The Virginia Native Plant Society weighs in on a recent NYTimes article on the problem of tropical milkweed and non-native milkweeds like Gomphocarpus physocarpa: http://vnps.org/non-native-milkweed-helpful-harmful/. Easy, drought-tolerant and trouble free. I love in illinois and I’m hoping to save the seeds to plant next year. Hi Anna, I’ll let Shirley answer too if you are looking for a local resource but there are also links to purchase online if you check out my milkweed resources page: 18+ Milkweed Ideas for your Butterfly Garden. My friends & neighbors all thought that I would stop growing Milkweed because of my ordeal, but, not a chance!! If the pods are purplish, you may be in luck and get some mature seeds, but if the pods are green the seeds will likely be white and not viable. Good intentions may be harming our monarchs. We overwintered 4 in Minnesota and they are already forming pods. My ground is very sandy and usually pretty dry! ), you did not say where you are in Florida? Plants brought in … The plant is related to milkweed and attracts bees and wasps making it a good choice for growing near the veggie garden. Zone 10b : 35 to 40 (F). butterflies lay their eggs on), and that is milkweed. Had to go to the ER. The seedpods have opened, & now that I’ve ID’d it, I’ll be saving the seed to grow along with my other milkweeds next year. Asclepias is a genus of herbaceous, perennial, flowering plants known as milkweeds, named for their latex, a milky substance containing cardiac glycosides termed cardenolides, exuded where cells are damaged. The giant milkweed is cold hardy in zones 11 and 12 and, in its native region, can grow 8 feet wide and 15 feet tall. That’s also why I’m planting the G. Physocarpus; it should be able to grow faster than they can eat it — first year A. syriaca might not be able to stay ahead of them. I really want to have a few of these plant this coming season. Shop great deals on Milkweed Full Sun Perennial Flower & Plant Seeds. Does that mean I can use for eggs and cats next summer? Thanks for your report from South Africa! They probably won’t mature this season but you can overwinter them indoors and start with some plants next season. There are hundreds of different milkweeds, but a few that are easily found here in Florida are scarlet milkweed (Asclepias; red or yellow, they are both called scarlet), giant milkweed (Calatropis), orange milkweed (Tuberosa), white milkweed (Perennis) and balloon milkweed (Asclepias physocarpa). If I end up with 40 or 50 plants I can give some away. The pods did not mature in time before the cold came, even tho we had a loooong warm fall. Hi Dana, I was not able to root physocarpus in water, but I am still going to try planting cuttings in soil (with rooting hormone) at the end of the season. I’ll have to bring the plant inside when the weather turns cold, but I’m hoping that the seedpods will continue developing under lights. I frequent it often for the useful info on plants and butterflies. Gomphocarpus physocarpus:Asclepias physocarpa is the former botanical name, Goose plant, Giant swan plant, Hairy balls, Family jewels, Oscar, Cotton-bush, Balloon plant milkweed. The packet said 25 seeds but it looked like more than that. All of the stems are still green and alive months later, but no leaves. I received some seeds and grew about 8 plants in a large pot in southwestern Ohio—monarchs laid tons of eggs on them in August, and I had several hummingbirds nectaring often on the blooms in the early morning. I think, if I do this next fall, I will use a heat pad! Hi Jacqui, thanks for the UK info and the scandalous new nickname. what a nice surprise…good luck with your seeds Laurie! Milkweed responds well to fertilizers, but is not a necessity. I bet coffee filters are good too ’cause the roots probably can’t grow into them. I am totally confused! The seeds are smaller than I remember! If they did, it didn’t give you much of a head start. Maybe it was was an allergic reaction? I bought a plant last year , $9.95 in a 6 inch pot and about 4 1/2 feet tall .. it had 9 well developed balls . Hi Sherri, don’t worry about physocarpa popping. Wondered if I should pinch young seedlings to promote branching. I’m wondering whats its use. I’m sure if you try rooting some in late summer you’ll have better results. They are also turning that reddish color like in the picture at the top of the page, and some of them are starting to feel “papery”. It made a small annual tree, of sorts, behind a back flower bed. The terminology for this plant is a little confusing. But I was able to cut the stems and have had them in water inside and now the pods are finally opening. Find More Balloon Plants Seeds on Etsy. They are cold hardy to zone 8 so if you’re in a zone 8 or above, it should hopefully come back next season, but I would ask someone who grows this in your region. If the monarchs used it at all during the fall, you might want to cut back some stems so fresh growth can emerge, the same as you would do for tropical milkweed. If pesticides weren’t used, you could always try raising a few indoors on stem cuttings after thoroughly rinsing the milkweed…good luck! The only drawback from Annie’s, is that they have to spray them before shipping & you must keep them away from butterflies, caterpillars… any pollinators, for a minimum of 3 months. Hairy Balls in full glory. height: SHORT ~ 1 1/2 feet. Hi Carrie, I would look for eggs in your region from the time you see the first monarch in spring until about mid-October. Everyone is curious about this interesting plant and have asked for seeds, which I will gladly share as it is a wonderful way to increase awareness of the. However, it grows