There were very few monarchs coming to my garden. Hi. 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. Later, I go back and have roots on the stems. good luck! Have you come to any conclusions?It seems the tropical milkweed isn't quite as finicky. by Vanessa Join in and write your own page! Tropical milkweed is most easily propagated through stem cuttings in water or soil: Hi Harry, what color are the flowers? I have also had this problem sometimes with the milkweed. Thanks for all the info here. I use the floral oasis from flower shops. Thanks Bernice. If you’re rooting tropical mw, you can do all those things. The stems should be placed in sand, vermiculite, or potting soil that is kept continuously moist. How long after treating with the hormone can it be replanted in the ground? (Tallahassee, Florida). Find several options and customer reviews here: 9. 6. Adding sand and/or vermiculite to the mix could also increase your success rate for milkweed cuttings. Tropical milkweed (A. curassavica), butterfly weed (A. tuberosa), cuttings can be rooted in water. Keep cuttings in a light shady area. I used a growth hormone on all of them. (with growth hormone and soil). My milkweed has lasted for 2 or 3 days using this method. Click here for additional information. 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. Since then I have not caterpillars. Create a beautiful butterfly garden with milkweed. Steps for Taking Native Milkweed Cuttings. I tried buying eggs or caterpillars from several sites but nobody had any. Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) responds well to mowing. I’ve read somewhere to clip the top leaves to create more stalks but have been unsuccessful. 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. With a pencil punch a hole in the growth medium (potting soil). 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 . 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. 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. Milkweeds can be grown from seeds or vegetatively from root cuttings or rhizomes. Your best chance for cloning is with Asclepias tuberosa. I put it in a plastic container with a lid. The most effective propagation technique in our northern region has been: Any updates on native milkweed propagation by cuttings? I noticed that the plants who had several caterpillars are the best -probably because of their droppings. Help! Tony, I took some Incarnata cuttings because I was trying to train some new seedlings into branching out. But of course I forgot about them for another couple weeks. quick note: the only native species I have had success rooting in water is a. tuberosa. If you are starting seeds, I recommend starting them early indoors or your plants might not mature and seed. I’m hoping to change that so gardeners and monarch enthusiasts have more options to grow milkweed. 1. Use a sharp hand pruner to take cuttings. Milkweed Pruning Guide: Do I Deadhead Milkweed Plants First cutting was lush and ready early in June. Any suggestions on preventing wilting? Learn more about adding the balloon plant milkweed species to your garden in this article. We put up our first bat house and encourage our native birds. Your website has been the most informative I have found about raising Monarchs and the plants that support them. Keep posting. I absolutely love it. 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). Another good source for fall planting is late summer plants sales (local and online). Milkweed is also well known for attracting butterflies and serving as a host plant for their caterpillars. For the following varieties (and others not listed) we suggest using the traditional cloning method detailed below: 1. It is Oct. 2, 2010. Great way to get more Milkweed. Push the rooting medium firmly around the stem to provide support. It’s now growing in richer soil with compost amendment. time of day? It has red and yellow blooms. Filed Under: Butterfly Garden Ideas, Milkweed Garden Ideas, Milkweed Propagation, Minnesota Garden Ideas, Plant Propagation, Starting A Garden Tagged With: milkweed cuttings, native milkweed. And it’s flowering too. I started this plant indoors from seed last year. I took several cuttings from my in-ground plants before I cut them back for the winter and rooted them. Can you cut the rest of the stalk into 4″ cuttings (though there won’t be any leaves)? Interestingly the tuberosa and swamp that I bought spring 2013 has not bloomed. If it wilts the second time I throw it out and get more. Spray soil and leaves of the cutting. 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 hope to sell plants from seeds as a fundraiser at my children’s school in Spring 2015. Milkweed for Monarchs Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on the leaves of milkweed, the only host plant for this iconic butterfly species. I look forward to hearing about your cuttings too…good luck! 4. I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong or sometimes right. Thanks again for this helpful comment! With a knife scrape a several inch area at the bottom area of the stem. Can’t wait to see your results Tony, great information here. After cutting a hole in the lid I close the container. I find starting common milkweed by seed is extremely easy and it grows very fast. I pick a nice harvest and rinse it in water and spread it out on paper towels. Insert chopstick/pencil in soil to make holes for placing cuttings. When digging up smaller plants to move be sure to get the tap root. 