Monarch adults and larvae have bold orange, yellow, white, and black patterns, coloration which warns potential predators that they contain poisonous chemicals. Monarchs get their poisonous chemicals from the milkweed plants they eat as larvae. He identified 13 species of Asclepias milkweeds that grow in Virginia, and classified their suitability as Monarch host plants. Unfortunately, few varieties of milkweed are available in local garden centers; these include Asclepias tuberosa butterfly weed and Asclepias incarnata swamp milkweed , both of which were cited by Dr.
WATCH RELATED VIDEO: How to Plant Milkweed for Monarchs from Seed or Starter PlantsContent:
- Milkweed Must-haves for Monarchs
- Monarchs Need Your Help
- Florida Native Milkweed | Tips for Growing Your Monarch Friendly Garden
- Wrong document context!
- When, where and how to plant milkweed to save the monarch butterfly
- Ten Reasons to Garden with Swamp Milkweed in Wet Soils
- Milkweed Mania
- How To Plant A Butterfly Garden That Doesn't Become A Milkweed Garden
Milkweed Must-haves for Monarchs
This account will deal with storage, treatment and planting of milkweeds seeds and will briefly touch on propagation from cuttings. Milkweed seeds can be planted in prepared beds outdoors or started indoors in flats. We recommend the latter approach since germination rates are generally higher indoors and it is easier to establish your milkweeds with transplanted seedlings that are well-rooted and therefore more resistant to weather extremes and pests.
Germinating, Growing and Transplanting Milkweed seedlings can be started indoors in a greenhouse or under artificial lighting and then transplanted outdoors after the average date of last frost. If seeds are started indoors, allow weeks growing time before transplanting. Plastic flats can be used to start the seeds. Fill the flats with a soil mix suitable for seedlings most potting mixes are , thoroughly soak the soil, and let the excess water drain.
Gently mist the soil surface with water to dampen the additional soil mix that has been added. In an effort to improve germination rates, many gardeners place the seeds in packets made from paper towels and soak them in warm water for 24 hours prior to planting.
This method seems to work especially well for seeds of species that require stratification. After the seeds are sown in the flats, cover each flat with a clear plastic cover or a plastic bag to keep the seeds from drying out while germinating. Then, place the flat under grow lights, in a warm sunny window, or in a greenhouse. After the seeds have germinated, remove the plastic covering from the flats.
Once the seedlings have emerged, the soil should be kept moist by watering the flat from the bottom. You can water from the bottom by placing the flat in a sink or a larger flat filled with 2 inches of water until moisture appears on the soil surface. Thinning see below can reduce damping off. The plants are ready to be transplanted when they are about inches in height. Before transplanting, acclimate the plants to outdoor conditions for a few days by placing them in a sheltered location during the day and then bringing them indoors at night.
The seedlings should be planted inches apart depending on the species check the back of your seed packets for information. Newly transplanted plants should be watered frequently. Add mulch around the seedlings soon after planting. The mulch holds in the moisture and minimizes the growth of competing weeds.
The seedlings should be fertilized times during the growing season if using water-soluble fertilizer or once a season if you utilize a granulated time-release formulation. Thinning When small seeds are sown, they are often mixed with sand or fine soil to have better seed distribution.
However, this method does not completely prevent crowding of seedlings and thinning will be necessary. Thinning provides more space between plants, increasing the amount of light reaching the plants and the air circulation around them. Seedlings may need to be thinned several times beginning weeks after germination. Without proper thinning, you will end up with weaker plants.
When to Plant Milkweed seeds can be sown outdoors after the danger of frost has passed. Refer to the seed packets for special instructions on sowing the seeds. Keep in mind that seeds have a range of soil temperatures at which they will germinate. Also, remember that under sunny conditions the soil temperatures can be much higher in the daytime than the ambient air temperatures you experience. Plant the seeds early since those planted late in the season may not germinate because of high temperatures.
