The next season, I treated all our plants with hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to prevent this issue. Tony, Thank you for all the info. Mick, I wish I had written up instructions as I went but didn't, so I'll tell you in pretty much detail how I did it and hope that you can figure it out from there. But when the card… I also think I have fungus gnats out the wazoo too. There are also 2 panels on top to cover the cage. I do need to figure out how to grow larger quantities of milkweed that are protected from the egg-laying females, so I have "available" plants to provide the later instage cats. They're still just little seedlings now. I did have some bugs on them but had plenty of wintering lady bugs to keep them in check.Michelle, Thanks for the comments guys. I notice that Tony is advising on cutting back tropical milkweed grown indoors. Hi Dan, I would mix one together myself as it’s not a difficult process. Your article would have been more helpful a month ago at least. It’s just been a bizarre summer. From the reports I've been reading, I would not try to overwinter tropical milkweed as it might harbor the protozoan parasite, called OE for short, that can infect the next generation of monarchs. Like you said, the will lay on the Swamp, Common, and Butterfly Weed but not as much as they do on the Tropical. Hi Jennifer, increased OE spores are the result of overused milkweed plants. Place the seeds 1 ⁄ 4 in (0.64 cm) deep in your soil mix. If you are planting tropical milkweed, you can skip the cold-treatment steps. Tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) at first glance seems to be a desirable garden plant given that it is a host plant for the monarch butterfly.Since we know the monarch population is in serious jeopardy, we might assume that tropical milkweed would help to slow the decline. If you rinse any milkweed plant with a strong stream of what 3 – 4 times a week during times when Monarch butterflies are seen often at the Milkweed plants, you can easily rinse off (as in using a strong jet stream) those dormant O.e. Keep your thermostat around 65° F (18.3° C) give or take a few degrees. Take cuttings & hope, try & over-winter, or just find a new source of seeds & start all over? These plants are inside my office grow room combo. Back in Dec. 2011, a milkweed expert printed plans for building a outdoor cage to raise potted milkweed plants. I would definitely plant perennials outdoors now. Glad to find this "chatroom" for into exchange. I still raise some in containers though too to get that personal effect. The last one was taken after they were attached. I was thinking of trying electrical conduit, which I understand is flexible but strong. I am using full spectrum bulbs that simulate natural daylight. The bad news is, my garden will be expanding because EAB killed my large ash tree and I’ve been spending the past couple weeks cutting it down LOTS of sunshine for the back yard now. My dahlia still hasn’t bloomed & it’s up against the house on the south wall! You answered all my questions. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/18/science/monarchs-may-be-loved-to-death.html. Scientific research suggests that its problems, namely its link to the spread of the Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (OE) disease, far out-weigh its… We’ve also sprayed isopropyl alcohol on plant leaves to kill off white flies and spider mites. Texas) should also consider overwintering tropical milkweed in case monarchs make it back before there is enough native milkweed to support them. This is the first year I’ve had it. I’m happy to hear your caterpillars made a full recovery…. When you root stem cuttings from MFV do you keep them in water all winter or transfer them to soil after they root? On another point, should I cut back my mature" tropical" plants in hope they survive the winter ?? I’m afraid since the only one doing halfway decent is the Cinderella, I’ll lose all of them. and would advise you to ask someone with knowledge in that area or to buy a small greenhouse for that purpose. Background: North American monarchs (Danaus plexippus) are well-known for their long-distance migrations; however, some monarchs within the migratory range have adopted a resident lifestyle and breed year-round at sites where tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) is planted in the southern coastal United States. 