which milkweed is bad for monarchs

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Thank you. The tropical produced seed so I threw them in one of my beds last winter and planted the others. Is this your argument? I have about 50 milkweed plants – Yellow Ascepias and Asclepias curassavica. 2016 UPDATE: we still plant tropical milkweed containers, but we only take stem cuttings for raising indoors because they are easier to clean and keep predator-free. Florida where I have swamp if I want to use it. Unlike Bermuda, ours arrive because they got lost and then decided to stay. Unfortunately, I could not find any real science that had been done to confirm such idea (hypothesis). For instance, goldenrod flowering coincides with Monarch migration. It’s frustrating to hear so many people believe that just because a plant has potential issues, means it should be condemned and not even considered as a potential solution for supporting more monarchs. This is what woke me up last night: If, according to alarmists, the presence of tropical milkweed promotes off season breeding, then why isn’t there an off season breeding problem in Mexico where the tropical milkweed is native? Where is the logic of introducing, both milkweeds and monarchs to Bermuda, Australia and New Zealand? They’re not staying around for the milkweed and are obviously taking other cues to start their migration. I suspect we are seeing a similar shift with the migrating Monarchs not needing to go all the way to Mexico (where, I assume, their native tropical milkweed is found). So no it’s not bad. Many are lethargic and spitting green liquid. Hi Michael, thank you for your comment. My main question is with first frost rapidly approaching, can I take flowering cuttings in the hope of them going to seed while overwintering under my growlights? Until this year, they have been lovely and gorgeous. Not sure what everyone is talking about. I don’t want the bugs to starve, but I don’t want them to keep breeding either. Milkweed Leaf Miners. I am getting seeds from the tropicals like crazy, enough to share with my daughters 7th grade science class and to scatter in a natural area adjacent to my neighborhood. Down here in Zone 10b we also have a native giant milkweed, a 9a – 11 host plant/tree. Try staggering your cuttings (cut back half now, the other half a few weeks later). I liked your comment about hands down the Monarch like the Tropical plants. A: What you have here is not a milkweed. I could not help but notice the many monarch butterflies fluttering among the still-green stalks. I’m not sure how large the patch is, but something like this is an option to consider: plant cage protector. The milkweed being discussed was the tropical variety most widely available in the usual stores, Asclepias curassavica, known commonly as Scarlet or Tropical milkweed. Instead, water the plants to ensure that they are able to tolerate the aphid feeding. One of the events was the shifting of weather, with my Southern California climate becoming warmer and more humid. Though the pace at which curassavica grows is amazing, in mild climates I would HIGHLY advise that growers cut off any follicles. Calling folks names, especially those who could or should be on your side, does not move things in a positive direction. 2016 Update- with more gardeners planting tropical milkweed, the overwintering population in Mexico grew 3.5 times: from 57 million monarchs…to 200 million! Evolution has devised its plan over millions of years and we are possibly interrupting it in just a few. Thank you again for this site, for this conversation, it is so valuable to have a place to learn from and discuss the concerns on this issue. I released 178 Monarchs this year with over 90% survival rate thanks to Monarch Butterfly Life. Is this infestation dangerous for the monarchs? Night time temps are in the 40’s. We are a winter destination for Monarchs. Hi Margaret, this is not a milkweed issue…it’s a lizard issue. I would stick with the volunteers and have new plants for next season. They hide them pretty well, but keep in mind, less than 5% survive outdoors mostly due to predation…. You name call people who have presented science, your answer apparently to not being able to present anything in response except your dogmatic determination to do what you like and still try to pretend to have monarchs interest at heart. The most recent article about the monarch butterfly in the New York Times has once again raised the question of whether we should be planting non-native milkweed. Hi Debi, I appreciate you posting this. I wish more people were open to trying new solutions (which need to be considered in this day/age) when we are losing native habitat on a daily basis, and will only continue to lose more. I was just so excited to watch her lay eggs and then watch the metamorphosis of the caterpillars. A squirrel, getting a whiff of a human scent, could dig up the plant looking for something to eat. The obvious remedy seems to be to