Growing Asclepias incarnata

This topic contains 14 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  milkweed 3 years ago.

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  • #14155

    MaryMonarch
    Participant

    Can anyone advise- or point to a previous discussion- how best to grow Asclepias incarnata. I have one plant which was given to me- its about 2 years old, and have harvested seed.

    I saw it said that the seed should be sown fresh- but does that mean now, Autumn, and get some growth underway before it goes dormant- or keep it for spring sowing.

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  • #40910

    milkweed
    Participant

    In my experience A. incarnata grows and thrives to become a very large plant when growing in moist potting mix in a 40 litre plastic container, in full sun 6+ hours a day. In a pot, do not companion grow anything else with it.
    They need to be grown for the first few seasons in a pot before planting out into the garden otherwise its a long slow exercise (in my experience).
    A 5 year old plant planted out (always when dormant) into a garden will do ok as long as its root structure is significant and you meet its optimum growing conditions (moisture and sunlight. in the growing season).
    Two of my oldest and largest plants, planted in the garden died but i suspect the life cycle, with an average mature age of 7 years, may have been approaching anyway.

    #40906

    susan
    Participant

    Some of the A. incarnata crowns have sprouted away now – in some cases there are multiple shoots. I can see, though, it will be a few seasons before I’ll be putting them out in the garden.

    Susan, Hibiscus Coast

    #40776

    milkweed
    Participant

    I recently sent Jacqui all my pink flowering A. incarnata seed from 2012 and kept 10 for myself and I’m happy to report that so far, of the 10 seeds, I’ve managed to germinate 8 into small seedlings without stratification (pre chilling). That gives my seeds an 80% germination success rate 2.5 years after harvest!

    #40703

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    I gave to a friend one of the A. incarnata I had in pots and she tells me that so far this year it hasn’t sprouted. However, mine is growing… almost so much you can “see” it growing. 🙂

    Remember to use some sort of snail and slug controls at this time of the year. Very important!

    #40700

    susan
    Participant

    I sowed some A.incarnata earlier in the year (March), and they developed at least 6 true leaves before going into dormancy. They’ve sat outside in pots all winter, but as yet they’re showing no signs of sprouting. Yesterday I took them out of their pots and have planted them together in a fairly deep tray. What I observed was nice healthy looking roots and undamaged crowns (except for one or two that the snails had ring barked). I would have expected something by now, as A.incarnata is an early starter in spring ??? I’m thinking that I would have been better off sowing these seeds in Spring/Summer.
    I’ve recently sown a packet of the Kings Seed mix, that’s supposed to have a mix of white, pink, yellow and orange types (as Milkweed described). They are coming through now. I’m treating them as a bit of an experiment. I last tried one of these packets a couple of years ago, and in my ignorance turfed them out when they appeared to die. I’m a bit wiser to possibilities now.
    How’s everyone else getting on with growing these types?

    #23933

    milkweed
    Participant

    I remember reading online about various milkweed species that overwinter and then resprout from a central crown located below the soil line each Spring. Whether or not they emerge again after the first season is largely dependant on development of the rhizome during its first year of life. The timeline given for several species of Asclepias to be capable of regrowing again from the rhizome/crown is after 3 weeks of root development in its first growing season. I have observed this with A. speciosa and A. syriaca but have never observed A.incarnata re-emerge after only a short time of growth in its’ first season. Sounds like more scientific observation will shortly take place next Spring.

    #23860

    MaryMonarch
    Participant

    I can assure you, my A Incarnata has survived 2 summers of Aphid abuse and has returned each spring. The stalks were solid yellow some of the time- and today I had a good squish of big colonies on bare stalks. A Incarnata is usually up and in flower before F Fruticosus is beginning to get going- but already (April) on its way to dormancy.
    I think you can be fairly sure your plants will be up again in early spring- …..and the aphid will be there eagerly awaiting ….

    #23857

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    Mine is brown sticks too, Darren, but I wasn’t here to see why or how – most probably the drought though. It will be interesting to see if it resprouts. I’m going to put a knitting needle in the spot, so I know that’s where it is/was.

    Jacqui

    #23856

    Darren
    Participant

    Another wave of aphids has been and gone and my three A.incarnata are now brown sticks. Yet a G.fruticosus that was also badly damaged has started to re-sprout.

    Does anyone know if the tuber will regrow after such abuse, or only if it has died back ‘naturally’ in the winter?

    #23838

    MaryMonarch
    Participant

    After I posted this query I planted a tray of seed which had been harvested in the preceeding few weeks. I have had a strike rate of about 20%- interestingly after I removed the tray from the warmth of the tunnelhouse- and we had a few cooler nights then also.
    I have kept some seed to sow in spring also, so will advise the comparason. What I am wondering is – how will these very young plants handle dormancy? Will they have enough of a tuber to resprout? As yet they still have just the two energing leaves.
    The seed I have was harvested from a pink flowered plant.

    #23834

    milkweed
    Participant

    That’s very interesting DarrenG. I think experimentation is facinating and i don’t tend to believe anything till i see it with my own eyes.
    My own experiment and opinion about A. Incarnata was derived through observation mainly, and a little assumption on the part of Kingsseeds.co.nz who supply a seed packet called Asclepias curassavica. This seed packet actually is labelled incorrectly as it contains seed also of the pink and white varieties of A.Incarnata mixed together with the orange and yellow varieties of A.curassavica.
    After planting 2 packets of these seeds into small containers in sunny, warm window sills, all that popped up were A.Incarnata pink varieties (germination rate about 80%). Therefore I hypothesized that either:
    A. there were no white varieties included in the packet. (This, despite the decription of the packets contents on the website,. saying there were orange, yelow, pink and white varieties contained therein).
    or B. The remaining seeds that did not germinate were indeed the white variety, but failed to germinate because they received no pre chilling treatment. I’m also assuming Kingsseeds.co.nz don’t pre chill their seeds prior to packaging, and nor do their supplier.
    On the the issue of planting fresh seed that you mentioned, I’ve read that most fresh seed won’t germinate until a drying/aging process is completed so I was surprised to read of your immediate success. Good luck and enjoy this great hobby of ours!

    #23826

    Darren
    Participant

    I did a little experiment of my own last month.

    I planted 40 fresh seeds from my pink A.incarnata in my new propagator but only 3 germinated. I waited until they outgrew the propagator but there were no others. That is 7.5%. I was very disappointed and was going to tip the rest out. Instead I decided to put the entire propagator in the fridge for week to see what would happen. So far a further 24 have germinated which is 65% of 37.

    So while they can germinate without cold moist stratification, I have to say that in Tauranga a week in the fridge increased the germination rate substantially.

    Interestingly Butterfly Encounters says that pink A.incarnata needs cold moist stratification, but the modern white cultivar “ice ballet” variety does not.

    http://www.butterflyencounters.com/store/products.php

    #23621

    Terry
    Moderator

    This is an easy Milkweed to grow and comes back year after year with few problems. One drawback! It's a bit small compared to some species.

    #23610

    milkweed
    Participant

    the Pink flowered variety doesn't seem to need any pre chilling of the seeds prior to germination so just sow in pots outside in Spring or indoors before frosts finish (in a warm sunny window works for me).
    The White flowered variety needs some chilling of the seeds prior to germination, so sow outdoors in pots while cold conditions are still happening. (4-6 weeks chilling works fine usually). They will then germinate when it warms up having believed winter has been and gone!
    Hope this helps!!

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