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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - July 29, 2005

From: Santa FE, NM
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Deadheading or trimming back of Asclepias spp
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have some butterfly weeds (flowers) and I have heard conflicting stories as to how to cut them back. Should they be deadheaded to elongate bloom time or does that prevent any seeds from replanting? Should they only be cut back in the fall every other year? 1/3 of the way back?? Thanks!

ANSWER:

You may deadhead your butterfly weeds (Asclepias spp.) if you wish your plants to produce more flowers.

Butterfly weeds make nice cut flowers. Sear the cut end of the flower stem with a flame or dip in hot water to stop the milky sap from running. Let the second or third flush of flowers produce seed pods if you would like them to.

You should cut your butterfly weeds back by 1/3 to 1/2 in early spring before new growth begins if desired to tidy up the plant and encourage new growth. Alternatively, you may wish to wait until after the spring Monarch butterfly migration has passed and prune then.
 

More Wildflowers Questions

Germinating Penstemon tenuis, Monarda citriodora and Machaeranthera tanacetifolia Seed
June 03, 2013 - I am a graduate student at Texas Tech (UT Austin alumni), studying horticulture. I will be researching several wildflowers found in west Texas including Penstemon tenuis, Monarda citriodora, and Macha...
view the full question and answer

How to Propagate Mexican Bush Sage in Marble Falls, Texas
September 14, 2010 - I need advice on when, how to separate Mexican bush sage. Ours is happy and HUGE but is now sprouting from the roots at the base. Since we've been so successful with this plant, we want to divide it...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating Claytonia virginica in Varna IL
April 13, 2010 - How do I get rid of or control Claytonia virginica? It is starting to take over my lawn.
view the full question and answer

Preplant dip for wildflowers from Gilman IA
March 02, 2011 - I am growing wildflowers in a greenhouse for wholesale spring sales. The very tall varieties such as cimicifuga stretch very quickly. Do you know of any chemical treatments as a preplant dip that have...
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnet blooming in July in Leander TX
July 27, 2009 - I have a bluebonnet growing in my front yard in July! Early this year, my son planted the bluebonnet seeds. We did not expect them to grow since we planted them in February/March. One plant grew ...
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