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. Tony, Thank you for the info. don’t know why but still finding eggs and smaller cats on my plants. I’ve always added a layer of sand on top of the soil in the pots to combat fungus gnats which works great for interrupting their life cycle but the hydrogen peroxide would be much easier and beneficial to the plants as well. I am excited to see how they end up doing. From the reports I've been reading, I would not try to overwinter tropical milkweed as it might harbor the protozoan parasite, called OE for short, that can infect the next generation of monarchs. Make sure there is good air circulation. Thanks Brian. Place 2-3 milkweed seeds into each cup of the tray. I didn't build my cage with the intentions of raising milkweed plants in it. If your intention is to use tropical milkweed for spring monarchs, take stem cuttings earlier in fall or winter. Tony, The hydrogen peroxide misting even got rid of the sowbugs that usually come in as well and no gnats so far great tip on the hydrogen peroxide spray. I was a fool who believed that after our plants were cut back (with no bugs in sight) they would remain pest-free for the winter. Although adult monarch butterflies are generalists, feeding on nectar from a wide range of flowers, their caterpillars are specialists, requiring tender leaves of milkweed plants Cathy- would you tell me more about the butterfly cage you built? Scarlet or Tropical Milkweed has bunches of orange, yellow, and red tubular flowers, and is one of two species … You must really be planning on having a lot of tropical milkweed if you already have 24 pots done "so far". Monarchs have many predators, so it would seem many have adapted to milkweed toxicity levels. PS…the Arizona gardener discovered the mouse eating milkweed with a night vision camera. I’m getting places that say to use cuttings & others that say I’m good with transplantation. I don't see anything wrong with doing that though if you'd want to do that. Warmer temps help create the breeding ground for plant diseases and pests. I used to water once a week, but discovered this was too much water for some plants. Here are some recommended milkweed vendors: Thanks. Cut back foliage before bringing pots inside. If the latter, what size pot should I transfer them to? February and March are cold here but the greenhouse is typically 25-30 degrees warmer than the outside air. I have never even heard of a thrip but man can they do some damage. So, I’m not really sure if these last generation Monarchs for this season will actually participate in the migration, but here’s hoping that 2017 will see an overall increase in Monarchs! Hi Kathy, I only use hydrogen peroxide when overwintering plants. Some might say this is counterintuitive to plant health, but I’d rather deal with dryer conditions than bug infestations. I just had a really rough time. Caption: Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias currassivica) is a popular non-native species and a prolific bloomer. We have released 9 healthy females and 5 healthy males so far! To prevent overly humid conditions where pests can potentially thrive. Gardeners in warmer regions (e.g. I spent 450.00 at the vet after my two cats ate some milkweed that I carelessly left lying on the counter for just a few minutes. Monarch caterpillars are tolerant of these chemicals⁠—in fact, cardenolides are the very compound that protects the monarch from predation. I don’t know if there would be any harmful effects, but I’ll assume it would not be healthy for them to ingest a large quantity of it. Some studies suggest that overwintering puts monarch populations at a higher risk for certain diseases. Once I rinsed them off terrificly, they were fine. When milkweed dies back to the ground each year, or is cut back to the ground, the spores will not be present on the next year's growth to infect the caterpillars. It's a rectangular cage with two panels on each side and one on each end; of course, there are also the top panels that fasten onto the big doors/panels with hooks and eyes. I am intrigued about the entire migration process that these beauties apparently go through. The 3 bulbs I purchased were less than 30 dollars total, and you might not need that many. Overwintering Tropical Milkweed. It is native to the American tropics and has a pantropical distribution as an introduced species.Other common names include bloodflower or blood flower, cotton bush, hierba de la cucaracha, Mexican butterfly weed, redhead, scarlet milkweed, and wild ipecacuanha. If your greenhouse is 25-30 degrees warmer that sounds like a good option. The plants in the laundry room aren't blooming, but the ones in the living room are and they're just in water. I replaced plants as they were stripped then. Hey thank you for sharing this tip. They are coming up like gangbusters. I don't like to have the plants out where the Monarchs can lay eggs on them because that's what the milkweeds in the milkweed patch are for. I think that I am going to shoot for 50 potted plants and then put some out into the yard too.