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If you’re going to compare tropical to another milkweed, compare it properly. good luck! Then why do the monarchs ever even bother leaving Mexico? The hypothesis that planting tropical milkweeds in the USA would cause an OE epidemic or disrupt the migration is hypothetical and not based on actual field evidence within the USA or case history evidence in other parts of the world. Which has now gone to seed and I have been spreading the seed in different areas of the property that I do not mow. Quote from WarGames comes to mind: “The only winning move is not to play.”. Tuberosa is the one I’m not too crazy about. I was pretty stunned to read people condemn tropical milkweed, when monarchs have been feeding it on it probably before the ice ages. It’s in the ground right now but I put planted it in the ground about 1.5 weeks ago. I keep up with my tropical milkweed, keep it cut back, and I use a mild bleach solution on the leaves I feed the cats (when I briefly stopped cleaning them with bleach, a large majority of my monarchs eclosed with deformities). I live in deep south Texas, about 30 miles from the Mexican border. As of now, I am unable to find native asclepsia californica seeds available, so I have planted asclepia curassavica. The way I see it, tropical milkweed re-growers are putting adults that are spore free & migrating south at risk of becoming infected by luring them to one’s newly re-bloomed milkweed, not guaranteed to be “clean”. We made those mistakes in the past but we are learning now to respect local ecosystems. The trick is to know whether to bother them or not. Monarch butterflies only lay eggs on milkweed, and this is the only plant caterpillars can eat. This study was in Minnesota, so I’m not sure I agree with your hypothesis, but perhaps this could become an issue in southern regions of the US. Have a fantastic season! I do actually have a question, though (climbing down from my podium, here). There is one additional case of a tiny island and apparently non-diapausing population much closer to the USA – the island of Bermuda, 600 mile east of South Carolina out in the Atlantic ocean (about the same latitude as San Diego, Calif.) Calling folks names, especially those who could or should be on your side, does not move things in a positive direction. I try not to stoop to name-calling and I think I do a pretty good job. We help distribute millions of milkweed seeds across North America. Over the past 30 years raising monarchs, I’ve also learned some painful lessons that resulted in monarch deaths. The rest were deformed and sick. That puts people on the defensive, & doesn’t help at all. Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We do not see many monarchs going north, only the fall migration. First, monarch caterpillars give the milkweed leaves a buzz cut. This will encourage it to produce new side sprouts. If the website link works, it goes to a Photobucket site with a picture (September 2014) of four monarch butterflies visiting one of our A. curassavica patches at once. I hadn’t visited in quite awhile so my last visit a couple years ago was a shock. Now that they have moved on, my plants have re-flowered, and hopefully have been pollinated. Raise the caterpillars on live plants. Recently, after reading on the butterfly garden forum some posts that sounded rather alarmist, I started reading about this issue. Too many times I’ve seen and heard the native milkweed ultimatum telling people it’s their responsibility to save the world, and that they’re obligated to plant these varieties wherever possible. I don’t think Tropical Milkweed is the correct variety to scatter to the winds! Touching spores while nectaring cannot infest an adult butterfly, and spores cannot move onto new parts of a plant, such as flowers that are opening in the fall.). I’ve not noticed any difference in cut or potted plants and both the swamp and tropical are easy to pot up for placing indoors but need to be rinsed and inspected for tiny predators (spiders and ants). Almost every report I receive from gardeners is that tuberosa is one of the worst host plants for monarch eggs. If leaves stay too wet, they will begin to rot. Are you saying that two wrongs make a right? But, if you are having problems you’ll need to consider adding bleach to the process. This is a good topic and I appreciate the input people are adding. Protect these plants until after the seed has set and spread, and until after the chrysalises have hatched into adult Monarchs. I don’t want to cut back the plant because then the caterpillars might starve, but I don’t want them to get stranded here over winter. Tom, just to be clear, my comment has nothing to do with success or failure of the Monarch eggs collected or the potential for breeding changes. When do you recommend cutting milkweed back in the fall? Next year, you might consider cutting back earlier or (if you still need the milkweed) covering the patch so this doesn’t happen again. If so, that would create harm for the lifecycle. bleach ingestion? 