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
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

Bluebonnets in East Texas
April 18, 2009 - I would love to introduce Bluebonnets onto a piece of property in East Texas. We have very sandy soil. Which species should I plant, the Lupinus Texensis or the Lupinus Subcarnosus?
view the full question and answer

Flowers for Central Texas wedding in May
September 27, 2008 - Hi there! I am getting married in Marble Falls, TX in May. My soon to be husband and I are very eco-conscious, and were wondering what type of flowers are local and in season for a Central Texas weddi...
view the full question and answer

Does Texas Thistle have any scent from Austin
March 26, 2010 - Does the Texas Thistle have any particular aroma. We are doing a report, and cannot find the answer to this question anywhere. We have also driven all around local Austin, and cannot find any on the...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping a Fence with Native Plants for Central Texas
March 08, 2013 - I'm looking to landscape my fence that I've lined with woven bamboo. The area gets the hot afternoon sun in summer and is pretty shady in winter. The plants need to be drought and heat tolerant. I'...
view the full question and answer

Early wildflowers for PA
November 25, 2011 - What spring wildflower is the first to bloom in Erie, PA?
view the full question and answer

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