Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Friday - July 10, 2009

From: Hamden, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Butterfly Gardens, Transplants
Title: Transplanting butterfly weed in Hamden OH
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have tried transplanting butterfly weed from it's native location to my yard and each time the plant wilts and dies. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

We assume you're talking about Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed). Even in Ohio, we would not recommend transplanting in mid-summer. this particular species is notoriously difficult to transplant, with its long taproot. It prefers well-drained, sandy soil and would probably do better if you moved it in late April, when the ground is thawed but it is not yet hot. It has been suggested that it propagates much better from seed, and you should just plant the seeds where you want the plant, because it is so hard to transplant. 

From our webpage on this plant:

Propagation

Propagation Material: Seeds , Root Cuttings
Description: The easiest method of propagation is root cuttings. In the fall, cut the taproot into 2-inch sections and plant each section vertically, keeping the area moist.
Seed Collection: Watch plants closely for seedpods in late summer/early fall. Allow seeds to completely mature before collecting seed to establish new plants in another location. A long pod is produced containing hundreds of seeds with tufts of long, silky hairs (an adaptation for wind dispersal).
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Needs to be transplanted carefully and requires good drainage. It takes 2 – 3 years before A. tuberosa produces its vibrant flowers, which appear in 2 – 3 inch clusters of orangish-red. Once established, it lasts for years, becoming thicker each year.


Asclepias tuberosa

 

 

 

More Transplants Questions

Height of tree to block sun on deck in Arlington MA
May 12, 2009 - I am trying to figure out how tall a tree I should buy in order to make sure to block out the sun on my deck
view the full question and answer

Southern Woodferns in TX
May 06, 2010 - I have recently bought some 3 gallon southern woodferns, and have planted them in the shade in a low spot with clay soil. It seems to be a good location for the ferns, but a week or two after transpla...
view the full question and answer

Dying branches on Texas Mountain Laurel from Kempner TX
September 14, 2012 - The branches on my Texas Mountain Laurel are very dry and brittle. The leaves are also starting to die. The tree has been in my yard for six years and prior to that it sat wrapped in burlap for ov...
view the full question and answer

Replanting yaupon in Blanco TX
January 16, 2013 - How do I replant Yaupon in its native area Blanco TX?
view the full question and answer

Blossoms but no fruit for gooseberries in Enoch UT
January 16, 2010 - My gooseberries always get loads of blossoms, but I never get fruit. I think they need more sun, and thus, want to transplant them to a sunnier location. What (and when) is the best way to do this?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.