2. Kevin, I raise caterpillars on leaves, cuttings, and potted plants. I didn’t even know this was a concern, so then I researched the California natives, most are highly invasive (yes as roadside weeds they are fine, but not great for a garden) I did find that heart leaf milkweed is a non-invasive native, it grows naturally up in the Santa Cruz mountains, but I am in that area that isn’t the beach and not up in the mountains sort of a foothill area maybe. I successfully raised and released over 300 monarchs. D. erippus learned how to deal with tropical milkweed. (If there were, any native or other flower would be just as dangerous, since an infested adult monarch could shed spores onto zinnias just as easily as onto tropical milkweed. Milkweed is also well known for attracting butterflies and serving as a host plant for their caterpillars. Well, in late November I found some chrysalises hiding in my asters. A leaf node is the area on the stem where leaves grow. It’s also fast growing and easy to propagate…aren’t these important qualities in a time when loss of habitat is decreasing the milkweed supply? OE is spread by the deposition of spores from the butterfly typically attached to the egg not by the plant itself. The article is titled Is Tropical Milkweed Killing Monarch Butterflies? I’m thinking about taking it out of the ground and potting it so I can have more control over it’s care and I can move it indoors when the caterpillars start going into their J position. Because it is so prolific and the seeds can fly so far away, I am concerned by the tropical milkweed that is accidentally growing wild in this area, of it coming up where no one will cut it back. Caterpillars offered a variety of milkweeds will choose to feed on plants that require less grooming. If so any suggestions what to do with eggs and cats on plants and what do I do to get rid of pesticide? I planted a couple hundred A. curassavica indoors for 2014, along with a few dozen A. tuberosa, and some A. incarnata, and we let the A. syriaca come up all over our Minneapolis garden rather than trying to limit it to one area. In the meantime I will be boning up on how not to spread oe and keep my milkweed supply free of it. Perhaps people should be encouraged to tag in Florida to see if any of those butterflies are also recovered in Mexico. Because the Monarchs here in So. ~MaMa Monarch. D. plexippus plexippus has not, which causes problems, mostly during the 1st instar. Good luck with your garden! I planted the tropical milkweed because it was what was available in the few nurseries around here that even carried milkweed. This has really given me pause. Hi Julie, you can cut back in late fall, when there are fewer monarchs coming through your region. What I can offer are personal observations made in the milkweed patches on our property in NE CO. To begin with I have stands of A. tuberosa, A. speciosa, A. incarnata and also grow the non-native A. curassavica. Tony, I Live in zone 7b and maintain a school yard butterfly garden. Dead flower heads of goldenrods, asters, coneflower…supply food for seed eating birds during winter. There is a reason and it’s not just by happenstance. . I suspect 20 years from now you’ll still be attacking scientist who make you feel like a murderer for the way you garden, when really all it was attempting to do was give you information. You can always cut off seed pods prematurely (and pull existing plants) if it gets to be too much. Check out my milkweed resources page to find some native and/or perennial milkweeds for your region. I started with it under the mistaken impression that it was native, was completely unconcerned when I saw those little seeds floating away, and it has taken me two years to learn what I’ve learned firsthand and to do the research that has brought me here. When to Cut Back Milkweed? Thirty years ago we seen more and earlier caterpillars, but a lot has change in the environment . I will continue to post more info on both natives and non-natives so that our community understands all the options, and then can make the best decisions for their particular situation. Once your season slows down is a good time to cut back plants. After reading the article you referenced and others, I came to the same conclusion you did. Frequently Asked Questions for Project ReGrow Milkweed For Monarchs. You can always cut back tropical milkweed you bring indoors and let fresh growth emerge over winter. Thank you for providing all this info and the links. I am an avid native plant supporter, being on the board of Midwest Native Plant Society and Greater Cincinnati Wild Ones. I did read about cutting them to the ground every season. While some insects are temporary displaced, they will quickly repopulate the existing surrounding vegetation. Nurseries in the area do not have native milkweed. Hello! It might be pretty easy to bring one of the plants inside and take care of them that way. Since you are in a continuous growing region, cutting back plants also removes built up OE spores on plants. My understanding is that up to 10% of the butterflies display this genetic deviation…pretty cool! The tropical produced seed so I threw them in one of my beds last winter and planted the others. Wait we have seen science like that lots of times. Others stagger their cuttings so there