There was no OE epidemic nor any disruption of the annual North-South migration cycles or the winter clustering phenomenons. Most native species of milkweed are spent at this late date save A incarnata. You’re reading a lot into two words Deanna…Respectfully, the selfish gardener, Deanne (Not to be confused with Deanna) says. With monarch butterfly populations having dropped more than 90% in the last twenty years because of a loss of host plants, growing different milkweed plants is very important for future of monarchs. Tropical Milkweed(Asclepias curassavica) is a non-native milkweed that has exploded in popularity over the past decade with both North American butterfly gardeners and the objects of their desire…monarch butterflies! I would be surprised if your new plants aren’t flowering before the end of the season. Next year, you might consider cutting back earlier or (if you still need the milkweed) covering the patch so this doesn’t happen again. Thank you for supporting the monarchs…. Hi Penny, sorry to hear about your December monarchs. The plants sold are usually so young that I cannot keep them alive more than a few weeks. Then why do the monarchs ever even bother leaving Mexico? Was this because predators somehow knew they were more poisonous? Hope you can help me. Please help. The long, oblong leaves are light green and grow to about 8 inches long. I started to research the issue found the sad answer and I was then compelled to create a butterfly garden as I now have space for it. The monarch population there didn’t exist until after the native cedar/palmetto forests were cut down by the arriving european colonists in 1609 to make room for agriculture and settlements and after two weedy non-native invasive tropical milkweeds (curassavica and physocarpa) became established on the disturbed ground: http://imageshack.com/a/img839/268/nmim.jpg By the late 1800’s monarchs were a common butterfly on the island. Those last monarchs are mainly fed tropical milkweed. We are a winter destination for Monarchs. Your system sounds fine. There were little lizards patrolling the milkweed daily. Sure, We can be purist and completely loose the species. The tropical is starting to leaf out again. This is a list of some of the potential milkweeds you can try in your region…I’m sure some will be more successful than others. See, that is what I thought – it is a native plant in their home range. I am planning my monarch habitat for next spring. I do not understand why so many are concerned that milkweed is available AFTER mating & egg laying. Then on the website someone in the neighborhood who was a retired docent from a local wetlands sanctuary started posting objections to my seed distribution, same issue, about growing non-natives. I also have a large population of small lizards. Hi Margaret, butterflies need to hang to dry their wings when they emerge from a chrysalis so pupating inside a seed pod would not work…seed pods split when the seeds are mature. I do actually have a question, though (climbing down from my podium, here). This is the reason Tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica), an introduced species native to Mexico, is developing a bad reputation among monarch biologists and conservation organizations.It can delay the butterflies' instinctual fall migration through North Texas to the point of destruction. Raise Monarchs on Milkweed Cuttings– raising monarch butterflies is an awe-inspiring experience, and a much simpler one using potted milkweed plants. Also, there is a recommended stores section at the bottom of the page: I planted tropical milkweed (just labeled milkweed at the nursery) in my garden in New Orleans and now I’m worried because there are at least 10-15 caterpillars and lots of crysalises all over the garden. ~MaMa Monarch. If you’re going to grow this in those regions with a year-round population and continuous growing seasons, you need to make some adjustments. As to the theory that tropical milkweed is hurting Monarchs, I say Horse-Pucky! I fear my experience my support the tropical milkweed “nay-sayers” I don’t want that. I love this hobby and feel that this is one activity that can make a difference in the outcome for this miracle on wings. THANK YOU! Night time temps are in the 40’s. Good luck with your monarchs…. I’ve made three attempts to grow native milkweed from seed, and have so far had no success. We made those mistakes in the past but we are learning now to respect local ecosystems. After reading the article you referenced and others, I came to the same conclusion you did. (Banning things is pretty much what this state does best) I shutter to think how this would take over in the south-east or other more tropical climates… And yeah, the plant won’t die back or have any cession of the bloom cycle in these more mild/southern climates, which I believe is where the major concern lies. The “potential solutions” involve humans. There are thousands of miles of roads in the Monarch breeding area, If each has hundreds of plants that makes hundreds of thousands to millions of existing plants currently available to returning Monarchs. Unfortunately, milkweed often has a bad reputation. Their caterpillars eat differently when compared to Danaus plexippus plexippus, our migrating monarchs. We did have a temp drop 2 days ago and after this is when some of them have died or started acting sluggish. But if you want to be 100% sure your tropical milkweed isn’t negatively affecting them, you can take the same cut-back precautions in your northern garden. I could not help but notice the many monarch butterflies fluttering among the still-green stalks. A bunch of my caterpillars seem to have issues. On that same note, if the mere presence of tropical milkweed can send monarchs into a mating frenzy and disrupt their migration, according to alarmists. If so any suggestions what to do with eggs and cats on plants and what do I do to get rid of pesticide? This way, there’ll always be some milkweed available for unexpected monarch visitors. The success of science is the long trail of detritus–theories and hypotheses that failed to be true. I’ve also had some sad experiences with December Monarchs including a female whose wings didn’t unfold fully and never flew. If people are educated about potential tropical mw issues they will make better choices growing it…and some of them will even choose not to! I find this subject very interesting and worth more study. I found lots of input. A mild winter. In addition to the concerns over OE and disruption of migration behavior, emerging research suggests that tropical milkweed may actually become toxic to monarch caterpillars when the plants are exposed to the warmer temperatures associated with climate change. Thank you all for your thoughtful comments and for caring to be involved. With less options available, monarchs take advantage of milkweed when they can find it. I think keeping the tropical around just to extend the milkweed season is akin to keeping the trash can lid open to let the racoons eat. Hi Lani, what and amazing first season raising 300 monarchs! Eradication of milkweed is a threat to the monarch butterfly. Therefore, I am adopting a new strategy. You name call people who have presented science, your answer apparently to not being able to present anything in response except your dogmatic determination to do what you like and still try to pretend to have monarchs interest at heart. The tropical produced seed so I threw them in one of my beds last winter and planted the others. Do they have a reasonable chance of surviving? But they did not survive a cold snap we had. And as far as the cardenolide levels, could high levels also be a potential benefit because the monarchs would be more poisonous? More Tropical Milkweed Growing Info and Resources, Growing Milkweed in Continuous Growing Regions, More Info on the Tropical Milkweed Controversy, Filed Under: Butterfly Garden Ideas, Container Garden Ideas, Milkweed Garden Ideas, Minnesota Garden Ideas, Monarch Butterflies, Organic Gardening, Raising Monarchs, Starting A Garden Tagged With: asclepias curassavica, monarch migration, tropical milkweed, tropical milkweed issues, tropical milkweed problems, We live in SW West Virginia (Jackson Co.). Should I just cut back the flowers and leave the leafy lower part? Milkweed plants are the monarch butterflyâs only host plant. A: What you have here is not a milkweed. Hi, Tony, I’m in Central Florida. OE Disease Spores Build Up on Overused Asclepias curassavica plants. Hi Laurel, March 30, 2014…still a controversial issue today. Maybe the science about Asclepias Curassavica infecting monarchs by growing Tropical Milkweed where it isn’t native is sound, maybe it isn’t. I also discovered using one of the round mesh laundry containers works great to put over a plant in the garden. We don’t usually see any Monarchs until it’s time for the Methuselah generation and by then even the Swamp Milkweed is becoming tough, however, the Monarchs still prefer to oviposit on those plants over all others. I should take notes so I can share real info on conditions and effects. Portable tropical milkweed has several advantages: 1. Hello, I have a few questions. When do you recommend that I remove them? The cats seem plump and healthy. Hi. That was bad enough, but when butterflies were able to emerge, every single one that had fed on “tropical” milkweed emerged deformed. Today monarchs continue to be present on Bermuda despite massive suburban development, decades of inbreeding and decades of being confined to very small amounts of tropical milkweed. Besides, it's another excuse to go plant shopping. Sprawling ranch southeast of Dallas sells to developer with plans for thousands of homes, After 40 years, the Kliff Klub says goodbye, Developer buys Collin County land for new $2 billion community with thousands of new homes, CÃ¡mara de Representantes aprueba aumentar cheque de estÃmulo de $600 a $2,000. When making changes to your process, change one thing at a time, so you can be sure of what’s affecting your success. I would like to have milkweed plants for Monarch butterflies. Thirty years ago we seen more and earlier caterpillars, but a lot has change in the environment . Zone 9b. Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on milkweedâ¦ I intend to cut all the milkweed back in a couple weeks gathering as many seeds as I can. Tom, just to be clear, my comment has nothing to do with success or failure of the Monarch eggs collected or the potential for breeding changes. Do you have any advice on which species might cause feeding caterpillars to be unappetizing to lizards? CA FL TX TN. I’ve cut back several plants, and only one has flowers left on it. My question is can we get away with just thoroughly rinsing the stems and leaves under a strong cold spray of water from a shower-head spray, and “squeegeeing” each leaf between thumb and forefinger under running water — that should physically (not chemically) remove any OE spores, right? I’m no scientist, but I am a completely organic gardener with emphasis on natural habitats for birds, beneficial insects, and especially Monarch butterflies. To prevent the extinction, we all need to work together. The female butterflies should not have been busily depositing eggs on the leaves' undersides. Try staggering your cuttings (cut back half now, the other half a few weeks later). Little rain, too. It is heart breaking and why I will do whatever I can to help. We help distribute millions of milkweed seeds across North America. Otherwise, they should probably be OK outside too. I have moved to southern Florida where I luckily have wild milkweed on the property. You can always cut off seed pods prematurely (and pull existing plants) if it gets to be too much. Hi Debi, I appreciate you posting this. I don’t, I have a special patch of fast growing brassicas that I relocate the caterpillars to and still have my cabbage. They get onto the mesh and then climb up the wall and end up on the roof of the butterfly habitat. I wish more people were open to trying new solutions (which need to be considered in this day/age) when we are losing native habitat on a daily basis, and will only continue to lose more. This is the reason Tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica), an introduced species native to Mexico, is developing a bad reputation among monarch biologists and conservation organizations. Hi Robin, there are problems with monarchs that are UNIQUE to areas like central/south Florida and southern California. I look forward to hearing the results from your tropical milkweed experiment this season…. Will they grow well in my region? Do I cut back the milkweed plants or do I let them remain as they are? OR do I try to make it go dormant by putting it in the dark and not watering it? Monarch caterpillars are tolerant of these chemicalsâ âin fact, cardenolides are the very compound that protects the monarch from predation. I have the Tropical Milkweed and it worked great last year and I had a lot of Monarchs emerge from it. Since lots of people are still growing tropical milkweed, discussing how to grow it (without potentially harming monarchs) is an important conversation to have. Milkweed plants contain small traces of cardenolides, bitter chemicals monarchs store in their bodies to discourage predators, which associate the butterfliesâ distinctive colouration with bad taste. If Tuberosa works for you in California, keep on doing what works. A Tropical Solution: Gardeners in tropical milkweed perennial regions (USDA plant hardiness zones 8-11) can cut it back to the ground a couple times each season. Go Figure. Non-native plants won’t support the ecosystem. Hi Terri, thank you for your thoughtful comment. The large caterpillars seem to disappear. Hi Colleen, in places where tropical milkweed grows year round more precautions should be taken to decrease potential spread of disease and to encourage the fall migration. Until this year, they have been lovely and gorgeous. Again, to infest and grow in monarchs, OE spores have to be ingested by caterpillars. I have no idea about OE/spores/migration, but I know from direct experience that potted tropical milkweed is A MONARCH KILLER. THANKS PAUL C. FOR THE INFO ALSO. There is such a thing as plant diversity and offering choices, more important than any one single plant. On the other hand, the Tropical plants have produced strong, live, healthy Monarchs. All around it are tropical milkweeds, both the orange flower and the showy red, they are doing great and I do get frost in the winter, late in the season, last year the frost wiped out my tropical