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. Some species grow exclusively in specific regions while others will thrive in jus… Only found 3-4 caterpillars before the plants were cut. Cuttings can usually be transplanted in 6-10 weeks. Hi Dave, non-native tropical milkweed is by far the easiest milkweed to propagate. is valued primarily because its nectar attracts butterflies and because its leaves are the sole food source for monarch butterfly caterpillars. Dip the scraped area in rooting hormone powder. 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! Best, jim. This protocol is used by commercial growers/nurseries. Anyway please send me some monarchs! Mix in perlite or coarse sand to allow more air to reach the newly forming roots. Hi Byron and Jamison, our swamp looks good so far and I will post an update on this within the next month. 2. New plants sprouted from every node. Rinse off the cuttings thoroughly under a faucet. Insert chopstick/pencil in soil to make holes for placing cuttings. Oh Happy Day! Worried... We found 4 Monarch cats right before a freeze and only 1 milkweed plant left that still had leaves. I raise Monarchs and am having a terrible time with milkweek immediately wilting. Here’s more info on starting tropical milkweed seeds and cuttings: Ttony, Can you tell me an easy way to find the answer that you give to a question we pose? We’ve attempted to root other native milkweeds in water, but the stems have always rotted. 10. Without it, they cannot complete their life cycle and their populations decline. We will share methods to propagate by seed on another page. The flowers are excellent for cutting. Don’t be too hasty in condemming a dead looking MW transplant. Karen says:Sorry I'm so late answering this. Stop deadheading in late summer if you want decorative seed pods on the plants in fall and early winter. 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. These observations led us to consider a new approach to managing milkweed for monarchs. Do you do this for other species? Scrape the bottom third of the cutting with a sharp knife. 1. Cutting down milkweed could benefit monarch butterflies: study A monarch butterfly perches on milkweed at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in … I am now experimenting on how long it takes for them to go bad. Sounds like it would be a great way to enlarge the milkweed, although I find it springs up in the most unexpected places! 5. Like all members of the milkweed family, balloon plant is one of the best plants for attracting monarch butterflies. Monarch larvae feed exclusively on milkweed plants of the genera Asclepias and Ampelamus. My rose garden is full of common milkweed and it was never there before! . 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 . It worked great and the cats ate every bit of the leaf right up to the` tape. It’s always the best feeling when you think a garden experiment fails, but later you discover it just needed more time. Pinch off all but the top two pairs of leaves from your cuttings so that water doesn’t evaporate through the leaves…transpiration. What a useful post with steps for taking Native Milkweed cuttings! The only bad thing is our community sprays for mosquitos and that has had a deadly affect on hatching eggs. I had to buy more and more plants because the caterpillars ate SO much! Join in and write your own page! If your cuttings don't root, all is not lost. Our problem stemmed from too many Monarch eggs, too many caterpillars and the not enough to eat. I put it in a plastic container with a lid. I probably have. Avoid direct sunlight while the milkweed is forming … Use a sharp pruner to take milkweed cuttings at a 45° angle for optimal water absorption. I use the leaves instead of the stalks. Having enough milkweed was a BIG problem. An alternative idea is to place cuttings in 2 liter soda bottles to give each cutting optimal growing conditions in their own mini-greenhouse. We actually overwinter a couple plants indoors and then take stem cuttings to start new plants in spring. Perhaps it could give you an idea of what the issue might be? Rooting cuttings: Lightly scrape the bottom of the milkweed stem before coating it with a rooting hormone. How long do you think cuttings have to be to work? this is my first season rooting native cuttings so I will report more info as I get my results. I also experienced the stems and leaves wilting very quickly on some, but not others. 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. I had to learn this the hard way, my limit. Water soil thoroughly. The photos show cuttings with a couple of leaves on them, and it states to cut all but two leaves. 