Cultivating milkweed
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Cullman, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,240

    Question Cultivating milkweed

    One of my neighbors has a small patch of milkweed in his pasture. My bees enjoy the bloom in late August here. It seems like I read somewhere that this stuff was poison to cows ( I thought he might eradicate them), so last year, or year before, I stole some seed heads, planted them & got nothing.
    Last month, I "bartered" him a jar of honey for permission to dig up some of the actual plants.
    the plant seemes to spring from nodes on the roots, but I dug some up, & planted them in my field.
    the plants have not died (yet), but the local grass seems to be out running them.
    I am inclined to put a card board weed blocker Around them & mulch them, but with what?
    My Mother used hay around her grapes years ago, & killed them.
    I used wood chips in my garden, & destroyed this years corn crop
    I only have these few plants , so I am asking for advice, lest I learn from my mistakes
    I would hate to have to admit that I cant seem to grow weeds ...

    Thanks ... CE
    Started summer of 2013, just another new guy, tinkering with bees.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    4,878

    Default Re: Cultivating milkweed

    If you do a google search on "cultivating milkweed" you will get lots of info both on growing from seed and from cuttings. There is a lady in town that has milkweed plants neatly bordering her walkway; too orderly for mother nature to have planted it!

    It seems the seeds need some help to break dormancy otherwise germination rate is very low.
    Frank

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
    Posts
    1,923

    Default Re: Cultivating milkweed

    google will be your friend
    there is a reserancge in milkweed farming.. Once used to fill WWII life jackets, its being looked at to fill jackets to keep ya warm... even to the point it has been worn on the top of Everest...sustainable grown vegan down if you will
    and there is a big "save the monarch butterfly" push as well so the is no lack of information on growing it
    edidt frank beat me

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    2,774

    Default Re: Cultivating milkweed

    there are a couple of different native milkweeds that grow here in VA. One has very wide oval leaves. The other one is a short perennial with narrow leaves and orange flowers. From your description, I think you have the first one called Common Milkweed. It does spread by runners and can be difficult to transplant, but once it has roots in one place you won't be able to get rid of it. So just give it a year or two. Next year, you should have multiple sprigs popping up in the area, sometimes 3 feet away from the mother plant.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,930

    Default Re: Cultivating milkweed

    Dang it Ruthie, you just brought back 50 year old nightmares about trying to get rid of milkweed when I was a child. Actually, I was googling it yesterday. Some varieties are nice looking. I may try to plant some myself.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Fayette, Missouri, usa
    Posts
    253

    Default Re: Cultivating milkweed

    I collected some "common milkweed" seed last fall and put in my refer for the winter. I will plant into small trays and then transplant out into my fields.
    9 hives - 10 years (also had 7 hives in early 1970's) T as needed - zone 6

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    231

    Default

    I have good luck germinating asclepis Tuberosa (butterfly milkweed) in mini green house milk jugs left outdoors to overwinter. This gives the freeze period it needs to break dormancy, they also are born outdoors in the early spring because of the mini greenhouse they are in, so they don't shock out as bad to weather. Transplantings to grow out into solo cups untill they can be planted in the ground. Water once or twice in the next few weeks or so and then they are on their own.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Central PA, USA
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: Cultivating milkweed

    I have tried a couple brands of seeds, no luck with any & I am known as having a green thumb. Any suggestions for seed suppliers for Common and other milkweed?

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    2,774

    Default Re: Cultivating milkweed

    Quote Originally Posted by beesRus View Post
    I have tried a couple brands of seeds, no luck with any & I am known as having a green thumb. Any suggestions for seed suppliers for Common and other milkweed?
    Common milkweed needs to be in the ground by Oct/Nov of the year prior so the freezing and thawing action of the ground will allow it to germinate. I usually get mine off ebay. I have bought common from this seller for a couple of years and she seems to have a little collection. https://www.ebay.com/sch/Perennial-S...utterfly_maven

    If you are looking for the elusive balloon milkweed (tropical), I offer that on my site. http://www.hamptonroadsbeekeepers.org/store/product/10

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Central PA, USA
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: Cultivating milkweed

    Thank you, Ruthie, for both the dates to plant & the suggested supplier! Seems there was not enough info on the seed packets.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Ka'u Hawaii
    Posts
    272

    Default Re: Cultivating milkweed

    Quote Originally Posted by ruthiesbees View Post
    If you are looking for the elusive balloon milkweed (tropical), I offer that on my site. http://www.hamptonroadsbeekeepers.org/store/product/10
    Ha ha. learned by viewing the picture that that balloon weed (never would have thought of the name) that we have around here is a tropical milkweed. Now I know. There is a field with this on my place that is very popular with the monarch butterflies.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Central PA, USA
    Posts
    32

    Embarrassed Re: Cultivating milkweed

    Quote Originally Posted by Gino45 View Post
    Ha ha. learned by viewing the picture that that balloon weed ....
    Ha ha I learned that I think some of the seeds that I thought did not grew DID, and I was pulling the plants out as a weed! The shape of the leaves was not what I expected. Love learning in nature.

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