Butterfly weed is a member of the milkweed family and, by some reports, the only Asclepias that does consistently well in south Florida. Milkweed plants are the only plant that monarch caterpillars eat. This promotes fresh plant growth and could get you an extra generation of monarchs on the fresh new leaves. The plant is also attractive, both to humans and monarchs, providing flowers and lush green foliage throughout the growing season – and that’s a problem. Start preparing a few milkweed plants 1-2 weeks before you want monarch eggs; Water thoroughly every few days at the base of your plant(s) to keep leaves hydrated.Water more or less depending on your local precip; Swamp Milkweed and Tropical Milkweed are two of your best options because they grow well in pots and are easy to transplant. By cutting this species of milkweed back to less than 6-inches at the end of the season (and maybe once more during winter), you are helping keep OE at bay and assisting the monarch population. Michael says. Milkweed seeds need to be stratified to help them germinate. Find native milkweed seeds near you. But you don’t have to do that if you cut them back. Prune back the milkweed plants by half when they are approximately 6 inches tall to encourage full and bushy growth. This stands for folks living north of Lake Okeechobee. Make sure there are no monarch eggs on the foliage before you prune. Step 2 Deadhead the plant every couple of weeks in summer. They tend to do well when the plants are stressed, and with the unusual climactic conditions that we are experiencing throughout the US, they have been seen more often. However, it grows throughout the United States, so be sure to specify Florida native ecotype from a Florida grower. Please use the resources below to see which milkweed seed is needed in your region. Milkweed plants survive the winter in cold regions by going dormant. Birds such as Baltimore orioles can also strip fibers for nest material. If you do have tropical milkweed in your garden, it is recommended to cut the plant back in the winter months to encourage monarchs to move on to their natural overwintering sites. I live in north central florida, when should tropical milkweed be cut back? However a few weeks later, they’ve already grown back significantly. Mix the fertilizer with water according to package recommendations for the size of your planting area. This will let the plant continue to concentrate on flowering instead of producing seeds. A good rule of thumb is to cut back your Tropical milkweed around Thanksgiving and then once more during the winter season. Cut-At mid season after the blooms have faded, cut some common plants back by about a third. Leaving stalks also gives you a marker so you know where your milkweed patch is. While it can be challenging to find Tropical milkweed in the Fall when Monarchs are moving through Texas, it’s easy to cut back your spring plants to encourage new growth for migrating visitors. So I suppose others may suggest pulling and starting anew each year. In fall, adding a 3- to 4-inch-deep layer of mulch helps insulate the soil. Consider adding some native milkweed species to your butterfly garden. Of course, I’m totally open to anything that will help our Monarchs (including yanking out all the tropical) and have closely followed the debate about tropical. Milkweed is a beautiful pink and white plant that attracts even more beautiful butterflies to your home! In spring, pull back the mulch to give space to the new growth. So let’s spread milkweed and cut back on the myths. For collection instructions, see our Seed Collecting and Donating page. You can trim it back to encourage a bushier plant. The flower colors are red and orange borne in clusters at the top of the plant. Common milkweed plants grow to about 2 to 4 feet in height, with a thin, vertical growth habit. It’s natural for it to lose its leaves and stems as it is a herbaceous perennial. We live in South Florida. Plants brought in from out of state may not perform to your expectations. The aphids may or may not return. I think maybe I'll cut some back and stake up a few. Should I cut the plants back now or just leave them as they are. Sadly, because of today’s heavy use of herbicides, there is a shortage of safe habitats for milkweed and, therefore, a shortage of food for monarch caterpillars. (Read the Spanish translation) Here are some resources to help you find the best milkweed for your area: Planting the Right Milkweed in your Region The plant can be grown as an annual flower or as a perennial. Hi Pat, now would be a good time if your activity has slowed. September 20 at 2:12 pm. Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is a native herbaceous perennial whose main virtue is its appeal to butterflies—especially the monarch, which deposits its eggs on the milkweed. Step 3 Trim the entire plant back to less than 4 feet high in late fall. The blog was inspired by Milkweed misconceptions from Monarch Joint Venture. Modified from R. G. Bailey, Ecoregions of the United States, USDA Forest Service, revised 1994. Butterfly Milkweed is easiest to establish as a young plant but due to its large taproot, mature plants of Butterfly Milkweed are not easy to move. Karen says: Dorothy, You can you go ahead and cut back the scarlet milkweed plants which will result in a bushier, shorter plant with more leaves . Re-cut the milkweed every few weeks as leaves re-sprout. Joepyeweed, I'd be happy to send you any leaves I have. A Milkweed family member, another common name is Balloon Plant. Re-seeding is common but the species is minimally invasive. Tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) is a non-native milkweed that has exploded in popularity in response to the