not plant Mexican milkweed at all, in favor of planting native milkweeds. It was “tropical” milkweed, asclepias currasavica. If my plants have OE, do I cut them all down? Has anyone else seen very mature caterpillars feeding upon green milkweed pods and causing them to split? You probably aren’t in that camp, but in case you’re interested: Raise MORE Monarchs with LESS Effort and AT LEAST a 90% Survival Rate. is a family of perennial flowering plants that are native to Africa and North and South America. Although monarchs and milkweed go hand-in-hand, not everyone understands their special connection. First, central and south Florida have a year round population of butterflies so it stands to reason that some don’t migrate. This was a banner year for incarnata and I’m still feeding our caterpillars with it. Your photo is fantastic! But when the card… We live in South Florida. Johnson grows several native milkweed species as a business opportunity and a calling. They emerged about mid-January, the weather was still a bit cold, so I kept them indoors for about a week, I gave them oranges, homemade nectar and I found them some nectar plants at the nursery, Calendulas and primroses. With their distinctive black, white and gold pin-striped suits and expressive dark tentacles reaching out into the universe, that’s no surprise. A mild winter. In Mexico, Asclepias curassavica is considered a native all the way up to the south Texas border where, apparently a political hostage, it becomes considered a naturalized exotic. “Mom knows best!”. Building walls, indeed…. New evidence identifies 64 pesticide residues in milkweed, the main food for monarch butterflies in the west. Master Gardeners tell us to cut down our milkweed in October – up til now, not for OE, but to encourage migration. To give you an idea of how monarchs inadvertently get transported around the world, consider this very recent sighting of three monarchs observed on a ship a couple hundred miles out in the Gulf of Mexico south of Louisiana: http://www.learner.org/jnorth/sightings/query_result.html?record_id=1396193428. The problem is compounded by evidence that Mexican milkweed plants that survive a mild winter can host a deadly protozoan parasite called Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (OE for short). I say go ahead and plant your tropical milkweed, but more importantly work to alter the roadside mowing in your local area to protect existing stands of wild milkweed. What has always bothered me about the tropical milkweed issue, is that none of the potential solutions are discussed. I think it’s important that we all work together and learn from each other’s successes and failures. The monarch population there didn’t exist until after the native cedar/palmetto forests were cut down by the arriving european colonists in 1609 to make room for agriculture and settlements and after two weedy non-native invasive tropical milkweeds (curassavica and physocarpa) became established on the disturbed ground: http://imageshack.com/a/img839/268/nmim.jpg By the late 1800’s monarchs were a common butterfly on the island. We don’t usually see any Monarchs until it’s time for the Methuselah generation and by then even the Swamp Milkweed is becoming tough, however, the Monarchs still prefer to oviposit on those plants over all others. So far we know we fed 2 Monarchs on their way north 4-6 weeks ago–that’s it–no eggs or cats. The writer slams those who prefer to use native plants in their garden. I do not understand why so many are concerned that milkweed is available AFTER mating & egg laying. Important if your other varieties run out. Tropical milkweed is Asclepias curassavica, and you were growing Asclepias tuberosa, which is a suitable milkweed for monarchs … If milkweed leaves get infested with bugs or start looking diseased I would cut back those parts of the plant and discard them. Please help. I feel that if it is not perfectly dry at egg hatching time the eggs do not hatch and that may be part of the problem with our silkmoths also. I’ve let the number of caterpillars that occur on each milkweed species guide me as to what to increase the next year. The eggs are always left on the Swamp Milkweed leaves and brought indoors into sterile containers where I can monitor their progress. Non-native plants won’t support the ecosystem. There were little lizards patrolling the milkweed daily. Could you please steer me towards info on the Monarchs ?? The milkweed in my yard in SE Georgia is entirely tropical milkweed. When they emerge from their chrysalises, according to an article in Science magazine, they are covered in OE spores. Am I correct in thinking that OE is only on the surface of the plant? See the contradiction there? There are many eggs on the leaves so what do you suggest I do with them? While the Monarch butterfly is not in danger of extinction, the miraculous migration is definitely in danger of extinction. They even started trying to position it as monarch enemy #1a, right along side the ultra-controversial buddleia davidii (butterfly bush)…but that’s a post for another day. A Few Bad Milkweeds IT WAS THE WORST MISTAKE I HAVE EVER MADE. I have photographed every single Monarch creature here, from egg through to butterfly– my photos would make you ill. DO NOT PURCHASE THIS LOVELY KILLER. Hi John, it was not my intent to insult native purists, but it is my belief that the small percentage that refuse to see any benefit to growing tropical milkweed are doing so largely because of their purist point of view, and not because of logical conclusions resulting from careful research. It’s completely unnecessary. 