8. It is probably too late to do a stem cutting now, but does that work for this variety of milkweed? Hi Bill, I’m in zone 5 and we grow it annually. Unfortunately, we have not had much success with native milkweed cuttings. 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. Thank you for posting this Perry! — but seeing my beautiful orange monarchs later emerge is a good enough trade-off! My cuttings last at least 2 days this way. Milkweeds (Asclepias) get their name from the sticky white sap that oozes from the leaves when they are damaged. 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. By the second year, you should have another nice patch, by the third year, great huge plants once again. I usually just try cutting it again and put it immediately in water. 2. A Monarch butterfly eats nectar from a swamp milkweed on the shore of Rock Lake in Pequot Lakes, Minn., Sunday, July 22, 2012. Please keep me posted on your results too! Cut a hole in the lid and replace it. Btw, someone mentioned layering. Simply click here to return to. Creating a butterfly garden is a process, and once the butterflies finally find your garden they really do keep coming back! We’ve raised and released over 15 Monarchs here in Minneapolis. 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”. I have a bag that is almost a week old and going strong. About half are working. Adding sand and/or vermiculite to the mix could also increase your success rate for milkweed cuttings. Caring for cuttings: Place milkweed cuttings in a shady area outside. Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) 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. It is also poisonous. 5. 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. I am having luck with common wm. First, my potting soil had fungus gnats, and then I switched to a soilless mix. After they have eaten all the leaves off I put the stems in a glass with water. I moved them outside to my hot, steamy but shaded potting bench intending to give them one last change and stick them in soil. Transplanting is an option IF their current spot is contributing to the growing issues. Something was eating the each of the leaves to where there wasn’t much of the leaves left. But I kept mine watered and they are still green now. The reason I am doing this is because there isn’t a lot of info available on native milkweed propagation. Other than curassavica and tuberosa, most milkweed species don’t root so easy unless you’re in a greenhouse environment. 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. 4. Had some success with winter sowing but would love to get results from cuttings for fall planting! Milkweed typically emerges from the ground the first week in May. I knew I had to make every leaf count. I cut a small section of the stalk with maybe 4 or 5 leaves attached. My milkweed wilts quickly (within an hour). As such, milkweed is critical for the survival of monarchs. Thank you. Sheila here, Why would you not welcome “up shoots”? I left out a couple of your steps including the scraping, using a powder root hormone, and spraying daily since we have been getting a fair amount of rain. And now, lo and behold…4 or 5 out of six have rooted! I live in Indiana if this helps anyone. 1. The steps are short and easy to understand. I have 10 common milkweed plants, had over 100 seed pods this year, but no monarchs. I have also transplanted some very young antelope horn sprouts that are doing well. A quick hand-washing is easier for me. I guess I could wear gloves, but I’ve never liked to garden in gloves. I rear my butterflies inside and have to take cuttings of the host plant to put in the rearing cage. Please help. I will say I had some decent luck with winter sowing – I’ve got tuberosa blooming and healthy swamp (no blooms). Yes! We had a terribly hot, dry summer this year and a lot of the wild Milkweed along the roadsides wilted and died. When I’m cutting milkweed to bring inside for our caterpillars, my hands can sometimes end up orange — yuck! 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. Jim, sorry to hear this. I learned this working at a florist. Congrats! Tropical milkweed is a non-native most commonly sold in nurseries. Seedlings we soaked in water for two days, then planted, are growing. 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. Thank you. If you opt for potting soil as your growing medium, be sure to mix in plenty of perlite…. 200 seeds or more now, but since so few people know about this plant, it os a fun one to share seeds from. If there is no milkweed, there will be no monarchs. 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. Tried many times with zero luck. 3. I was able to get the tuberosa to start rooting in water (like the curassavica) but did not have luck with the rest outdoors. As every gardener knows, cutting off milkweed stem above ground simply causes it to regenerate from the roots. 