demand for milkweed. Since milkweed serves as a larval host plant for butterflies, you can expect to see hungry caterpillars munching on the leaves, flowers and stems, occasionally striping plants clean. These seeds will be grown and plants will be sold or donated back to their ecoregions. This will encourage it to produce new side sprouts. How to Cut Back Butterfly Milkweed By ... Worthington City Schools in Ohio suggests trimming 50 percent of the milkweed back by half at this time, too. Cutting back the milkweed will also help to eliminate OE spores that may be present on the plant. Plants are also easy to grow from seed but can take three years before the first flowers appear. Asclepias syriaca, commonly called common milkweed, butterfly flower, silkweed, silky swallow-wort, and Virginia silkweed, is a species of flowering plant.It is in the genus Asclepias, the milkweeds.This species is native to southern Canada and of much of the conterminous eastern U.S., east of the Rocky Mountains, excluding the drier parts of the prairies. Milkweed seed planted in fall is naturally stratified. I decided to cut back all of the milkweed to get rid of the pets and/or diseases that may have been on the milkweed. Staking is a bit of a job, though, since some of these stalks are 5-6 ft tall and located on quite a steep slope. Because milkweed is a host plant for the caterpillars of many butterflies, it may end up looking raggedy from defoliation. Mike Quinn advised me to cut my tropical milkweed back twice a year to help prevent OE, so that’s what I do. As with most Milkweeds, it prefers full sun and drier soil. Milkweed seedlings can be started indoors in a greenhouse or under artificial lighting and then transplanted outdoors after the average date of last frost. Due to a lack of milky sap that is common to all other milkweeds, Butterfly Milkweed can be used as a cut flower. Amazingly enough, Monarchs can produce four generations during one summer. That may encourage female monarchs to migrate and prevent a deadly build-up of OE spores on the plants. While not required, this helps keep the ground from freezing and thawing and disrupting the roots. After overwintering in the oyamel forests of central Mexico the first three generations have life spans of two to six weeks and keep moving north. Hairy Balls in full glory. It is simple to propagate, allowing growers to rapidly produce the plant for quick sale. Full text 1 2 next » Beware: its sap is poisonous! Tropical milkweed doesn’t die back in warm-winter climates and so it is recommended to cut it back to about 4″ tall in December to clear the plant of any possible pathogens. Cut back any tropical milkweed to the ground at Thanksgiving. You can also stagger the cuttings so you have milkweed available if you need it. When the caterpillars hatch, they feed on the leaves of milkweed. Unlike many non  native plants it dose not seem to  show  invasive traits nor dose Calotropis gigantea. 

I continue to talk with and encouraging research organizations and universities to conduct new study's of  Florida's migrating and resident  monarch butterflies, including queen and soldiers and come to a consensus agreement on … Tropical milkweed might pose fewer problems in the northern monarch breeding range because it dies back naturally when it freezes. Stratification is when a seed is moistened, chilled or frozen and thawed, breaking down germination inhibitors on the seed coat, such as waxes, hormones, oils or heavy coats. Here are some recommended species from Dr. Jaret Daniels: Aquatic Milkweed (Asclepias perennis) Stems should be cut back to the ground after flowering to stimulate new growth in spring. Like so many others, I’ve tried and totally failed at growing the “native” milkweed. Native to South Africa, this plant is an invasive in tropical climates, but in my zone 6-7 area, winter cold keep it in check. Leave some plants uncut if you want to harvest milkweed seeds in fall. The plants grow to two- to four-feet-tall and flower from spring until fall. If you don't want to lose too much height, you can cut the plant back in early summer by about 50 percent. I’m in north FL. They are about 4 feet tall. A lot of the milkweed started to become infested with aphids, weird rust looking spots, and spider mites. Leave at least 6 inches of stalks to provide habitat for insects throughout the winter. Best offers for your Garden - https://amzn.to/2InnD0w-----How to Cut Back Butterfly Milkweed. Butterfly milkweed (A. tuberosa) is the most available of the native species and is suitable for use in many parts of Florida. Native milkweed species are the best plants to grow, because they die back to the ground in the fall and don’t begin growing again until the spring. It can grow up to 6 feet in Florida with leathery pale green leaves and white-lavender flowers. South Florida is more complicated and already has a non-migratory population and winter breeding. Cut back milkweed stalks in the late fall or winter, after they have produced seed pods and these seeds have had time to mature. Tony Gomez says. August 19 at 7:24 am. the milkweed should come back just fine in the spring. Giant Milkweed will produce fruit (similar to a large pod) that contains seeds in white fibers. “The general recommendation for tropical milkweed in Florida is to cut it to the ground in late Oct/early Nov to help prevent winter breeding and disruption of the migration. https://www.thegazette.com/.../when-is-it-time-to-cut-down-milkweed-20200808 This encourages the new leaves to sprout and eventually these plants will feed more monarch caterpillars! If seeds are started indoors, allow 4-8 weeks growing time before transplanting. 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