabbits from eating your seedlings. Mix in perlite or coarse sand to allow more air to reach the newly forming roots. I was so depressed to become so overjoyed! Take small cuttings (at least 3 sets of leaves) to midsize cuttings (up to 2 feet) cuttings. I am going to cut some of the stems with the largest pods and out them in water and let the pods finish ripening. Cutting down milkweed could benefit monarch butterflies: study A monarch butterfly perches on milkweed at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in … I probably have. Planting milkweed is the most effective way to help because it is the only plant that sustains a monarch through each of its life stages. ), which are the sole food source for monarch caterpillars, have also experienced a decline throughout the breeding range of this butterfly. I find starting common milkweed by seed is extremely easy and it grows very fast. Soaring from Mexico into the United States and Canada, monarch butterflies are searching for one thing--milkweed plants. It worked great and the cats ate every bit of the leaf right up to the` tape. With a plastic spray bottle st spray to a mist setting. Have you come to any conclusions?It seems the tropical milkweed isn't quite as finicky. Hi Kristy, you place it in the growing medium right away…I successfully transplanted a couple of ours this spring after I saw new leaf growth. I usually take cuttings in the morning and I've noticed that the sap flows freely from where I make the cut. If you are starting seeds, I recommend starting them early indoors or your plants might not mature and seed. It is also poisonous. This protocol is used by commercial growers/nurseries. The most effective propagation technique in our northern region has been: Any updates on native milkweed propagation by cuttings? 2. Hello Judy, Be sure you have nectaring plants along with mw nearby. It is the easiest milkweed to start from cuttings. How long after treating with the hormone can it be replanted in the ground? Milkweeds in the genus Asclepias provide the only plant material monarch caterpillars can eat. Worried... We found 4 Monarch cats right before a freeze and only 1 milkweed plant left that still had leaves. If your cuttings don't root, all is not lost. Freeze killed all my milkweed. I can’t get milkweed to grow from seed! I had to learn this the hard way, my limit. I have the Gomphocarpus Physocarpus, or Balloon plant Milkweed. Transplanting is an option IF their current spot is contributing to the growing issues. Hi Harry, what color are the flowers? If there is no milkweed, there will be no monarchs. Sometimes I do something right and it doesn't wilt. Click here for additional information. Nonmigrating Monarch butterflies in Hawaii and Arizona have lesser-than-average levels of OE infection, notes Glassberg, pointing out that some Monarchs overwinter and sustain themselves on evergreen milkweeds like Fringed twinevine and Pineneedle milkweed. 5. Monarch larvae feed exclusively on milkweed plants of the genera Asclepias and Ampelamus. Root overwintering plants anytime between January and March. When digging up smaller plants to move be sure to get the tap root. If you’re rooting tropical mw, you can do all those things. The steps are short and easy to understand. Hi Byron and Jamison, our swamp looks good so far and I will post an update on this within the next month. I will say I had some decent luck with winter sowing – I’ve got tuberosa blooming and healthy swamp (no blooms). How long do you think cuttings have to be to work? (with growth hormone and soil). . Asclepias incarnata can be easily divided in spring/fall to multiply your milkweed supply. I usually just try cutting it again and put it immediately in water. Your website has been the most informative I have found about raising Monarchs and the plants that support them. Place cuttings in holes and secure soil around them. I did take a cutting of Gomphocarpus fruticosus a few days ago, and will be sure to update that page with the results: I will look for your results later on in the season. I have 10 common milkweed plants, had over 100 seed pods this year, but no monarchs. I put it in a plastic container with a lid. After they have eaten all the leaves off I put the stems in a glass with water. Fill the container with water so the oasis is saturated. Swamp milkweed doesn’t spread through rhizomes and is easier to transplant. More than 100 species of this herbaceous perennial are native to the U.S. and Canada. 3. Pinch off all but the top two pairs of leaves from your cuttings so that water doesn’t evaporate through the leaves…transpiration. Put the milkweed cutting through the hole into the oasis. 