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. South Florida is more complicated and already has a non-migratory population and winter breeding. August 19 at 7:24 am. The regrowth will be clean. Re-seeding is common but the species is minimally invasive. This will encourage it to produce new side sprouts. Michael says. If seeds are started indoors, allow 4-8 weeks growing time before transplanting. Cutting back the milkweed will also help to eliminate OE spores that may be present on the plant. You can also stagger the cuttings so you have milkweed available if you need it. Best offers for your Garden - https://amzn.to/2InnD0w-----How to Cut Back Butterfly Milkweed. 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 . Joepyeweed, I'd be happy to send you any leaves I have. Milkweed plants are the only plant that monarch caterpillars eat. Cut back milkweed stalks in the late fall or winter, after they have produced seed pods and these seeds have had time to mature. Milkweed is a beautiful pink and white plant that attracts even more beautiful butterflies to your home! 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. They are about 4 feet tall. It’s natural for it to lose its leaves and stems as it is a herbaceous perennial. Stems should be cut back to the ground after flowering to stimulate new growth in spring. 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. Milkweed seedlings can be started indoors in a greenhouse or under artificial lighting and then transplanted outdoors after the average date of last frost. He's waiting for more published science about tropical milkweed in Florida before he rips out the plant at Leu, but for now, he and the staff there are cutting it back in fall. Re-cut the milkweed every few weeks as leaves re-sprout. So I suppose others may suggest pulling and starting anew each year. 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. 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. Cut back any tropical milkweed to the ground at Thanksgiving. This stands for folks living north of Lake Okeechobee. Leave some plants uncut if you want to harvest milkweed seeds in fall. Leave at least 6 inches of stalks to provide habitat for insects throughout the winter. Tropical milkweed might pose fewer problems in the northern monarch breeding range because it dies back naturally when it freezes. Mix the fertilizer with water according to package recommendations for the size of your planting area. (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 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. Tony Gomez says. I live in north central florida, when should tropical milkweed be cut back? September 20 at 2:12 pm. It can grow up to 6 feet in Florida with leathery pale green leaves and white-lavender flowers. In spring, pull back the mulch to give space to the new growth. I think maybe I'll cut some back and stake up a few. Milkweed seed planted in fall is naturally stratified. Plants brought in from out of state may not perform to your expectations. 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. Should I cut the plants back now or just leave them as they are. Tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) is a non-native milkweed that has exploded in popularity in response to the demand for milkweed. For collection instructions, see our Seed Collecting and Donating page. 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. 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. Beware: its sap is poisonous! So let’s spread milkweed and cut back on the myths. Plants are also easy to grow from seed but can take three years before the first flowers appear. Plastic flats can be used to start the seeds. A lot of the milkweed started to become infested with aphids, weird rust looking spots, and spider mites. 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. 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. Milkweed seeds need to be stratified to help them germinate. A good rule of thumb is to cut back your Tropical milkweed around Thanksgiving and then once more during the winter season. Like so many others, I’ve tried and totally failed at growing the “native” milkweed. Butterfly weed is a member of the milkweed family and, by some reports, the only Asclepias that does consistently well in south Florida. Amazingly enough, Monarchs can produce four generations during one summer. Leaving stalks also gives you a marker so you know where your milkweed patch is. Because milkweed is a host plant for the caterpillars of many butterflies, it may end up looking raggedy from defoliation. However, it grows throughout the United States, so be sure to specify Florida native ecotype from a Florida grower. Common milkweed plants grow to about 2 to 4 feet in height, with a thin, vertical growth habit. Step 2 Deadhead the plant every couple of weeks in summer. This will let the plant continue to concentrate on flowering instead of producing seeds. A thin, vertical growth habit for collection instructions, see our seed Collecting and Donating.. 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