Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) has a wide native range and is easy to find, but it also has some aggressive properties that may not make it right for your butterfly garden. The variety of products that it provides ensures a long season of harvest. document.write(theDate.getFullYear()) A place for Avondale area gardeners to exchange seeds, seedlings, and harvests. While milkweed flowers may be attractive to insects, their stems and leaves are not. You can mulch milkweed if you want to control weeds or retain moisture, but not all varieties will benefit. Some people believe that it will become an important fiber crop in the future. Never judge a plant by its name. A Milkweed family member, another common name is Balloon Plant. It is most abundant in farm country, where it sometimes forms large colonies covering an acre or more. Not only is it attractive, it's an important nectar source for bees and other insects. Growing Milkweed: Tips at a Glance. Whorled milkweed (Asclepias verticillata) ... Julie Christensen enjoys spending time in her gardens, which includes perennials, vegetables and fruit trees. I advise not eating the bitter species at all. This same floss is being used today by a Nebraska company called Ogallalla Down to stuff jackets, comforters, and pillows. Monarch Watch is planning to distribute 40,000-60,000 plugs of native milkweed plants this year through its milkweed market. Milkweed is the poster plant for pollinator gardens. If you don’t want milkweed to take charge of your garden, remove the seed pods in the fall before they split open and release their contents or tie them closed with string. Most seeds need a period of chilling called vernalization and stratification to germinate and then flower. Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) Accessibility Help. The long, oblong leaves are light green and grow to about 8 inches long. Both plants do have milky sap, however, so this cannot be used to identify milkweed. It is distinguished by narrow rosemary-like leaves, which are arranged in a whorled pattern around the stem, and delicate clusters of white to greenish-white flowers. Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) An attractive and easy to grow milkweed for the garden, with generously thick bluish leaves and light pink fragrant flowers. 061220 Milkweed Showy Milkweed Asclepias speciosa Purple Milkweed Asclepias purpurascens Downers Grove, IL My Yard . Wander through this site. Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on just one type of plant, and that’s milkweed (genus Asclepias). Some insects such as monarch butterflies have evolved a resistance to the poison and can safely consume the plants. As our summer crops are winding down, we are starting some light fall vegetable crops, and planning to prepare … It is also poisonous. Aug 29, 2020 - Explore Ron Burch's board "Milkweed plant", followed by 304 people on Pinterest. In turn, the toxic chemicals contained in the sap of milkweed plants make both the caterpillars and adult butterflies unappetizing to predators. var theDate=new Date() Until they are about eight inches tall, milkweed shoots make a delicious boiled vegetable. Of course, it goes without saying that you should never eat a plant unless you are absolutely positive of its identification. A spot that’s protected from the wind will also help prevent the spread of seeds while providing a more hospitable environment for butterflies. By Sam Thayer – Milkweed plant isn’t your average weed; in fact, I feel guilty calling it a weed at all. How to Grow Milkweed Plants. Avondale Gardening Alliance, Chicago, Illinois. Asclepias variegata (redring milkweed) native to most of the eastern US and Canada. Discover unique garden products curated by the Garden Design editors, plus items you can use to solve problems in your garden right now, and best sellers from around the web. The seedpods of both species are attractive when used in dried arrangements. Facebook. They look like miniature heads of broccoli but have roughly the same flavor as the shoots. Faunal Associations of Swamp Milkweed. I had never seen them up close, just from a distance when the pods had opened to release the seeds. “Silk” refers to the immature milkweed floss, before it has become fibrous and cottony. All Rights Reserved. Sections of this page. A Monarch butterfly feeding on nectar from a milkweed. Milkweed is also well known for attracting butterflies and serving as a host plant for their caterpillars. Common milkweed stems are covered with opposite, oval shaped leaves. Below is a short video we made in our backyard micro prairie on Swamp Milkweed. 1 Asclepias tuberosa has several common names including butterfly milkweed, butterfly weed and orange milkweed. Have you been to our youtube channel? You should check it out, as we post videos like these! The blooms are perched atop the ends of the stalks so they are on prominent display even if your plants are located at the back of a flower bed. Milkweed silk is both delicious and amazing. The common milkweed, Asclepias syriacqa, is one of the best known wild plants in North America. Common milkweed’s reputation as a bitter pill is almost certainly the result of people mistakenly trying dogbane or other, bitter milkweeds. Plant milkweed today. Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is a native herbaceous perennial whose main virtue is its appeal to butterfliesespecially the monarch, which deposits its eggs on the milkweed. Boil a large handful of these silk wads with a pot of rice or cous cous and the finished product will look like it contains melted mozzarella. The seeds generally do better in a firm seedbed. If you’re planting milkweed from seed, sow the seeds outdoors in the fall, which will give them the period of stratification (exposure to cold, moist conditions) they need to encourage spring germination and ensure a good display of flowers the following summer. When you consume the pod, you are eating the silk with it. Not least among the uses of common milkweed, however, is its versatility as a vegetable. Beginners sometimes confuse the two, but they are not prohibitively difficult to tell apart. (See, Plant a native wildflower habitat from seed by combining milkweed with other plants that can provide a continuous source of pollen and nectar throughout the growing season. It may have “weed” in the name, but there are over 100 species of milkweed native to … Asclepias viridis (spider milkweed) native to much of the eastern US. A local nursery that specializes in native plants is a good place to check for milkweeds that are native to your area. Height: 3 to 5 feetBloom time: July to AugustCultivars: 'Cinderella' (deep pink with white centers), 'Ice Ballet' (bright white), and 'Soulmate' (cherry pink with white centers). 