1a. I misread that, too. 2. Once I take a cutting I immediately put it in water and take it inside. • 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 now have a lot of milkweed but it is leggy and doesn’t send up more shoots from the base. 4. I usually take cuttings in the morning and I've noticed that the sap flows freely from where I make the cut. Hello Judy, Be sure you have nectaring plants along with mw nearby. I am going to retry using your steps and will edit this article over the off-season. Hi Judy, water propagation works well for tropical milkweed. When the caterpillars hatch, they feed on the leaves of milkweed. All the leaves fell off and they all looked dead or dying. 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. 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. It is the easiest milkweed to start from cuttings. That should give you some good ideas: I live in south GA on the coast. What can I do to feed these two babies? personally I would not do this for common milkweed, since it does spread so easily on its own. I cut my tropical down to 6″. 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. 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. 3. I would suggest joining a facebook group to see what specific methods gardeners are utilizing in your region. 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. Then I place the stems into the oasis that has been soaked in water. I have tuberosa that is growing from seeds. Fill the container with water so the oasis is saturated. I accidently rooted an accidental broken off a small plant cutting of Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) in water. I did discover, though, if you soak the ground and your plants good with water, and keep them watered regularly, the stem/leaves stay a lot longer. We’ve raised over 15 butterflies and now have about 15 new eggs. I think this would work with wild also. Cuttings should be made from healthy plants. But say you have a milkweed stalk with no leaves at all, or a really long one, with only two leaves at the top. 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. Mix in perlite or coarse sand to allow more air to reach the newly forming roots. Put the milkweed cutting through the hole into the oasis. Still have 5 chrysalis and many caterpillars left to raise. If I move the plants with eggs to a cage and indoors we seem to do fine. To start cuttings, cut the stems underwater, then coat the bottom of the stem with a strong rooting hormone. The long, oblong leaves are light green and grow to about 8 inches long. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt) Ann Heisenfelt Use organic peat or all-purpose potting soil in pots. ), which are the sole food source for monarch caterpillars, have also experienced a decline throughout the breeding range of this butterfly. It is easy to propagate from cuttings. My balloon plant (G. physocarpus)and swan milkweed (G.fruticosus) cuttings rotted in water, although others have reported success with these varieties. New common milkweed stems emerge after being cut back in mid-June. Take small cuttings (at least 3 sets of leaves) to midsize cuttings (up to 2 feet) cuttings. I filled a coffee scoop with water, submerged the stem ends of two leaves and covered the top of the scoop with masking tape. Are you just using a regular, all-purpose potting soil? I promise to send lots of monarchs in 5-6 weeks! 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. Soaring from Mexico into the United States and Canada, monarch butterflies are searching for one thing--milkweed plants. Milkweeds (Asclepias spp. Use organic peat or all-purpose potting soil in pots. We also offer information on how to raise Monarchs in your home or in the classroom. I must have the tuberosa variety of milkweed because I can root it in water. We may try some in our porch this spring, which should provide better cuttings quality and better growing conditions. 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. Planting milkweed is a one of the many ways you can help the monarch butterfly. Swamp milkweed doesn’t spread through rhizomes and is easier to transplant. Put the milkweed cutting through the hole into the oasis. When I first started raising Monarchs, I … Propagate milkweed from cuttings! And this popular plant hosts many more besides monarchs. Insert cutting into prepared soil and firm wit your fingers. I have butterfly weed-lots of it in my garden. Having enough trouble just keeping my more mature plants alive. Hi Teresa, I would let them ripen outdoors…our plants are still outside in Minnesota and just collected some seeds today. Bryon & Jamison (6). Root overwintering plants anytime between January and March. Common milkweed plants grow to about 2 to 4 feet in height, with a thin, vertical growth habit. It also produces a chemical that makes monarchs toxic and bitter-tasting to some of their predators. The stems and leav… Take a cutting that has between 3-5 leaf nodes (or is about 4″ long). The best performer here is the tropical which was direct sown and is going gangbusters. Then dip stem in the powder root Hormone, shake off excess power.