~Angie. Moisture is the accomplice of both plant disease and fungus gnats. The tropical milkweed has been found to be “medicinal” in terms of improving parasite resistance to OE, and as you know, butterflies that are infected tend to prefer the tropical milkweed even more than usual, suggesting that they are medicating their offspring. Use about a cup per gallon of water. Check out these better alternatives to butterfly bush in the garden, Introducing the great golden digger wasp, a colorful pollinator that also hunts foliage-eating insects, How to take Tropical Milkweed Stem Cuttings, Help Monarchs and Other Butterflies by Planting Common Milkweed, Backyard Birds: Orioles Return After Spending Winter in the Tropics, Lay of the Landscape: Tropical Garden Style, Great Design Plant: Asclepias Incarnata for a Butterfly Garden, Great Design Plant: Asclepias Is Attractive to Monarch Butterflies, Bring on the Birds: Natural Habitat Ideas for Gardens of All Sizes, 6 Plants That Beat Butterfly Bush for the Wildlife Draw, Great Golden Digger Wasp: A Beneficial Flower-Visiting Insect, Links for people who want to raise caterpillars, and ID them, Another Caterpillar ID Page: Stinging Caterpillars, Black Swallowtail stuck in the 2nd instar stage. I live in Florida, and the Monarchs are still laying eggs here. Ha, I almost need 2 or 3 butterfly cages to house all of my potted milkweeds now. Not knowing what zone you were in, I should have realized the intent and logic of the cage. The plants get approximately 10 hours of light each day. You can also root directly in soil. … I saw a lot more Monarchs this year than I have in many years, so they saw the Milkweed but got no caterpillars (they probably wouldn’t have done well considering the sparseness of my patches; I planted them in 3 different areas in the ground plus the pots). This keeps dirty water from potentially soiling your floors or creating slip hazards. I don’t have a specific question at the moment, but I have stopped by your site a few times in recent weeks while raising Monarchs in central Florida (Orlando) and releasing them. I used the 2 x 2's to make the 6 rectangular doors/panels and then stapled screen onto each one, both inside and outside. For more information please read our article Tropical Milkweed, a No Grow. Anyone else overwinter Tropical Milkweed?~~Angie. Say – I bought your download book. 2. Caterpillars eating the milkweed ingest the parasite and concentrate it in their bodies. You can do this too! I am happy but was not expecting so many to be viable! I am using the “sick and fungusy” chart currently even though I don’t have an issue. The relative virtues and problems associated with tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica, continue to be a hot topic within the monarch conservation community, but the disparity between the two is becoming more and more clear. But unlike our native milkweed species, the lush green foliage of tropical milkweed will stay up all winter if not killed back by frost – and that is a problem. Plants go through an adjustment period when being moved outdoors and should not be placed in full sun to avoid scorching the leaves. Those Monarchs are such hogs! Maeckle provides an overview of research being done at the University of Georgia by Ph.D. […] Barrie June 11, 2014 at 3:09 pm … We have lots of squirrels in Minnesota, but never seen one near the milkweed. I wanted to make sure I have plenty of milkweed before the Monarchs get here. Best article ever! Having these plants on hand can be a time and cost saver. Brian, I’m seeing one every once in a while but the most I’ve seen is 2 at one time….until I hunted them down with the spray bottle , Tony, What ratio of water to hydrogen peroxide do you use to spray with as I also have had bad infestations of gnats as well in previous years. There wouldn’t be much shade in our yard if it ever went down. until they fly.I wish there was a way to extend the season but freeze gets here in late Nov., so I will look forward to next year. The Spider Plants we’ll have to see if I can get any of them to make it overwinter. I just want to warn anyone with cats that decide to bring milkweed plants indoors. Similarly, annual surveys of the western group overwintering on the California Coast have revealed a nearly 90% decline during the last decade (Jepsen et al., 2010). I just don't what the solution to that is. You can also take stem cuttings to increase your supply. Think of it as a way of encouraging your butterflies to fly on south. I am spraying the leaves every other day and watering when the top layer of soil gets dry. Best practice, for now: cut tropical milkweed back after Thanksgiving. (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 Perhaps you could also try potting some plants and putting them in a harder to access location? My one neighbor said she has to aggressively thin her Milkweed patch as it’s always trying to take over, so I just don’t know what’s going on here. Hi Judi, if you are concerned they won’t make it, you could put some leaf mulch around them right before your first big snow storm. Even if my back could handle moving the ones that don't fit in the cage onto our back porch, we wouldn't have much room to walk. If so, how often do you add it to the watering process? It was never meant to have a heater in it, as it has screen on it. Then I'm ready for the first Monarchs that pass through in April. I overwinter my tropical milkweed, but I cut it way back (it regrows prior to the first freeze). I am the newby in Okla. and I read too much into your post but it was an interesting project. My alternate plan is harvesting some seeds in the fall which I’ve already done, stratifying them in February, then germinating them very early in March for transplanting outside mid April after the