How quickly do they germinate? Perhaps the plants go dormant over your Florida winter? Milkweed actually does double duty, acting as a host plant and a nectar plant (a plant that adult butterflies feed on). (you should see my stocky little pepper plants under these new lights). Or should I get another species? Where to find the milkweed and how to grow the milkweed plants. Take this as a warning… You might be extremely sensitive to the plants, so it would be best to wear long sleeves/pants & gloves anytime you work around & in your Milkweed! I have never seen a monarch take nectar from either species so surprised by your report! We had a very cold winter last year as well. Do you think I should keep the seed pods and hope that they will finish developing, or are they doomed since they are no longer on the plant (or stem cutting). Hi Linda, please check out the zone info on the page to see if it is winter hardy in your region. The only drawback from Annie’s, is that they have to spray them before shipping & you must keep them away from butterflies, caterpillars… any pollinators, for a minimum of 3 months. I’m curious if any will survive the winter, but either way I’ll start seeds indoors again in the spring. Seed pods are lime green and … Keep the soil evenly moist until the seeds germinate in 10 - 20 days. Caterpillars stripped my tall tree that I bought, then it died from lack of water–(I had a baby and no one tended the plants for a few days). I’ll try trimming it and see what comes back. butterflies lay their eggs on), and that is milkweed. I’ve seen a Monarch caterpillar eating leaves and black wasps pollinating. It is also called balloon plant and when picked green the inflated seed pods dry well. Spicebush Swallowtails gathering nectar from the pink flowers of Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata variety pulchra). Also… DO NOT LET ANY OF THE MILKY SUBSTANCE GET INTO YOUR EYES!! I live in Florida zone 10, but I was also wondering if I should start them in pots, because our soil is very sandy. It’s a party of pollinators out there.. everything from honey bees, bumble bees, butterflies, wasps, drone flies and even a hummingbird. good luck! Hi Martin, if you’re past you’re last avg frost date, you could try transplanting them into the garden. I’m sure if you try rooting some in late summer you’ll have better results. I started some in our porch last spring and was successful (I’m in Minnesota) You can see the results of G. fruticosus, but this also worked for the balloon plant: Starting G. fruticosus seeds in a wet coffee filter. Yes, wasps are the main pollinators for the Gomphocarpus species…. In pairs. (kinda looks like it in your “open sesame” picture). I don’t think I ever saw any other kind of pollinators on them. I forgot to mention that I live in Long Beach, CA. To answer your question about where I purchase my Asclepias plants… Have you heard of Zone 9 Tropicals, in Houston? Hi Brian, they aren’t going to develop further if they have been removed from the stem. Hi Anna, I’ll let Shirley answer too if you are looking for a local resource but there are also links to purchase online if you check out my milkweed resources page: 18+ Milkweed Ideas for your Butterfly Garden. I was able to germinate several seeds though. Hi Carrie, I would look for eggs in your region from the time you see the first monarch in spring until about mid-October. but stand the tap water for an hour as this release’s any chemicals in the water. Plant Specs: Perennial for USDA hardiness zone 8 and above (lows -12.2 °C or 10 °F) Fast growing annual for colder zones. I live in Maryland in Zone 7. I collected some of the seeds from the pods that have opened. They grew to about two inches high, then lost their leaves several months ago. Good luck! Nice fine DeeDee! Just bought from local farmers stand . Once the seedlings reach 1", thin out so you have individual plants spaced 36” apart. If possible, it’s always best to have a healthy supply of milkweed (home grown) before raising monarchs. Hi! Hi Marck, native is important for creating & maintaining a healthy ecosystem, but non-natives can also be beneficial for monarchs and other garden visitors. I have got a balloon milkweed, but I don’t know what the benefits of this plant are and what it’s used for? This is my second year of dedicating my flower beds to the butterflies and I’ve had much success, including seeing several monarch catterpillars. Hi Darlene, physocarpa is cold hardy to your region so there is no need to extend the growing season by starting indoors. we planted these as 4 ft trees about 11 months ago—they are now about 5.5 feet tall. Of these, tropical milkweed (also called blood flower or scarlet milkweed) is the most widely available from commercial sources. I was able to find the hairy balls milkweed at a local native nursery last summer and it did really well in my garden. The little monarch caterpillars seem to like it. This particular specie has showy flowers, is easy to grow, and has spread to natural areas and open pastures in Florida. The flowers are being pollinated by honeybees, several other bees and wasps and by monarch butterflies. Thanks Tony for sending this link to me through The Beautiful Monarch! It is not rare or threatened but the seeds are difficult to come by since they are seldom collected from their host plants. Luckily, the ripest ones are on a potted plant that I can bring in, but I was hoping to cut it way back for the winter so it will fit in the house . That’s also why I’m planting the G. Physocarpus; it should be able to grow faster than they can eat it — first year A. syriaca might not be able to stay ahead of them. Hi Susan, the gomphocarpus varieties and tropical milkweed have higher cardenolide levels than any of the native milkweeds. The only thing I saw enjoying the nectar was a lot of ants! I guess it loves SF bay area weather. I am saving some seeds from the milkweed. You could always try and get some seeds as back up. I dragged the potted plant indoors Thursday night for the freeze, and took cuttings from the big one in the vegetable garden to ripen the seeds indoors. I live in South East Michigan. by susan.mahr. I germinated from seed last summer and they grew several feet but never flowered. You can also overwinter plants indoors: Hello! Whorled Milkweed. Home. A friend of mine just cleaned out his garden and told me that he was going to give me some milkweed seeds. You’ll have an interesting centerpiece and the seeds should ripen to maturity. Native to South Africa, this plant is an invasive in tropical climates, but in my zone 6-7 area, winter cold keep it in check. Balloon plant, Gomphocarpus physocarpus. They are also turning that reddish color like in the picture at the top of the page, and some of them are starting to feel “papery”. We overwintered 4 in Minnesota and they are already forming pods. Good luck with your new plants…, Hi, Tony. Get outdoors for some landscaping or spruce up your garden! I ended up using neem oil and that works but don’t know the damage to caterpillars from the oil. Hello, Anna. We do have a lot of those red and black bugs on the trees—maybe they killed the trees? We also bought 2 of the Tropical Milkweed and the butterlies are ignoring those. Aquatic milkweed grows in full sun in soil that is continuously wet. Gomphocarpus physocarpus:Asclepias physocarpa is the former botanical name, Goose plant, Giant swan plant, Hairy balls, Family jewels, Oscar, Cotton-bush, Balloon plant milkweed. Don’t remove them before, or they may not be viable. Thanks for your report from South Africa! Most people are used to seeing the bright orange flowers of the, non-native, scarlet milkweed ( Asclepias curassavica) and don’t realize that Florida is home to twenty one native milkweeds. height: SHORT ~ 1 1/2 feet. Hi Sunila, while it does make an interesting showpiece in the garden, or cut for a vase, our main use for it is to attract monarch butterflies to lay their eggs on it. I have milkweed plants and hairy balls milkweed. They open very gradually. Most milkweed species have sap that is an eye irritant, so always wash your hands after handling. Two questions: When should I look for eggs since the plants go strong year-round? BTW, all kinds of wasps *loved* the flowers. I’m actually looking for these to use in a flower arrangement. I love the butterflies too much to do that! It sports attractive, bright blooms and is very hardy. Butterfly weed … As I am wanting to purchase other kinds of milkweed, could you tell me from where you buy yours? Hi Bob, it sounds like your seeds are getting close! (Gomphocarpus physocarpus or Asclepias physocarpa) Quick Info: Monarch Butterfly host plant (perennial, quick growing annual in colder areas) Add to Wishlist. Keep us posted on your plants…, Hi Shirley, you are probably correct about the rooting issue relating to cool water temperatures. Hi Sherri, don’t worry about physocarpa popping. My question is, given my locale, when is a good time to start the seeds inside? Fast & … Scott Davis oversees the Monarch Milkweed Initiative at the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Hi Rhonda, if you just purchased the plants, they might have been treated with pesticides or they could have OE spores or bacteria that are making the caterpillars sick. I was told my A. incarnate would hybridize with A. perennes but that has never been the case for years. I don’t understand why some of the caterpillars are falling off and walking away from the plant now. I use buckets, flower pots, even trash cans to cover plants, & I always remove the covers after the freeze threat passes!) I am in Naples, FL and have grown Giant Milkweed for 3 years and it survives and blooms all year. I’m wondering whats its use. Hi Mike, milkweed sap from all species can cause serious problems if rubbed in your eyes, so always wash hands after handling. I’ve grown tropical milkweed for 6 years now, and have nothing but good things to say about how it has attracted and supported monarchs in our home and garden…there are also simple solutions to the potential problems associated with this species: Is Tropical Milkweed Killing Monarch Butterflies? I live Northern California (San Fran Bay Area) Zone 9. We haven’t had an infestation in our northern garden since 2011, and over time we’ve seen more aphid predators as our ecosystem has developed naturally. Meanwhile wasps are killing my cats so I brought my 2 new plants inside and picked 12 cats off outside and brought them in!! It’s a fast growing milkweed and we grow it annually in zone 5. good luck! If pesticides weren’t used, you could always try raising a few indoors on stem cuttings after thoroughly rinsing the milkweed…good luck! Butterfly weed, Asclepias tuberosa, is one of the most available and popular native species of milkweed. Is this the normal lifespan—tree dies after “ballooning”? Are they a lot smaller than common milkweed and swamp milkweed seeds? Hi Paul, I’m not sure about the growth cycle in warm