En Español

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?


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
2 ratings

Wednesday - August 19, 2009

From: Fishers, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Deadheading Asclepias tuberosa in Fishers IN
Answered by: Barbara Medford


My Asclepias tuberosa plants are flowering well in their second year and also have formed many seed pods. Since I don't need the seeds, will they bloom more if I remove them or is it unnecessary?


Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed) is native to Hamilton, Indiana, right in the middle of the state, according to this USDA Plant Profile. Since it is a nectar source for butterflies and hummingbirds and a larval host for Monarch and Queen butterflies, it is well worth keeping in your garden. Almost any plant will try to rebloom if you deadhead it after it begins to wilt. Don't get too eager, though, as long as you feel there might be nectar in there for the flying creatures. Plants need to reproduce to survive and they do that through setting seeds, so if a bloom is taken off before it has a chance to produce seeds then, yes, the plant will likely attempt to bloom again, although that takes quite a bit of energy from the plant. 

WARNING: This plant has poisonous parts; that is, roots and plant sap from all parts. That quality, of course, is good for the caterpillars that will grow up to be butterflies. The poisonous substances don't hurt them, but they sure warn the birds off. 

Asclepias tuberosa

Asclepias tuberosa

Asclepias tuberosa

Asclepias tuberosa



More Propagation Questions

Separate pups on Manfreda variegata in Tucson
July 20, 2009 - Can you tell me the best way to separate pups on a Manfreda variegata? The first ones we tried were very close to the main plant. Your help is appreciated.
view the full question and answer

What to do with agave after it blooms from Phoenix AZ
March 12, 2013 - Hello! I have 2 century plants in the process of blooming. How exciting!! I've never really seen it before. Anyway, what do I then do with the dying/dead plant. Simply dig it up and trash it? T...
view the full question and answer

Cold stratification of Rudbeckcia maxima from Birdeye AR
August 08, 2013 - How long do I cold stratify Rudbeckia maxima seeds that I wild harvested? Can I put them in the freezer instead of fridge? Do I need to make sure they are completely dry before cold strat?
view the full question and answer

Germination of Passiflora suberosa in Monterrey Mexico
October 26, 2009 - Hello, I need recommendation on how to germinate Passiflora seeds. I have a Passiflora suberosa plant, not on your database but native, and have fresh fuits of it. They look very much like a blueber...
view the full question and answer

Gaillardia suavis and salvia penstemonoides propagation
May 19, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, if that is your real name, How long, if at all, will I need to stratify my gaillardia suavis and salvia penstemonoides seeds to have them come up this summer?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center