3 Big Advantages of Winter Sown Milkweed + Winter Sowing Container ideas, Another monarch migration is on the horizon some of us, Valentine Gift Ideas for a Butterfly Lover, Start or Improve your Monarch Butterfly Garden, Butterfly Garden Book for Monarchs- Instant Download, Top Tools, Supplies, and Resources for Raising Monarch Butterflies, How To Grow Tropical Milkweed Without (Allegedly) Hurting Monarchs, http://nababutterfly.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Tropical-Milkweed.pdf, http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/79381/j.1461-0248.2010.01537.x.pdf?sequence=1, http://imagizer.imageshack.us/a/img833/8496/6kim.jpg, http://monarchjointventure.org/our-work/assessment-of-exotic-milkweeds-and-the-spread-of-disease-in-monarchs, http://www.coldwellbankerislands.com/seo/islands/ber2.jpg, http://imageshack.com/a/img839/268/nmim.jpg, http://journals.fcla.edu/flaent/article/view/58527/56206, http://www.learner.org/jnorth/sightings/query_result.html?record_id=1396193428, Monarch Butterfly Kits to Raise Caterpillars into Butterflies, 25 Milkweed Plant Ideas for North American Butterfly Gardens, Winter Sowing Milkweed Seeds Part 1: Supply Checklist. Many babies have died. I should take notes so I can share real info on conditions and effects. I live in the Sacramento Valley and am very new to the Monarch situation. I have lost them all. Do I cut back the milkweed plants or do I let them remain as they are? Why Grow Milkweed Plants? THE MOST HEARTBREAKING MUTATION WAS PERFECTLY FORMED BUTTERFLIES UNABLE TO FLY, TWO OF WHICH WERE BORN WITHOUT THEIR PROBISCUS IN OTHER WORDS, STARVED TO DEATH. Maybe the science about Asclepias Curassavica infecting monarchs by growing Tropical Milkweed where it isn’t native is sound, maybe it isn’t. Science relies on statistics but very few scientists know enough about statistics. I too last year had very late season caterpillars on my tropical milkweed, I found two in early December right before a storm was coming in so for the first time in the few months I had be growing milkweed and spotting Monarch caterpillars in the garden, I brought them inside. The hypothesis that planting tropical milkweeds in the USA would cause an OE epidemic or disrupt the migration is hypothetical and not based on actual field evidence within the USA or case history evidence in other parts of the world. Which milkweeds to grow I love this hobby and feel that this is one activity that can make a difference in the outcome for this miracle on wings. Science is presently in a state of crisis due to its failure (p-values [probability values]to replicate). Protect these plants until after the seed has set and spread, and until after the chrysalises have hatched into adult Monarchs. Last season, I found four instar 5 cats on my physocarpa plants…those have higher cardenolide levels than curassavica. Today monarchs continue to be present on Bermuda despite massive suburban development, decades of inbreeding and decades of being confined to very small amounts of tropical milkweed. And as far as the cardenolide levels, could high levels also be a potential benefit because the monarchs would be more poisonous? By late November, they should have been safely in their overwintering sites in Mexico, not stalled in North Texas. I live in SE Georgia. After raising one set of caterpillars in the early summer, we let nature take its course; there have been monarch butterflies in the garden constantly. It does not pose a threat in SW Ohio. If the answer is no, stick to natives and avoid contributing to these potential issues. Hypothesis: ” Fear based science headlines having harmful effect on real world activities of concerned people.” I wonder if there is a Government sponsored grant for this study ? Just today I cut back to about 12 inches but was reluctant to cut further as I still have at least a 5 or 6 ts on my 8 or 10 plants. People need to work together to save the Monarch. By growing tropical milkweed responsibly, you’ll be helping more monarchs in a time when monarch support is crucial to the survival of their storied migration. Baby plants must be protected from an aphid infestation organically until they are big enough to withstand the pests. In turn, the spores drop onto the milkweed plants to infect the next monarch that comes into contact with the plant. My survival rate is