regions on the US. Now they seem to prefer the swamp MW flower clusters. Hi Craig, click on the resource links at the bottom of the page. Hi Steve, you can try mulching and see if it comes back, but it’s a risk. Should I let the lady bugs and aphids duke it out or spray the plant with a hose to remove the aphids? Hi CorryAnne, they are only cold hardy to zone 8, but are fast growing annuals…, Thanks for your reply Tony! Right now in Lake Forest, California Green Thumb International has these plants in one gallon sizes with balls and all! Shop great deals on Milkweed Full Sun Perennial Flower & Plant Seeds. I, too, am very aware of it, & I will cut off a branch(es) from my Milkweed, if I don’t think it looks healthy, any time of the year! Easy, drought-tolerant and trouble free. We even have some tropical milkweed that reseeds in Minnesota. Thanks. Hi Mary, we don’t get many eggs on physocarpus, but have found more on G. fruticosus. good luck! . Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review. Enjoy the rest of your garden/raising season in California! Hi Bob, year old seeds should still be fresh. Hi Dana, I was not able to root physocarpus in water, but I am still going to try planting cuttings in soil (with rooting hormone) at the end of the season. They lay eggs throughout the season. Great plants that attract monarchs, however be very careful when cutting or trimming. This is the first year I have ever seen them here and I have been raising Monarchs for 9 years now. Winter sowing temps are too cold, but if you wait until March to prepare sowing containers for warm weather varieties, you should have good germination rates…good luck! (I have been covering my plant during the “freezes” so that it will be ready for spring migration!). Are they gonna ripen any time soon? Other than that, Annie’s always ships healthy plants & they arrive in great condition! Just yesterday I noted a “weed”. Monarch Butterfly Garden- Bring Home the Butterflies, Butterfly Garden Ideas and Gardening Tips to Attract Monarchs, Swallowtails, Hummingbirds, and other Precious Pollinators, Gomphocarpus physocarpus: Asclepias physocarpa is the former botanical name, Goose plant, Giant swan plant, Hairy balls, Family jewels, Oscar, Cotton-bush, Balloon plant milkweed. I have never seen such an interesting seed pod before. We grow them annually in zone 5. They are cold hardy to zone 8 so if you’re in a zone 8 or above, it should hopefully come back next season, but I would ask someone who grows this in your region. They probably won’t mature this season but you can overwinter them indoors and start with some plants next season. Hello Chris… As Tony said in his response, you probably made contact with the milky substance from the plants. Physocarpus should probably grow well as a perennial in your region. Plants brought in … There are hundreds of different milkweeds, but a few that are easily found here in Florida are scarlet milkweed (Asclepias; red or yellow, they are both called scarlet), giant milkweed (Calatropis), orange milkweed (Tuberosa), white milkweed (Perennis) and balloon milkweed (Asclepias physocarpa). I have ordered 4 different ones… Davis, Virginia Silk, Wild Cotton, Family Jewels & Thin Leaf Milkweed. The butterflies loved it, looked great in floral arrangements and I had a lot of fun with the name. interesting theory Jackye…I have never heard this before. Thanks and happy New years! I was lucky enough to buy it at a tourist attraction , the Filoli estates in Mt. I like slow release because you don’t have to keep applying it: I stumbled across this article whilst researching weeds that grow on my property in northern New South Wales, Australia. All of the stems are still green and alive months later, but no leaves. If you leaf mulch the plants before winter they might come back. Also, when is a good time to start the tropical seeds I gathered from last season’s plants? Three Asclepias species have been introduced to the United States: tropical milkweed (A. curassavica), African milkweed (A. fruticosa), and swan or balloon plant (A. physocarpa). Help!…please. The seeds were a lot smaller than native milkweeds, so I didn’t want to pre-germinate them in wet toilet paper. The birds kept eating the caterpillars so I put a wire fence around & on top of it so that the butterflies could still get in but the birds can’t. Milkweed responds well to fertilizers, but is not a necessity. When & how do I plant the seeds? I have stratified and have sprouted some common milkweed which is local and I will not need to trim, but it is slower growing so won’t do much this summer – and I can’t find that at local nurseries. If you want the G. physocarpus seeds to germinate faster, soak them in water for 24 hours before planting. If the pods are purplish, you may be in luck and get some mature seeds, but if the pods are green the seeds will likely be white and not viable. (Asclepias tuberosa 'Hello Yellow') Instead of the common orange, shades of yellow and gold will brighten your garden and attract many different Butterflies and even Hummingbirds!Blooms for weeks in early summer. You might want to talk to someone in your region who grows this or a local nursery to get some “Florida” insight. Most of the cuttings have a lot of apids. My big question is, will the physocarpa do OK here? Tony Gomez says. I’ve had honey bee’s pollinate the blooms. Hi Wendy, I think most milkweed seeds can survive cold temps but there is typically much less seeding from warm weather varieties. I