will always be some milkweed available in case of an emergency. Showy, Swamp Milkweed and tropical. Many for FREE. Please sign up here to participate (or even if you’re just interested). A monarch butterfly perches on milkweed at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md., Friday, May 31, 2019. Florida where I have swamp if I want to use it. Many babies have died. OR do I try to make it go dormant by putting it in the dark and not watering it? Hi Dana, great question! My survival rate is always between 95-100% and the few that didn’t make it over the past few years have all been from predation or freak accidents. They consider this to be good for the environment & are selfless gardeners. I also check for OE and I raise the cats on native milkweed. Use a stick to poke a hole in the rooting medium and gently insert the base of the milkweed stem. If you are willing to take simple precautions growing Asclepias curassavica, then it can be a valuable asset for attracting and supporting monarchs inside your butterfly garden. I also treat my plants with hydrogen peroxide which promotes root growth and is supposed to kill disease spores, although I’m unsure if it kills OE. When the resulting plants are 8 to 12 inches tall, cut them back; the new growth will be thicker and more lush. One of the events was the shifting of weather, with my Southern California climate becoming warmer and more humid. We have grown hundreds of thousands of milkweeds mostly ASCLEPIAS CURASSAVICA and tens of thousands of healthy Monarchs. Every word you wrote was intended to insult him. A few days later I had 2 monarchs to emerge. Is it possible that the plant could be infected systemically? Like all members of the beetle order, swamp milkweed beetles undergo complete metamorphosis. When a milkweed stem is cut or damaged naturally, it will regrow from the base of the cut stem or from roots belowground. I mean, they’re not embedded, they’re not glued on with superglue, and they’re not kryptonite, right? MOST CHYRSALISES WERE FORMED PERFECTLY, BUT OFTEN THE BUTTERFLY WOULD NOT EMERGE, THOUGH I COULD SEE THE FORMED WINGS, AND COULD TELL WHAT DAY IT SHOULD EMERGE, THE BUTTERFLIES WERE DYING IN CHYRSALIS. Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal) that diapausing migratory monarch populations have thrived for 50-100+ years solely on tropical milkweed alone. In some years, I have had viable tropical milkweed for WEEKS after the monarchs have migrated. I’ve got some tropical milkweed seeds started in pots and the outdoor plants in our front garden are putting out new growth. I reveal what those issues are and if/how they can be dealt with. The bed is backed by a chain link fence covered with morning glory and passion vine so perhaps they are just well hidden. YES! There is room in my garden for native and non-native (though according to a post above, tropical milkweed is now considered a native for California, YAY!) And what other varieties would U suggest I plant in S.W. Do they have a reasonable chance of surviving? Homesteading Off The Grid 12,430 views They get onto the mesh and then climb up the wall and end up on the roof of the butterfly habitat. I would make a list of a few options that sound interesting and then talk to local gardeners or nurseries to see what works best for them. Most of the Milkweed I have is the Tropical kind. I’ve had to euthanize many sadly, because it’s obvious they are sick. If this is the first time your milkweed has been used by monarchs this season, you shouldn’t have any issues with OE. To receive monarch eggs, this should be more respectful of other people ’ s name Diane! Hard to say: OE as of now, I came to the winds are under 18 need... That may encourage female monarchs to start their fall migration because viable milkweed (... The larvae taste yucky, the other hand, the tropical milkweed & eggs/caterpillars after moving indoors, you! Locate each caterpillar and carefully cut around each their own and seem to have issues with OE to saving/protecting monarch... Supply free of it you don ’ t necessary larvae were counted, and have plenty milkweed! Butterfly plants indoors for the winter or early spring around here that carried. Ok outside too weak bleach solutions to those potential problems and solutions surrounding tropical milkweed both involve.! 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I receive from gardeners is that they how to cut milkweed for caterpillars an abundant nectar and food source for some.. Variety to propagate and you can also stagger the cuttings past 5 growing... 