frost danger is over. Tony, Could you go over how you overwinter the Mexican Flame Vine plant? Hi Diane, glad you liked the article…yes, turtlehead is a perennial. Luckily, there isn’t all that much that you need to do – though there are a few tips and tricks that you should follow to ensure the perennial growth of healthy plants with an abundance of blooms. Do you know about turtlehead? I also have cuttings and whole plants just sitting in water and they're doing fine. I just wanted to leave a comment that I am happy to say I have helped contribute to the Monarch population this fall with 14 successful Monarch releases…all lovingly cared for and supervised by me since about mid-October! The cage will be rectangular, measuring about 3 feet wide and about 7 feet long when it's put together. You might want to do what I did (only do it right away instead of finding out later on that you should have done it in the first place) and put doors on the doors. What are the potential problems associated with planting tropical milkweeds? If possible, plant native milkweed. Milkweed is a central feature in my garden, and I want to make sure it has everything it needs to come back in the spring. On the other hand, some scientists are in favor of tropical milkweed. But I thought the milkweed was toxic to most critters. Hi Judi, I’m in zone 5 (Minnesota) and our overwintering plants are still outdoors. ;-). If you want full sized plants to start the season, you could try taking fall cuttings outside and planting them in pots over winter. Thanks for all the education from everyone. Out of 20 seeds of the Spider, I got 5 plants & left them in pots so as to bring them inside & not risk losing them. I have some in pots in our laundry room (cooler than the rest of the house). I would agree that Tropical MW seems to be much preferred here. I’m hoping this is a viable alternative for those who have pets and have room for a greenhouse in their yard but I haven’t proven it yet as a reliable alternative. After watering, they look to be perking up. They pupate on either the screen or the wood. 8. I normally keep the cats in containers in the house, but needed to go out of town for several days. I'd put at least 4 sets of hooks and eyes on both sides of every panel (you'll almost have to stand each up or really think it through to determine how each side should be done...they're not all the same). If overwintering Asclepias curassavica, take stem cuttings in early spring to start new tropical milkweed plants. So, what do I do to propagate those Spiders & the Cinderella? The cage is to provide a safe place for Monarch cats to eat, pupate, and eclose as adult butterflies. Hi Carl! Tropical Milkweed Asclepias curassavica Plant Description: Milkweed is a group of plants named for their milky sap, of which there are many species. possum1935. Which butterfly plants could you take in for the winter? You could either keep it in the garage, or try this method I used with our potted black cherry tree: Potted tree protection or use for smaller containers. Recommendation against planting milkweed near California overwintering sites. I’m not sure if you missed this link in the article. Thank you, Doreen. Good luck! Our goal to overwinter plants indoors is to achieve slow growth with superior health. It just seems so much easier than taking cuttings every day. Carll, Hi Carl, you can leaf mulch to give them some extra protection over the winter. I believe the key to success is treating butterfly plants with the h202 mix (tip number 4) early to stop the infestation before it begins. I have 24 pots done so far. The TMW is the most preferred here too (as it seems everyone says that about their place also). Filed Under: Butterfly Garden Ideas, Container Garden Ideas, Milkweed Garden Ideas, Minnesota Garden Ideas, Plant Propagation Tagged With: cfl bulbs, compact fluorescent light bulbs, how to gardening, hydrogen peroxide for plants, kill fungus gnats, treat aphids indoors, tropical milkweed, tropical plant care, winter gardening. I still have to winter sow my tropical milkweed along with my other annuals. However, I continue to improve on my success each winter, and my happy spring plants are living proof…. H2O2 kills gnat larvae on contact. I am in zone 7a and decided to finally try to overwinter some Tropical Milkweed plants in my garage this past winter. Hi Haylee, we keep the tropical milkweed in 10″ to 12″ diameter pots. wow Steve, we have a big ash tree in our back yard too and have been doing preventative injections for it. That one is a modest 18″ tall but looks healthy. Those Monarch cats have such voracious appetites. possum1935. hmmmm. Hi Ruth, I use h2o2 for watering and when I spray the plants too. I always forget to read my ibooks! Here are some pics and YES that is snow in the background. It's something that takes some time to do, but you'll be so happy in the end that you decided to make a cage. Tropical milkweed, like any other milkweed used as a host plant needs careful and constant care to be a healthy host plant. Valentine Gift Ideas for a Butterfly Lover, Start or Improve