In addition, new seedlings from late plantings can "dry off" before they are even noticed. Asclepias incarnata swamp milkweed and A. However, other species such as A. Germination outdoors depends on soil moisture and temperature and could take several weeks if conditions are not ideal. Preparation of the Seedbed If you are gardening for the first time, it is wise to consult with your local county extension agent to see if your soil needs to be enhanced amended with soil additives before planting the seeds.
A smooth, clump-free, weeded soil bed will virtually guarantee a successful start for germination and seedling establishment. If vegetation exists in the future habitat location, it can be removed by using a tiller or by hoeing the area. To reduce clumping, do not work the soil when it is wet. The soil should be worked to a fine consistency to ensure good soil to seed contact. The seedbed should be kept moist until germination. As the seedlings become established, it is important to avoid watering too much or too little.
A light watering each day until roots are well established days , preferably in the morning, should be sufficient. Growing Milkweeds from Cuttings All milkweeds are perennials and some can be grown from cuttings. Cuttings provide a way producing new plants in a relatively short time and it avoids some of the difficulties of starting plants from seeds.
To start cuttings, cut the stems underwater, then coat the bottom of the stem with a strong rooting hormone. The stems should be placed in sand, vermiculite, or potting soil that is kept continuously moist. Cuttings can usually be transplanted in weeks. Soil Types If you have a choice, light soils are better than those with heavy clay. Well-drained soils are generally best but there are some species, e. Where to Plant Most milkweed species evolved in open areas where they were exposed to full sunlight and they will do best if they are planted in the sunniest areas of your gardens.
A few species, such as A. Harvest and Storage of Milkweed Seeds The timing of the collection of milkweed pods or seeds is critical. Mature pods are those that are within a day or two of opening. Seeds well into the process of browning and hardening will germinate when planted the next season. Pale or white seeds should be not collected. Freshly collected pods dry should be dried in an open area with good air circulation. Once the pods are thoroughly dry, the seeds can be separated from the coma, or silk-like ballooning material, by hand.
Separation of seeds can also be accomplished by stripping the seeds and coma from the pods into a paper bag. Shake the contents of the bag vigorously to separate the seeds from the coma and then cut a small hole in a corner of the bottom of the bag and shake out the seeds. Store dried seeds in a cool, dry place protected from mice and insects - a plastic bag reclosable or other container in the refrigerator works well.
Stratification Seeds of most temperate plants need to be stratified, which is a fancy way of saying that they need cold treatment. To stratify seeds, place them in cold, moist potting soil sterilized soil is best but is not required in a dark place for several weeks or months. Since most people prefer not to place potting soil in their refrigerators, an alternative is to place the seeds between moist paper towels in a plastic bag. This procedure works well, in part because there are fewer fungi and bacteria available to attack the seeds.
Without stratification, the percentage of seeds that germinate is usually low. Seeds from the tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica and other tropical milkweed species do not require this treatment. Heat Shocking If you have the time, cold treatment is the way to go but if you are short on time, heat shocking the seeds is another though typically less reliable method to increase germination rates of milkweed seeds.
To heat shock the seeds, soak them in hot F tap water for 12 hours, then drain and repeat three 3 times. Place the seeds in a plastic bag wrapped in a warm, damp paper towel for 24 hours. Scarification Even after stratification, seeds of many plant species will not germinate. In these cases, the seed coats appear to require action by physical or chemical agents to break down or abrade the seed coat. Scarification may be required for some milkweeds e.
Introduction Milkweeds can be propagated from seeds, cuttings, and, in some cases, from root divisions. Propagation Growing Milkweeds.
Monarchs Need Your Help
With a record amount of rainfall this summer, Swamp Milkweed caught my attention because this versatile plant likes wetter soils and even clay soils. Monarch caterpillar and Swamp Milkweed, late summer. Photo Will Zacker. Native milkweed is a perennial, which means it is a plant that returns and grows the next year where it was planted. Pollinators rely on dependable feeding habitats year after year.
Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on butterfly milkweed plants. The eggs hatch about four days after they are laid.
Florida Native Milkweed | Tips for Growing Your Monarch Friendly Garden
Scroll down for some tips on raising milkweed from seed. In the video below, we learn about the Monarch-Milkweed Initiative at the St. Marks Refuge, and explore the habitats where we find native milkweeds. Also be sure to check out our other articles on raising monarch butterflies. Gail Fishman points to a little green spot in the pine mulch. Sandhills milkweed Asclepias humistrata sprout. Seeing the little sprout, I get anxious- have I waited too long to plant my milkweed seeds?
Wrong document context!
A Monarch butterfly feeding on nectar from a milkweed. Never judge a plant by its name. This tough native of North American fields, wetlands, and prairies is the sole host plant for the struggling monarch butterfly. And you might see a monarch butterfly perched on a flower or find one of its caterpillars grazing the leaves.
When, where and how to plant milkweed to save the monarch butterfly
A Monarch Waystation simply is a garden that has both milkweed and nectar plants and just as you can grow these plants in the ground, you can also do it in containers that you keep on your deck, balcony, front steps or elsewhere around your home. All you need is pots, soil, plants and water. Which pot? Larger pots also provide more protection from cold, enabling perennials to overwinter more successfully. Choose pots that have good drainage.
Ten Reasons to Garden with Swamp Milkweed in Wet Soils
Common milkweed Asclepias syriaca is a perennial plant that can be found in a wide range of habitats including roadsides, fields, and gardens. It is native to North America and reproduces primarily from seed. Once it is established it can spread from its rhizomatous root system. Common milkweed stems are covered with opposite, oval shaped leaves. The pink, clustered flowers are incredibly fragrant and are attractive to a wide range of pollinators, from bees to butterflies. The flowers eventually give way to bumpy seed pods that split open when mature and release windborne seeds with silky hairs. All parts of the plant contain white, latexy sap that is filled with toxic cardiac glycosides.
Create a garden that will favor monarchs and other pollinators. Plant winter flowering plants as nectar sources for monarchs. Also have a water.
I was 5 years old and I marveled at the incredible orange and black colors and the fine border of spotting around the edge of the wings. Monarchs, like all insects have the remarkable ability to rebound in numbers quickly. A Monarch also has several generations a summer so their potential to increase is more than exponential. What you can do to help is plant some milkweed in your own yard, patio or even deck on a high-rise!
How To Plant A Butterfly Garden That Doesn't Become A Milkweed GardenRELATED VIDEO: Growing Milkweed from Seed
When it comes to saving the monarch butterfly, many people know that milkweed is essential. These breathtaking orange and black butterflies travel up to 3, miles on its journey across North America. Their populations have seen an alarming drop in recent years. Across the region falling east of the Rocky Mountains, the monarch population has dropped approximately 80 percent since the mids. In the West, population decline since the s is as high asMonarchs contribute to a healthy ecosystem as pollinators and an important food source to birds, small animals and other insects.
To help raise awareness about declining monarch butterfly populations and reverse the impact created by monarch habitat loss, we worked with artist Nancy Blum to create two Art Packs for the genus Asclepius : Milkweed Asclepias syriaca and Butterfly Weed Asclepias tuberosa.
The monarch, known for its bold orange coloring, rules as king of the butterflies. However, that reign is in danger of coming to a tragic end. In , the population of monarch butterflies in North America reached records of one billion. In the past 20 years that number has plummeted 90 percent according to the U. Fish and Wildlife Service. Loss of habitat and increased use of pesticides and herbicides are largely to blame.
We've been busy watching many different butterflies this summer in our garden. It seems they love this heat and humidity. And there's been enough water for them to thrive. Of course, this time of year the Monarch butterflies become more noticeable.