En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - How to propagate milkweed from root cuttings

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Monday - June 08, 2009

From: Santa Fe, NM
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: How to propagate milkweed from root cuttings
Answered by: Nina Hawkins

QUESTION:

I am interested in propagating Asclepias speciosa (showy milkweed). Your info page for this species says it can be propagated via root cuttings. Does this mean I can lop off a chunk of the root/tuber after the plant goes dormant, planting my chunk and leaving the rest behind to regrow next year? Need some clarification. MANY THANKS! :^)

ANSWER:

Essentially, yes.  Though you may want to take a bit more care when taking root cuttings of the milkweed tubers than you would when, say, dividing irises - which are notoriously resilient and can be lopped off to your hearts content.  The milkweed tubers are a bit more delicate and the sap can irritate unprotected skin, so you'll want to use a sharp knife and might consider wearing gloves if you are sensitive to the milky sap.  While searching the internet for more specific information than I found in my books, I came across instructions on how to propagate showy milkweed on EasyWildflowers.com and have pasted them below.

"For milkweed species with rhizomes, propagation by cuttings of the tuberous rhizome is also easy and reliable.  The cuttings should be made when the plant is dormant.  Each piece of the rhizome should have at least one bud (they are about two inches apart).  Timing of propagation is important.  Harvest or divide plants and move them in October at the beginning of the rainy season.  Place the plants in the ground by late fall so they can develop enough root growth to survive the winter.  Irrigation the first year will improve survival, and by the second year the root system should be well enough established so plants will survive on their own.  Both seedlings and cuttings will usually bloom in their second year, although cuttings will occasionally bloom during their first year."

 


Asclepias speciosa

 

 

 

More Propagation Questions

Protecting agave pups in San Antonio
April 23, 2013 - I would like to share the soon to happen bloom of two century plants on my property; they are sisters planted at the same time. I am sad to know they will die but will do all that I can to protect the...
view the full question and answer

Proximity of male possumhaw to female
January 11, 2009 - Mr. Smarty Pants, In regards to fertilization, how close by must a male possumhaw be located to a female possumhaw?
view the full question and answer

Stump sprouting of Oak trees in the wildfire area in Bastrop, TX.
May 13, 2012 - We live in Bastrop, Texas, in the wildfire area. We lost all of our trees. The oak trees have "suckers" growing from the base of the burned tree that has been cut down. They look like little bushe...
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of one of two Texas persimmons from Wimberly TX
May 04, 2013 - Last year my son planted two texas persimmon trees. One is blooming ok this year and the other is not. It does not seem dead. What can I do or is is in fact dying?
view the full question and answer

Planting wildflowers from Wichita Falls, TX
August 24, 2013 - Hi, Thanks so much for the answers you give! You've been very helpful to me in the past. I have two quick questions: 1) I have been harvesting seeds from my wildflowers. I wonder when the best time...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center