En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Seedlings from established plants in Parma Hts., OH
August 02, 2010 - I have 20 yr old shrubs and hedges along my back yard. I don't know their variety. How do I keep the seedlings from encroaching in my lawn? The seedlings have sprouted 3 feet into the lawn. Any ide...
view the full question and answer

Can Gaura coccinea be transplanted
June 14, 2008 - Hello, I had Gaura coccinea growing on my property when I lived in Albuquerque. I have been looking for it for years to plant in my xeric aroma garden. Taking a walk yesterday I found some in a ditch ...
view the full question and answer

Overwintering Newly Rooted Hydrangea
September 05, 2013 - I am in the process of rooting a hydrangea shoot in a pot, should I bring this inside to winter? I thought burying the whole clay pot to winter outside, is this feasible? I'm in zone 6b. What would b...
view the full question and answer

Planting begonias in the Dallas area
March 25, 2009 - What month is it time to plant begonias in the Dallas, Texas area?
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Agave suckers
November 18, 2014 - I'm trying to transplant Dragon Toes Agave suckers. Is this similar to other agave pup transplants?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center