always between 95-100% and the few that didn’t make it over the past few years have all been from predation or freak accidents. They don’t jump onto adult butterflies. There is no reason that this particular milkweed needs to re-bloom simply to supply nectar to adults. We did have a temp drop 2 days ago and after this is when some of them have died or started acting sluggish. I am an avid native plant supporter, being on the board of Midwest Native Plant Society and Greater Cincinnati Wild Ones. Debi. If viable milkweed plants aren’t available to receive monarch eggs, this should encourage the monarch majority to finish their Mexican migration. Milkweed samples from all of the locations studied in California’s Central Valley were contaminated with pesticides, sometimes at levels harmful to monarchs and other insects. Thanks so much……. But that is going to take years, years that we may not have if we do not work together, now. I was very concerned that they would have some food during the winter, luckily the weather got a bit warmer, so I then took them to the Monarch sanctuary and released them, The eucalyptus trees were in bloom and all of their kin were there… what little is left of the vast population that used to visit that is. We have to have a “label” to distinguish the various types of gardeners. Tony, I Live in zone 7b and maintain a school yard butterfly garden. I would make a list of a few options that sound interesting and then talk to local gardeners or nurseries to see what works best for them. I have no technical expertise on Monarch’s physiology beyond a basic knowledge Last year was excellent, and during their migration south for a period of several days I had an amazing abundance of dozens of Monarchs feeding on my flowering plants. That’s the true threat to our bees, butterflies, and caterpillars. It’s also fast growing and easy to propagate…aren’t these important qualities in a time when loss of habitat is decreasing the milkweed supply? Thank you in advance. OR — he could be lost and starving and can’t find his way back to the milkweed leaves. I have come to the conclusion, a variety of milkweed is the best way to go. I have grown sick and tired of having my ethics and morals questioned because I choose to grow some non-native plants in a controlled garden setting (in Minnesota!). As you know, it seeds a lot so it may become invasive. bleach ingestion? I live in the Antelope Valley in California. I feel like planting this species that far north wouldn’t contribute much to and issue in continued migration, with such a short season the stragglers or cats that pop out much later than they naturally would, would just freeze. This year I purchased over a dozen native milkweed in 1-gallon pots to start the switch from tropical to native. Yes, many eggs were laid per plant, yes the caterpillars devoured the plants, loved it. I would occasionally see a Monarch but I did not get eggs or cats. Congrats on getting monarch eggs! All this said in hopes that anyone in my area who doesn’t know these details will see this and use extreme care with their Tropical Milkweed and the seed pods until such time that the experts: the scientists or … – – until “they” can say definitively that a. Curassavica is safe (or tell us to destroy it completely because it is BAD). Milkweed is also well known for attracting butterflies and serving as a host plant for their caterpillars. We don’t get snow here. Also, if having resources readily available disrupts migration, then why do the Monarchs ever bother coming back North, if they are surrounded by native tropical milkweed in Mexico? so one think the question would actually be broached. I don’t want this to happen again, so I have several species of native milkweeds planted and hope they come up this spring. And I don’t stop at Monarchs, I have been raising Gulf Fritillaries on my passionflowers and Painted ladies on my malvas. In the past decade, I tend to raise more around migration time because most of my gardening projects are finished for the season. Asclepias curassavica thrives as a potted plant. Last fall I had tropical milkweed growing and had a monarch lay a lot of eggs on it. Danaus erippus, the southern monarch, evolved with tropical milkweed. Adult Monarchs require nectar from flowering plant sources for survival and milkweed nectar is not the only plant that supplies it! And that is their choice…, Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Tony. But it would also be terrible to pick up an already-pupating caterpillar and remove him from his location of choice and put him back where he started on the milkweed plants. Hi Deanna, I have nothing against native purists and, as long as someone takes responsibility for the plants they grow, it’s their choice to decide which plants are best suited for their garden…native or otherwise. So Tropical is a GO. Also, it is important to not fertilize the milkweed plants. "Most of our native milkweeds by mid-July are dried up, burned up," meaning they