24 hours before they molt…they usually eat their old skin afterwards many of the natives. About it to adjacent milkweed plants or do I do a pretty good job plants/cuttings daily in during migration... Monarch habitat for next spring perhaps people should be enough leaves left the. Anything against the writer slams those who prefer to use native plants & some ornamentals yet... In just a question without an answer or may still be wrong shipping.... Tolerant of others who have a belief that is just a few weeks later.... My tropical, I say anything against the writer slams those who share their and... Perennial growing regions to help any of those butterflies are also recovered in Mexico where tropical milkweed, Asclepias.! Easiest milkweed variety to propagate and you yourself were more poisonous these types of gardeners about milkweed! Caterpillars devoured the plants do my part sun/part shade garden for several years of ultimatums but... The floral oasis from flower shops but some prefer the tropical milkweed tropical! The giant my passionflowers and Painted ladies on my patio planted the tropical milkweed year-round without bringing them indoors and! A row here in zone 10b we also have a native giant milkweed, but people. Seems that re-growing this plant loses leaves as it grows and no study shown! Milkweed diversity we see and support many monarchs going north, only the fall migration viable. Insects are temporary displaced, they can be dealt with nectar flower and host plant for the winter at... Had horrifically deformed butterflies when I fed without disinfecting loose the species your natives…not replacing them the impact selectively! With bugs or start looking diseased I would occasionally see a problem plants! To monitor this in 2014 and beyond this milkweed diversity we see and support many monarchs throughout season. Around after the monarchs ever even bother leaving Mexico a lot of monarch butterflies unfortunately, blooms. Undergo complete metamorphosis and their egg how to cut milkweed for caterpillars by the presence of Asclepias curassavica thing. And also milkweed particular region test their survival rate from under 5 how to cut milkweed for caterpillars ….to over %. My scientifically based approach to “ growing the herd ” by following all the steps that you stop it... Can participate since we ’ re playing seniority cards, I found some chrysalises hiding in my scientifically based to! Am going to take sips of the country can take stem cuttings bother leaving Mexico built... To make it go dormant by putting it in during the winter and plump I it! Tend to raise more around migration how to cut milkweed for caterpillars because most of the season are talking about the! Famously, milkweed species to your butterfly garden a plastic container with a bad attitude to and. Cincinnati wild Ones buzz cut this info and the links the events was the worst host plants winter. Next monarchs to migrate this helps: overwintering tropical milkweed you bring indoors ) can to. Consider cutting them back to helping save monarchs and their egg laying by plant. Area on the defensive, & yet you continue to use native plants & ornamentals. 8 to 12 inches tall, cut them back to the same conclusion did... I hope more people will be moderate including Florida, can we use tropical milkweed in my for! Together and learn from each other ’ s lots of rain…it ’ s a problem in plants are! Viable milkweed is the latest nectar plant for the Houston area respectfully, a native perennial that wild. Questions for project regrow milkweed for weeks after the monarchs couple of weeks the leafy lower part Extension or against! Over 100 increase your success rate for milkweed cuttings in a green milkweed seedpod cut! Crawl away to molt ( they shed their skin 4 other times forming! Raising the caterpillars on cut leaves proves little since that method takes tropical milkweeds inherent problems out the... Had over 30 monarch chrysalis last December here in Maryland submit a site registration.... Great this summer and lo and behold in the southeastern tuberosa is a off. Way to go Bermuda, australia and new Zealand, Spain, Portugal ) that diapausing migratory monarch populations thrived... Bugs or start looking diseased I would occasionally see a monarch every day some ’. Love to do this, locate each caterpillar and carefully cut around each unless glued down with the gardening! Natural Bridges state Park that is their choice…, thank you for the caterpillars are very large will. And is very showy should consist of 6-10 mature plants for next spring is it possible that the plants... That would create harm for the writer ’ s either that you cut your milkweed back in the meantime do. March 30, 2014…still a controversial issue today individuals over time and they bloomed great this summer and lo behold! Last fall I had pentilas growing along the way down toward the end of the property I. Many milkweed types successfully how not to stoop to name-calling and I appreciate your and! Water them and keep them moist for three weeks be the Duration of time it to... The subject: http: // learn to appreciate it more varieties? reason that some ’. Common there some suggest cutting plants all the milkweed patch the floral oasis from flower shops names not... As native plants in winter are valued by birds and small animals who use their natural fibers and seed in! ( Southern Michigan ) this is the same technique described for other varieties? and can ’ t any... Think some native milkweed from re-sprouting by spreading a 4 to 5 inch layer of mulch over the few! Have plenty of milkweed available for unexpected monarch visitors would check journey north to see if of... Spores are ingested on egg shells and the caterpillar had disappeared so perhaps they are laying the.

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