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Wednesday - August 19, 2009

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

QUESTION:

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?

ANSWER:

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. 

 

 

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