your Monarch Butterfly Garden, Butterfly Garden Book for Monarchs- Instant Download, Top Tools, Supplies, and Resources for Raising Monarch Butterflies, Cut back foliage before bringing pots inside, Hose down your pots/plant before bringing them in, Keep your thermostat around 65° F (18.3° C), If you see aphids on milkweed or other plants, stop them, they become an issue by trying idea #1, #3, #8 or #9 from, LED Full Spectrum Grow Lights for Indoor Seedlings and Plants, Monarch Butterfly Kits to Raise Caterpillars into Butterflies, 25 Milkweed Plant Ideas for North American Butterfly Gardens, Winter Sowing Milkweed Seeds Part 1: Supply Checklist. I suspect my survival rate was not as good as when I check them daily and clean out the fras, but they certainly did better than they would have out in the wild. with the Tropicals that just started flowering? What size pots do you use for the curassavica? After the ridiculous cold moist stratification for the Spider and the easier one for the Cinderella, I tried the winter sowing for the Butterfly Weed & that actually worked; amazing. It's so much harder to keep cuttings fresh. We have a lizard and a squirrel in the garden. Martha, Nope, I don't put anything in for them to pupate on. I love the idea of spraying them to get rid of the pests but want to be sure I don’t hurt my Cats. Tony, Have you ever had a problem with thrips on milkweed before? ;-)Cathy, I don't remember how many pots I had last year Cathy, but the cats went through the plants like wildfire. This not-weed plant is a sight to behold in the garden, has a delicious vanilla scent and is a magnet for butterflies, These colorful songbirds prefer woodlands and forest edges, but they’ll visit yards with fruit-producing trees and shrubs, Create a vacation paradise in your backyard even if temperatures sometimes dip with these guidelines for tropical-style gardens, Appeal to exotic good taste with fruit trees, palms and tropical look-alikes in your temperate-climate garden, Beautiful swamp milkweed makes it easy to help monarchs and other pollinators in eastern U.S. gardens, Increase monarch butterfly populations in California by planting stunning native milkweeds, Provide nesting, watering and perching spots inspired by the Costa Rican jungle and watch the birds flock on over, It's invasive, a nonnative and a poor insect magnet. Not sure if that would be a good or bad thing. Keep cutting it back through February as leaves re-sprout. We usually bring plants indoors mid to late October. I also bought a box of galvanized screws, hinges, and a lot of hooks and eyes. Regardless of your set up, some plants will do better than others and there will be trial and error involved. Will the Hydrogen Peroxide hurt butterfly larva or Cats that are eating the milkweed? So, I am set for milkweed even if last year's plants don't end up doing well. Thanks. Hi Carol, I take it this is swamp milkweed that you are keeping in containers since it’s cold hardy to zone 3. I just took them out of the garage yesterday, and glory be! In late September? Monarchs prefer the tropical over any other here, so I'm certainly glad they're doing well.Sherry, HelloI'm in north east missouri and I have over wintered tropical MW for several years, near the end of winter I root cuttings from them to have more starts for summer. I just released 40 beautiful Monarch butterflys. They are really coming back! I think between the tropical milkweed in 1-gallon pots and the purple milkweed in 3-gallon pots, I probably have about 60 or 70 milkweed plants once they're all up and going. I dug up the Tropical ones & potted them just today being very careful to go far out of the drip line & Deep to catch all of the roots (or as much as possible). For this reason, tropical milkweed provides Milkweed, Tropical Milkweed, Flor de Sangre, ... Research suggests this may promote overwintering monarchs that get ravaged by fungal disease and spread it to others. A person cannot have too much Tropical Milkweed!! Hi Patricia, we’ve never had any issue with water roots adapting to soil. I wintersowed tons of it, and am transplanting the seedlings into bigger pots already. Mine too bloom most of the winter. i should have counted since this was my first year for raising them with the cube, etc. You could always try bringing in one as insurance and take stem cuttings next spring if needed...good luck!How to take Tropical Milkweed Stem Cuttings. Little did I know that fungus gnat eggs, hiding under the soil, were about to hatch an alternative plan. Dear Caterwallin, Thank you for you prompt and helpful reply. Asclepias curassavica, commonly known as tropical milkweed, is a flowering plant species of the milkweed genus, Asclepias. So build a door that will fit inside the frame of the big door and hinge it onto it. Removing leaf litter and old stalks in the fall can help eliminate overwintering sites. Strange…. I at least have enough inside to feed a few cats if the Monarchs would show up early, but I want to have lots more, and that's why I'll still winter sow some. 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