milkweed, though now most are coming back and the reseeds are sprouting too. In Southern California, gardeners have milkweed choices when outdoor plant shopping.For decades the most common milkweed species in our gardens has been a Central American species sometimes called Tropical Milkweed, or more correctly Asclepias currassivica.It is a magnet for monarchs and even a single plant in a garden will soon display a few colorful caterpillars dining on its leaves. My catz love the tropical especially the flowers. Thanks! Recently there was an article in a local paper ridiculing those of us raising Monarchs, the premise being that Florida monarchs do not migrate, are not on the migratory path, therefore it will make zero difference in the big picture. From your information and others, I believe we should start to cut back the milkweed (or bring indoors) after that “initial fall migration” so that “late in the season egg laying” would not occur on our plant? Perhaps most famously, milkweed species serve as the host plant for the monarch butterfly. I am learning as I go and I have learned so much from websites like this one. Milkweed is the poster plant for pollinator gardens. We have a few of those white nylon mesh butterfly habitats (the Caterpillar Castle) and sometimes the milkweed leaves or branches touch the mesh walls of the enclosure and the caterpillars just climb up the branch … and then keep on climbing. If you raise indoors, rinsing off milkweed also helps. The hypothesis that planting tropical milkweeds in the USA would cause an OE epidemic or disrupt the migration is hypothetical and not based on actual field evidence within the USA or case history evidence in other parts of the world. Cal like the Tropical plants over the Native Woolies that I have. I liked your comment about hands down the Monarch like the Tropical plants. Milkweed contains toxins called cardenolides. thanks for your comment. IT WAS THE WORST MISTAKE I HAVE EVER MADE. Should I cut back the plant now? Plus, the baby catz love the flowers produced my the Tropicals. So what do folks who are into purely native plants want to be called? You could also raise them indoors and pick/refrigerate the remaining milkweed leaves and use as needed, or use stem cuttings. We do not see many monarchs going north, only the fall migration. There is one research project which demonstrated smaller butterflies from A. curassavica: http://www.monarchlab.org/Lab/app/upload/pdf/testerkristina12TEAMpaper-1.pdf. I have spent a lot of money purchasing native milkweeds from online sites and local plant sales. Though the pace at which curassavica grows is amazing, in mild climates I would HIGHLY advise that growers cut off any follicles. I was under the impression, since I live in the Houston area, that the only milkweed that does well here is the tropical milkweed. Hi Bill, Southern California is different because of the year round monarch population and drought conditions. They are beautiful creatures and would love to do my part to increase their lives . The trick is to know whether to bother them or not. The tropical milkweed was not cut back. Monarch caterpillars only eat milkweed, like this common milkweed, so planting it is important for their survival. I hadn’t visited in quite awhile so my last visit a couple years ago was a shock. But sometimes they’re just small little fellas and I worry it’s too soon, they’re not big enough to be ready to make the transition and it’s more likely they just got lost and wandered away from the food source. Some insects such as monarch butterflies have evolved a resistance to the poison and can safely consume the plants. Which milkweeds to grow Hi Julia, you can always stagger cuttings over time so that there’s always some milkweed available, but it all gets cut back eventually. She clung to that walking up and down the string to take sips of the nectar. I live in Santa Cruz CA. As for your deformity issue it’s hard to say: OE? I searched for help in starting my Monarch waystation. ps My memory might not be right but it seems that we see monarchs months before we get any caterpillars. This year I have released eight, one more will emerge soon, I spotted a Monarch in my garden today. This gives the impression you’re a mean spirited person with a bad attitude. My five large plants were found by Monarchs almost immediately, and so far I’ve raised 7 Monarchs, (4 females, 3 males). Please help. Perhaps people should be encouraged to tag in Florida to see if any of those butterflies are also recovered in Mexico. Why has this non-native become a staple in so many North American butterfly gardens? I would stick with the volunteers and have new plants for next season. I always water the plants with a sprinkler early in the day to wash away OE spores and carefully check plants for eggs as soon as I see Monarchs in the gardens. I photo-documented everything I