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Milkweed Plants

Q.When will my cultivated milkweed come up? No sign of it yet.

Zone Zone 6 | krystalmk added on April 28, 2019 | Answered

I am hoping I didn’t mess up last summer and do everything wrong. I do know one stupid mistake I made: I planted bean vines too close to my Hello Yello and so it did rather poorly. (So did the beans: far too much rain, resulting in giant vines but no beans!) I have Ice Ballet (I think) at the east side of the garden in a low spot, it did great. I have the red orange kind tucked into a spot in between, it did OK the first year…but thus far I have seen no spring growth on any of those. However—the Common variety over on the north side is growing up like crazy. Is this normal for the others to be late coming up? It’s almost May and I’m a bit worried. Also, I didn’t mulch any of them — should I have done?

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Answered on April 29, 2019

Yes, some of the milkweeds wait until warm weather to emerge. They also develop extensive roots so they are hard to kill off. I wonder if your red-orange one is butterfly milkweed. It has an amazing taproot and is therefore drought tolerant. Ice ballet is one of the swamp milkweeds and it likes lots of moisture. Be advised that common milkweed can be a thug in good garden soil spreading by underground rhizomes. It is an important milkweed but may not be the best garden plant. If you have room for it to roam, that's great.

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