6. I’m hoping to change that so gardeners and monarch enthusiasts have more options to grow milkweed. I moved them outside to my hot, steamy but shaded potting bench intending to give them one last change and stick them in soil. I love fall planting because it puts your garden way ahead of schedule for next season. Simply click here to return to Butterfly Questions. If I move the plants with eggs to a cage and indoors we seem to do fine. Later, I go back and have roots on the stems. Rinse off the cuttings thoroughly under a faucet. Hi Dave, non-native tropical milkweed is by far the easiest milkweed to propagate. My milkweed has lasted for 2 or 3 days using this method. Sounds like it would be a great way to enlarge the milkweed, although I find it springs up in the most unexpected places! How? Our cuttings experiments have been limited to water propagation in cups and with clone buckets, which have not worked for native milkweed. Other than curassavica and tuberosa, most milkweed species don’t root so easy unless you’re in a greenhouse environment. As every gardener knows, cutting off milkweed stem above ground simply causes it to regenerate from the roots. I placed the seeds in a damp paper towel for a few days until they had just started germinating and then planted them. Join in and write your own page! Keep posting. Take a cutting that has between 3-5 leaf nodes (or is about 4″ long). This is a common problem for butterfly gardeners in those regions. That should give you some good ideas: I live in south GA on the coast. They are ready to plant. Summer is a prime time to take native milkweed cuttings for a few compelling reasons: Here are some milkweed varieties we will attempt to propagate with stem cuttings, but really, you can try this with any variety if you have herbaceous stems available: Tuberosa is one of the few varieties that can be propagated in both soil and water. And now, lo and behold…4 or 5 out of six have rooted! Thank you for posting this Perry! I have tuberosa that is growing from seeds. Do you do this for other species? Ways to provide milkweed for monarch caterpillars: potted plants or cuttings Inside each enclosure, a supply of fresh milkweed must always be provided for the hungry, growing monarch cats. Tropical milkweed is most easily propagated through stem cuttings in water or soil: http://monarchbutterflygarden.net/grow-from-cuttings/. Milkweed is the sole host plant to the monarch butterfly's caterpillar, but keeping milkweed as part of our landscape is important to more than just monarch butterflies. Common milkweed plants grow to about 2 to 4 feet in height, with a thin, vertical growth habit. I have milkweed but not a monarch to be seen in my part of Atlanta. Insert chopstick/pencil in soil to make holes for placing cuttings. With a pencil punch a hole in the growth medium (potting soil). We’re using potting mix and rooting hormone. Help! I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong or sometimes right. It's easy to do. I saw a crassavica stem that had been knocked over and buried. Donna. Put the milkweed cutting through the hole into the oasis. Having enough trouble just keeping my more mature plants alive. I am not sure why it does this....age of the plant? I use a lot of cuttings for my cats. Our problem stemmed from too many Monarch eggs, too many caterpillars and the not enough to eat. I tried buying eggs or caterpillars from several sites but nobody had any. Stop deadheading in late summer if you want decorative seed pods on the plants in fall and early winter. 3. I think she’s referring to caterpillars. Can’t wait to see your results Tony, great information here. 4. I knew I had to make every leaf count. It is easy to propagate from cuttings. — but seeing my beautiful orange monarchs later emerge is a good enough trade-off! Plant native milkweed cuttings in an 80/20 mix of perlite to peat moss, which is a more traditional mix for starting stem cuttings than starting them in soil. Hi Teresa, I have only tried rooting it in water, and the cuttings rotted. Mature butterfly weed can be moved in spring/fall (when it’s cooler) if you dig deep and get most of the tap root. Know your limit. Find several options and customer reviews here: 9. prevent milkweed from wilting by: Susie I use the floral oasis from flower shops. We’ve raised over 15 butterflies and now have about 15 new eggs. this is my first season rooting native cuttings so I will report more info as I get my results. Perhaps it could give you an idea of what the issue might be? It may restart itself. Having enough milkweed was a BIG problem. 2. Adding sand and/or vermiculite to the mix could also increase your success rate for milkweed cuttings. With a knife scrape a several inch area at the bottom area of the stem. I dug up some wild butterfly weed 3 weeks ago, I dug deep and found that one looked healthy for over a week but the other had just “died”. Use a sharp hand pruner to take cuttings. Starting our cuttings today from Ascelpias incarnata. I rear my butterflies inside and have to take cuttings of the host plant to put in the rearing cage. a few days ago I found a healthy new start growing up between the”dead” plants stalks. Had some success with winter sowing but would love to get results from cuttings for fall planting! by Vanessa We bought one group of plants that had been sprayed with pesticide so that the aphids were non-existent (look for aphids when buying is my new theory). Don’t be too hasty in condemming a dead looking MW transplant. Create a beautiful butterfly garden with milkweed. As such, milkweed is critical for the survival of monarchs. I have butterfly weed-lots of it in my garden. Unfortunately, we have not had much success with native milkweed cuttings. 7. I used a growth hormone on all of them. I pat it partially dry and let the air take care of the rest. But I kept mine watered and they are still green now. Please keep me posted on your results too! Tony, I took some Incarnata cuttings because I was trying to train some new seedlings into branching out. I have also transplanted some very young antelope horn sprouts that are doing well. Yes, some people cover their plants so they can grow to maturity. I just purchased my first milk weed plant @ a nursery today but don’t know what kind it is, its about 3 ft. tall and blooming . My grandson who is 4 and I have been growing caterpillars since spring, caging a few on plants in gallon pots. Do I have to build something to cover the plants so they can grow tall enough to accommodate all the catapillars ? Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) Are you just using a regular, all-purpose potting soil? 1a. To start cuttings, cut the stems underwater, then coat the bottom of the stem with a strong rooting hormone. We’ve attempted to root other native milkweeds in water, but the stems have always rotted. Thanks for all the info here. I definitely wish you all the best with the cuttings – but until I actually get some monarchs I will cheer you on from the sidelines. I now have a lot of milkweed but it is leggy and doesn’t send up more shoots from the base. You’d have to experiment for more answers on the native varieties. I hope to sell plants from seeds as a fundraiser at my children’s school in Spring 2015. About half are working. The flowers are excellent for cutting. But say you have a milkweed stalk with no leaves at all, or a really long one, with only two leaves at the top. Hi Teresa, I would let them ripen outdoors…our plants are still outside in Minnesota and just collected some seeds today. It is Oct. 2, 2010. congrats Helen, it’s always fun when ‘accidents’ yield great results. Sheila here, Why would you not welcome “up shoots”? Milkweed for Monarchs Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on the leaves of milkweed, the only host plant for this iconic butterfly species. Filed Under: Butterfly Garden Ideas, Milkweed Garden Ideas, Milkweed Propagation, Minnesota Garden Ideas, Plant Propagation, Starting A Garden Tagged With: milkweed cuttings, native milkweed. I would suggest joining a facebook group to see what specific methods gardeners are utilizing in your region. I must have the tuberosa variety of milkweed because I can root it in water. Keep cuttings in an area that receives light, but minimal direct sunlight. I have oasis, or green floral foam, in a small storage container such as a rubbermaid "take along". I have a bag that is almost a week old and going strong. Karen says:Sorry I'm so late answering this. Then I place the stems into the oasis that has been soaked in water. Hi Judy, you can plant them at any time, but consider waiting until it cools down in late summer/early fall if you’re experiencing hot summer weather. It’s now growing in richer soil with compost amendment. Join in and write your own page! I was able to get the tuberosa to start rooting in water (like the curassavica) but did not have luck with the rest outdoors. I plan to take cuttings tomorrow and will do the potting soil & then the water also , this is my first time to plant milk weed. I am at a loss because I have always had really nice MW with many butterflies. I stuck the tops into a glass of water and placed it on my kitchen counter for a month. 1. 2. I cut my tropical down to 6″. Here at Monarchs-And-Milkweed.com we offer what you need to grow Monarch butterflies: (1) Monarch eggs and/or larvae (caterpillars), (2) milkweed plants for the caterpillars to feed on, and (3) easy to use, clean, and store Popup mesh cages. I am going to retry using your steps and will edit this article over the off-season. Milkweed typically emerges from the ground the first week in May. How tall does it need to be to put in the ground? I noticed that some small tropical milkweed plants I ordered in the mail came with some stems that bent down and must have touched soil nearby, because they were putting out roots. • Female monarchs usually lay their eggs only on milkweed plants so that the larvae will have an immediate food source when they hatch from the egg. I accidently rooted an accidental broken off a small plant cutting of Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) in water. My cuttings last at least 2 days this way. An alternative idea is to place cuttings in 2 liter soda bottles to give each cutting optimal growing conditions in their own mini-greenhouse. However, since this is a native-only experiment, I just had to include it! I like the Swan plant, too. Hi. Tried many times with zero luck. . 1. Hi Sheila, we try to discuss every type of possible propagation so you can decide what options best fit your needs. All the leaves fell off and they all looked dead or dying. Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is a native herbaceous perennial whose main virtue is its appeal to butterfliesespecially the monarch, which deposits its eggs on the milkweed. Has anyone tried to reproduce tropical milkweed by layering? The long, oblong leaves are light green and grow to about 8 inches long. Tropical milkweed (A. curassavica), butterfly weed (A. tuberosa), cuttings can be rooted in water. Great way to get more Milkweed. What can I do to feed these two babies? Use organic peat or all-purpose potting soil in pots. It’s always the best feeling when you think a garden experiment fails, but later you discover it just needed more time. 4. How? By the second year, you should have another nice patch, by the third year, great huge plants once again. 10. Dip the scraped area in rooting hormone powder. Hi Ed, I’m going to assume you live in Florida or California? I throw it out and get more is one of the stem several but. 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