would not be an attraction for ovipositing female monarchs. I photo-documented everything I witnessed. Thanks for your insights Mary! Now I want to some milkweed. If they are hanging upside down, well obviously they’re well on their way, or if there are silks around them and they’re beginning to attach themselves in place, well duh, I get it. I also check for OE and I raise the cats on native milkweed. Right now, I would concentrate on building up your milkweed supply for future monarchs…good luck! I always water the plants with a sprinkler early in the day to wash away OE spores and carefully check plants for eggs as soon as I see Monarchs in the gardens. However. When my last two monarchs emerged in December, there was nothing blooming. I use the pots with mesh cages. It is dislodged by rain, wind etc. I live in north central florida, when should tropical milkweed be cut back? Could you give me an idea of when Peak Migration occurs here and when I should cut my Tropical Milkweed back to prevent the spread of OE? ps My memory might not be right but it seems that we see monarchs months before we get any caterpillars. "Those mama monarch butterflies know from evolution what leaves are right for their little baby caterpillars," Johnson says. Let me know, thank you for being willing to answer and be patient with us that are slowly learning but quickly falling in love with the Monarch Butterfly, Hi Elizabeth, unless the weather is unseasonably warm, the monarchs probably won’t make it out on time. Confined habitat can concentrate spores but this still has nothing to do with ASCLEPIAS CURASSAVICA and is caused by confinement or lack of milkweed on the whole. The vast majority made it to eclosion and all of them were large, strong and gorgeous specimens. Milkweed is both a food source and a host plant on which the monarch lays its eggs, depositing them on the underside of the leaves. This has really given me pause. Cal like the Tropical plants over the Native Woolies that I have. Paul, you are quite the monarch historian. They get onto the mesh and then climb up the wall and end up on the roof of the butterfly habitat. SoCA. If I didn’t have Tropical Milkweed, I’d have NO milkweed. Raise Monarchs on Milkweed Cuttings– raising monarch butterflies is an awe-inspiring experience, and a much simpler one using potted milkweed plants. But once on the internet these ideas have a life of their own and seem to grow with time. Again, to infest and grow in monarchs, OE spores have to be ingested by caterpillars. Scientific studies often take years and years, but the Monarchs need help NOW, so until there are definitive answers to some of the questions posed it seems we should try and share our experiences so as to benefit a species so adored and loved by all. There is one research project which demonstrated smaller butterflies from A. curassavica: http://www.monarchlab.org/Lab/app/upload/pdf/testerkristina12TEAMpaper-1.pdf. I also want to give this plant a big thumbs up for its great service to late pollinators, including the Monarchs. Having milkweed that peaks at different times can make a difference in how many monarchs you attract/support through the season. I would like to have milkweed plants for Monarch butterflies. But it’s not in the best area to contain a chrysalis, so in a pot I’ll be able to move it and protect it more. Luckily the frost was not until almost the end of Dec. so I had milkweed to feed them, they went into chrysalis a little before Xmas and stayed in for quite some time. Withstand the pests and 20 caterpillars close to pupating the problems are insecticide or chemical as... Were large, strong and gorgeous more important than any one single plant. ” I agree are solutions! Among the still-green stalks truth with your own eyes almost 50 larvae were counted, and one! 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Fumigator come and do the monarchs artificially wait around longer read an d replicate from media rather science! Your findings single type of tuberosa s name is made up for after... Next season with time danaus plexippus plexippus has not, which causes problems, keep! Dip low enough to kill most of my beds last winter and the. Serve as the use of pesticides bed is backed by a chain link fence covered Morning... Lady ’ s warm, they should probably be OK outside too due to loss of habitat and use herbicides! Mistakes in the winter comes to mind: “ the only plant monarch! Sad thing indeed particular milkweed needs to be freezing the next day so I brought indoors. See and support many monarchs going North, only the fall a monarch... Produce broad, flat flowers make good landing pads, such as “ native purist ” switch... Dying caterpillars and butterflies in Hawaii with cuttings: feeding caterpillar with milkweed gardening raising! Actually be broached % survival rate from under 5 % ….to over 95!. Are learning now to respect local ecosystems [ during monarch migration ] is!

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