819 likes. It’s a stellar organization and invaluable resource for transformative writers.” * Required FieldsWe will never sell or distribute your email to any other parties or organizations. With all of these uses, it is amazing that milkweed has not become a popular vegetable. The veggie garden went on to provide an abundance of food for us that we ate, canned, froze, gave away and dried. Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) “Summer in a milkweed patch is a colorful place,” says Aunrag Agrawal, author of Monarchs and Milkweed. This aphid will not destroy the plant and will not infest nearby roses or vegetable gardens. Required fields are marked *. When I first moved in, this area used to be lawn and then a poorly tended vegetable garden. In the first paragraph, it says, “Butterfly enthusiasts often plant milkweed for monarchs to provide sustenance for the butterflies.” Hope that helps! Milkweed is also well known for attracting butterflies and serving as a host plant for their caterpillars. Native Plants Tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica), is pretty and easy to find, but keep it as an annual or grow it indoors. This is a tall, robust plant, typically found in meadows or along roadsides. #milkweed... Jump to. As the plants can be toxic; consumption of the plant protects caterp… These varieties are utilized as both host plant for caterpillars and a nectar source for butterflies. Until it attains a height of about two feet, however, you can break off the top few inches (remove any large leaves) and use this portion like the shoot. This cultivar doesn’t belong in your butterfly garden. In the fall, these proficient self-sowers split open to release hundreds of seeds. Swamp Milkweed (A. incarnata) – Swamp milkweed is native to North America and a great choice for soggy or moist areas in your garden since its native habitat is swamps and marshes. It is good to occasionally use this test to verify that you are only choosing immature pods. Milkweed plant is a perennial herb of old fields, roadsides, small clearings, streamsides, and fencerows. Growing Milkweed: Tips at a Glance. Milkweed Has a Place in Your Garden The monarch butterfly is dependent on milkweed, as the caterpillar stage can only consume milkweed as their food. Dogbane grows much taller than milkweed (often more than a foot) before the leaves fold out and begin to grow, while milkweed leaves usually fold out at about six to eight inches. Open up the pod along the faint line that runs down the side, and the silk wad will pop out easily. Tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) is a non-native species that should be avoided, as it can cause harm to monarchs. It's flowers are excellent for for drying. To grow and sustain each generation, milkweed is the only food needed,” says Agrawal. Photo by: Catherine Avilez / Shutterstock. Hi! As the plants mature, dogbane sports many spreading branches, while milkweed does not. Most varieties are extremely forgiving and will grow well in average garden soil. Kids' gardening activities, birdhouse building and free wildflower seedlings will be available. This early-blooming variety is one of the main host plants for spring-breeding monarchs in the South Central U.S. and is common in pastures from Kansas to Texas. What other treasures have been hiding under our noses for generations? Growing native milkweed attracts monarch butterflies and provides nectar to other butterfly species as well as honey bees. History and Traditions The genus Asclepias is thought to have been named for the Greek god of medicine, Asklepios. Milkweed is the poster plant for pollinator gardens. The sweet nectar of milkweed blooms attracts a wide variety of butterflies, bees, moths and hummingbirds. The milkweed flower (Asclepias syriaca) and its cousin butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) are an integral part of the butterfly garden, a source of nectar for butterflies and hummingbirds. Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License, Top Perennial Plants for a Butterfly Garden, Create a stylized prairie garden by planting milkweed along with other rugged sun-loving native plants such as, Plant swamp milkweed along with other water-loving plants in a pond or, For an eye-catching contrast, pair the vibrant orange flowers of butterfly weed with blue, lavender, or rose-colored flowering perennials such as, Combine milkweed with other butterfly-friendly perennials to create a colorful and diverse pollinator garden. … Want to help monarch butterflies? There are species of milkweed, such as the Showy Milkweed (A. speciosa) that can grow in the cooler, more northern states, as well as ones that like a warmer temperature like the very popular Tropical or Scarlet Milkweed (A.currassavica). I was introduced to the lowly milkweed plant last fall during our fall cleanup day at the demonstration garden. This I usually observed from a car window while taking a ride in the country with my parents many decades ago. Check on educational opportunities. The larvae feed on the leaves after hatching, but cause no permanent damage to the plant. Milkweed in Bloom by Courtney Celley, USFWS. MIlkweed near vegetable garden. After hatching, the larvae consume the Take heart though: once established, milkweed can spread like, well, a weed. The silk holds everything together, so it’s great in casseroles as well. Monarchs lay their eggs on the underside of the milkweed foliage. Children love to play with the downy fluff in autumn, while farmers despise it as a tenacious weed of hayfields and pastures. Large pale pink to pinkish purple flower clusters up to 3 inches across provide a plentiful nectar source for a variety of butterflies. It was dry enough, so we took advantage while we could. In late summer, milkweed plants produce the familiar pointed, okra-like seedpods which are popular in dried flower arrangements. There is a beautiful patch of milkweed on some homesteading land near my house. By Sam Thayer – Milkweed plant isn’t your average weed; in fact, I feel guilty calling it a weed at all. Height: 3 to 4 feetBloom time: Mid to late summer. Dec 23, 2017 - Explore Sharon Holmbeck's board "Milkweed", followed by 243 people on Pinterest. Under these conditions, tropical milkweed produces higher cardenolide concentrations. “The bottom line is, if milkweed disappears, so will monarchs,” says Laura Lukens, who works as a national monitoring coordinator for the Monarch Joint Venture, a partnership of American federal, state and other organizations.