witnessed. THE MOST HEARTBREAKING MUTATION WAS PERFECTLY FORMED BUTTERFLIES UNABLE TO FLY, TWO OF WHICH WERE BORN WITHOUT THEIR PROBISCUS IN OTHER WORDS, STARVED TO DEATH. I only ask that we not alienate gardeners that would like to explore more natives but are hesitant due to the attitudes of purists. I think to myself, surely there wont be any eggs at this date. By late November, they should have been safely in their overwintering sites in Mexico, not stalled in North Texas. In southern California where I live, it is the variety of milkweed that is available at my local native plant nursery. After raising one set of caterpillars in the early summer, we let nature take its course; there have been monarch butterflies in the garden constantly. Why Grow Milkweed Plants? The eggs are always left on the Swamp Milkweed leaves and brought indoors into sterile containers where I can monitor their progress. Monarch expert Karen Oberhauser from the University of Minnesota recently did a Q & A for Journey North and this is what she had to say about Asclepias curassavica: “When tropical milkweed is planted in the coastal southern U.S. and California, these plants continue to flower and produce new leaves throughout the fall and winter, except during rare freeze events. I am applying to have my garden considered to be a sanctuary for Monarchs and I need to have a minimum of three types of Milkweeds and a variety of nectar plants. When I read the first sentence, I was bracing for another attack about how non-natives are destroying the environment and not supporting the native ecosystem. It is dislodged by rain, wind etc. I recommend raising from egg, using cuttings (which is recommended in my book), and thoroughly rinsing all milkweed before serving. disease? I was pretty stunned to read people condemn tropical milkweed, when monarchs have been feeding it on it probably before the ice ages. Later in the day that milkweed pod had split and the caterpillar had disappeared. Monarch butterfly nectaring on common milkweed. I’ve not noticed any difference in cut or potted plants and both the swamp and tropical are easy to pot up for placing indoors but need to be rinsed and inspected for tiny predators (spiders and ants). Monarchs favor a variety of milkweeds, and in fact, with variety theyâll lay more eggs. Hopefully we will get some insight into the behavior patterns of the western monarchs when the counts are finished later this month. I want to mention that I did have a fumigator come and do the yard. It’s in the ground right now but I put planted it in the ground about 1.5 weeks ago. I planted the tropical milkweed because it was what was available in the few nurseries around here that even carried milkweed. I also treat my plants with hydrogen peroxide which promotes root growth and is supposed to kill disease spores, although I’m unsure if it kills OE. But relying on a single type of plant for survival is a risky strategy that has put monarchs in grave danger. The winner is the Asclepias incarnata, common name: Swamp milkweed Re: OE – hard to believe it’s a problem in plants that are eaten to the bare stems twice a year. The problem is compounded by evidence that Mexican milkweed plants that survive a mild winter can host a deadly protozoan parasite called Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (OE for short). What other varieties are recommended for the Houston area? This way, there’ll always be some milkweed available for unexpected monarch visitors. I say go ahead and plant your tropical milkweed, but more importantly work to alter the roadside mowing in your local area to protect existing stands of wild milkweed. but then….. The way we have it set up, he’d have to climb all the way down, then to the middle of the butterfly habitat floor, then up the vase and back onto the milkweed plants, which is not very likely. I hope more people are willing to stop giving ultimatums and start discussing viable options. I haven’t noticed any apparent disease issues with monarchs since I started overwintering tropical milkweed. But as some species enter senescence [even after cutting them back] late in the season, the tropical milkweed is the last ditch fresh food standing, in many cases. I have seen at least 10 split green milkweed seedpods. We capture the seeds and let the pods dry out over the winter. I’m not referring to what is done with the tropical milkweed & eggs/caterpillars after moving indoors, bleaching, spore killing…. This was a banner year for incarnata and I’m still feeding our caterpillars with it. I also discovered using one of the season or tropical milkweed and I sure hope you are having problems ’... Garden too think the question high levels also be an issue case of an emergency nothing blooming season I 2... Richard, check out this list to research top butterfly plants: you! 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