am in Florida, so they have been outside most of the time, aside from a couple when I brought all my plants in in to let the potted tropical mw grow back and to keep butterflies from laying eggs on and eating my seedlings. My ground is very sandy and usually pretty dry! Water regularly allowing the soil to go nearly dry between each watering. Milkweed (host) Giant Milkweed (host) White Balloon Plant Milkweed (host) Passion Flower (host)Coontie (host) Dill (host)Parsley (host) Common Rue/Ruda (host) Dutchman Pipevine (host) Cestrum (host) Plants That Attract Hummingbirds I frequent it often for the useful info on plants and butterflies. They are all dry now, but the branches are dry too, as if they are dying. (I do protect many of my plants from freezes, too. We are a zone 8 here so I’m hopeful! How do I avoid the fluff blowing all around in my condo if they pop? I brought in four last fall. Thx! Called by several common names, it is a popular non-native milkweed in the United States. Balloon Milkweed. only bought it because strangest looking balls in your face . I’ve been using cuttings for raising caterpillars indoors, but I haven’t been finding eggs and caterpillars on the plants in the garden, except for one caterpillar. I would leave them outside to develop until just before your first frost. How long will it take for the pods to be ripe? ** Typically blooms 3rd year I’ve planted balloons in a pot and hope they will do well, growing through the Utah winter. This is a tropical variety and my seeds are old, so should I expect 0% germination and order another packet of seeds real quick? Yesterday I was given one of the balls with seeds. I didn’t plant any this summer but have a nice patch of them growing again this summer in the same place they grew last year. The giant milkweed is cold hardy in zones 11 and 12 and, in its native region, can grow 8 feet wide and 15 feet tall. Newsletter for butterfly tips, sales, new products, coupons and more…! Hi Elaina, your best bet is probably finding a local nursery that sells butterfly plants…good luck! 3″-4″ and stayed that way for a few weeks, but, started dying off. I live in Michigan and purchased several stems of this plant at a local market. The reason you shouldnt mix natives and non natives that are this closely related is that they will hybridize and you’ll lose native population. I will be sure to update the page with my results. I wondered if any seedlings would come up as the seeds in the cotton like fluff blew all over the neighbor. My garden’s last monarch cats were about five years ago on Asclepias curassavica plants, that later died off in a cold winter. Hi Kris, we have seen more eggs on the physocarpus, but this can vary from season to season…they are both used as host plants by monarchs. I have noted that many plants have caterpillars on them when removing them, so I guess that’s why it’s of interest here… Anyway, proceed with caution! You are right. In Savannah, we have had them return slowly from the previous two winters, but we are always hedging our bets, so to speak, and rooting cuttings, too. If they are dark brown, they should be mature…congrats! Since I am reading the cats prefer Oscar’s over giant, I am interested in this one – but can it carry OE? I thought I’d give it awhile and see what would happen. Yes, this is also a continuous growing species that should be cut back periodically to prevent the spread of OE and other pathogens…, The balls on a couple of my balloon plants have been full-sized for well over a month. The mama Monarchs seek them out. I have 100 days before the next freeze…hopefully that will be enough time to see the plant in all its glory. And, because I cut my plants down in the fall, I had healthy, full plants for the spring migration! Hi Mary, if you’re in California you can plant them directly outdoors now or in spring. This milkweed species is a rare find in nurseries, so seeds are probably your only option in most regions. Everyone is curious about this interesting plant and have asked for seeds, which I will gladly share as it is a wonderful way to increase awareness of the. Little did I know that he would be handing me three seed pods the size of small oranges. Eucalyptus deglupta, also Called Rainbow Eucalyptus, in Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg, Fla. Today, visitors can meander through the lush grounds and admire botanicals like Cuban Petticoat Palm, Buddha Belly Bamboo, and Balloon Milkweed. Full sun to part shade. nature note: Though the mud daubers look ominous, they have never shown aggression in our garden. I really want to have a few of these plant this coming season. Shop a huge online selection at The Great Black Wasps have probably been there too, but I’ve only seen those on the tropical milkweed. It produces clusters of 1/2" wide cream to white star shaped flowers with a purplish 'eye' and the flowers attract butterflies along … Balloon Milkweed. They are waiting to feed Monarch caterpillars! Phone: (803) 374-2591, He has made everything beautiful in its time... Ecclesiastes 3:11, © 2014 Joyful Butterfly | Website Designed by, Purple Milkweed Seeds 20+ (Asclepias purpurascens) US Native Seeds, Please click here to see the complete growing conditions and details of Balloon Plant Milkweed plants in our full description under Gomphocarpus physocarpus seeds…, How to Cold Stratify Seeds for Your Butterfly Garden. Fertilizer in the pot? Milkweeds Native to Florida. 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