Milkweed (Asclepias) and Propagation By Stem

Hi! It’s been a while!

This is my second year raising monarch butterflies. Mid summer last year I was desperate for milkweed, as it is the sole host plant for the monarch butterfly caterpillar, and they are voracious!

Since then,  I’ve been planting several different types of milkweed all over our property,  along with nectar plants, so that hopefully I don’t run out again.

Milkweed is slow to grow from seed. Because of this,  we were buying milkweed plants (not sprayed with insecticide)  like crazy to have enough food for these babies. That put a dent in our budget!

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Monarch. Danaus Plexippus

Another method I began to use is propagation by stem. This method works for many perennials. You take a stem with areas for roots to come out, plunge it in the dirt or a container, and a new plant grows from that live material.

For milkweed,  this is a relatively fast way to increase your supply. The following stems were used to create new plants:

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These particular tropical milkweed stems were  excellent candidates for quick regrowth due to several sections in each stem.

On July 12, 2015 I planted the following stems in a container:

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I trimmed the bottom of each stem right below the bottom notch and planted two notches deep, allowing for healthy root establishment.

This photo was taken 4 days later.  Notice the new growth:

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New milkweed leaves growing from the stem in only 4 days

Today,  2 weeks later, look!

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Even starting to bloom just 19 days from a plain stem.

It is even starting to bloom just 19 days from a plain stem.

So,  don’t toss your milkweed stems! Not all stems will regrow due to various reasons, but it is certainly worth the effort to try..

Until next time, Peace, Love,  and veggies (and butterflies),

Anya

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One of our babies nectaring on purple coneflower - echinacea
Milkweed (Asclepias) and Propagation By Stem

Government to spend $3.2 million to help monarch butterfly

March 16, 2015

Do you like Butter Fingers?
Do you like Butter Fingers?

The federal government on February 9, 2015 pledged $3.2 million to help save the monarch butterfly, the butterfly that migrates thousands of miles between the U.S. and Mexico each year. The species has experienced a 90 percent decline in population in recent years. 2013-4 showed the lowest recorded population ever.

They are planning to earmark $2 million to restore more than 200,00 acres of habitat located from California to the Corn Belt, which includes school habitats and pollinator gardens. They will also create a fund – the first ever to dedicated exclusively to monarchs. This fund will provide grants to farmers and other landowners to conserve habitat.

In December, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said that there is enough evidence to trigger a review to determine whether to classify the monarch butterfly as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Service Director Dan Ashe stated that “little patches matter.”

What makes this an even more critical issue is, the monarch lays its eggs exclusively on the milkweed plant. Larvae feeds exclusively on milkweed. Weed control practices of our generation have greatly reduced milkweed.

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Monarch Butterfly larvae on milkweed plant – they eat all parts of the plant.
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Monarch Butterfly larvae has created a “J” in preparation for making its chrysalis
Milkweed and monarchs
Monarch butterfly eggs and larvae on milkweed leaves

There are many varieties of milkweed. Can you plant it in your yard? If you would like to give it a try, the first thing to do is to check to see which varieties of milkweed are native to your area. Then plant it throughout your garden! Keep in mind that local nurseries may have plenty of milkweed for sale, especially during spring and summer, however it may not be native milkweed. You can also plant butterfly friendly nectar producing plants to welcome the monarch into your yard.

 Monarch Video (30 seconds)

We raised monarchs last year. We plan to raise them again this year, so Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with our journey!

Source: http://phys.org/news/2015-02-million-monarch-butterfly.html

Follow Milk the Weed on FaceBook (Saving monarch butterflies & other pollinators one milkweed at a time. Vanishing prairies are key to a monarch revival — protect prairie & plant natives)

See also: The Light-Absorbing Butterfly Wing

Government to spend $3.2 million to help monarch butterfly