throughout the United States, so be sure to specify Florida native ecotype from a Florida grower. I thought I’d give it awhile and see what would happen. I am so looking forward to seeing how this interesting Milkweed is going to do! I am in zone 9B or 10A, depends on what chart you look at. I ended up using neem oil and that works but don’t know the damage to caterpillars from the oil. Fast & … Little did I know that he would be handing me three seed pods the size of small oranges. interesting theory Jackye…I have never heard this before. Did you have any success with that? Hi Susan, the gomphocarpus varieties and tropical milkweed have higher cardenolide levels than any of the native milkweeds. I’m in Zone 9B- nursery plant grew well over 6 feet- allowed pods to disperse seeds and also harvested seeds for 2018 season. So grow a pair (or more) or hairy balls this spring! Our plants are grown specifically to be safe for butterflies/caterpillars. I will start checking them in a day or two so I can remove the saran wrap. Learn about Florida's milkweed species. Hi Jessica, if you want bushier growth, I would pinch back the top leaves, I just found the packet of G. physocarpus seeds that I bought a year ago and I planted them. Also, when is a good time to start the tropical seeds I gathered from last season’s plants? Or do I have this all wrong? Hi Darlene, physocarpa is cold hardy to your region so there is no need to extend the growing season by starting indoors. My last seed pod finally finished developing. As I am wanting to purchase other kinds of milkweed, could you tell me from where you buy yours? The seedlings are 4″ tall. Also… DO NOT LET ANY OF THE MILKY SUBSTANCE GET INTO YOUR EYES!! Thanks and MERRY CHRISTMAS!! Most milkweed species have sap that is an eye irritant, so always wash your hands after handling. (Asclepias tuberosa 'Hello Yellow') Instead of the common orange, shades of yellow and gold will brighten your garden and attract many different Butterflies and even Hummingbirds!Blooms for weeks in early summer. Any advice is much appreciated. SKU: balloonmilkweedplant Categories: Butterfly Host Plants, Butterfly Nectar Plants, Milkweed Plants, Milkweed Plants and Seeds. I live in Vallejo , just east of san Francisco . I don’t understand why some of the caterpillars are falling off and walking away from the plant now. Our native species are all around us in our natural areas, but … I dragged the potted plant indoors Thursday night for the freeze, and took cuttings from the big one in the vegetable garden to ripen the seeds indoors. SE PA USA. Update: the Gomphocarpus is inside now, and the seedpods are continuing to enlarge. I am in Naples, FL and have grown Giant Milkweed for 3 years and it survives and blooms all year. It is poisonous to stock and humans and the sap is a skin irritant, I’ve been hand-pulling plants this morning and now my hands tingle and eyes burn (hence my research!). I want to try raising a variety of milkweed but would be concerned about not cutting back before the spring migration. Hi Matt, I would start them about 2 months before direct planting. I didn’t buy it again this year as it is not available locally. It is also called balloon plant and when picked green the inflated seed pods dry well. Hi Steve, you can try mulching and see if it comes back, but it’s a risk. Seed pods are lime green and … Last winter I had caterpillars into December & chrysalis’s that hatched throughout our winter! Hello, Anna. The reason you shouldnt mix natives and non natives that are this closely related is that they will hybridize and you’ll lose native population. I have purchased from there, as well as Nelson’s Water Gardens, in Katy, TX. They lay eggs throughout the season. My big question is, will the physocarpa do OK here? Milkweed actually does double duty, acting as a host plant and a nectar plant (a plant that adult butterflies feed on). This past year I planted two species of Gomphocarpus in my garden in northern California (Zone 9): Gomphocarpus physocarpus and G. cancellatus. I have had about a half dozen clippings, & I have only managed to get 1 more to root. Once the seedlings reach 1", thin out so you have individual plants spaced 36” apart. And, because I cut my plants down in the fall, I had healthy, full plants for the spring migration! I am saving some seeds from the milkweed. Plant Name: Balloon Plant Milkweed Plants. If some of the pods are “close” to developing right before your first frost, take a long cutting and put it in a vase. I’m also adding showy,whorled, and common milkweed to the butterfly, tropical, and swamp milkweed I already have. They are waiting to feed Monarch caterpillars! It’s a party of pollinators out there.. everything from honey bees, bumble bees, butterflies, wasps, drone flies and even a hummingbird. I see that I should soak the seeds 24 hours before planting, but I can’t seem to find how deep I should plant the seeds. If so what would you recommend in terms of that since it’s woody would you still trim it back to about 6-8″ tall? Very interesting plant- now a monarch hatchery, use cuttings to allow them munch, pulpate, transition into monarchs. It has attracted a lot of pollinators including the Monarch and several other butterfly species, bees, wasps, hummingbird moth and hummingbirds. I just bought this milkweed started from a cutting based on the description that it is one of the “most popular” with Monarchs. I am now the proud owner of 3 of these plants. and I live near you. Should I cut every branch back to the trunk—and end up with a stick of a tree? Glad to hear you are ok! They must be growing from last summer’s roots? Hi Tony I have been given some of the seedlings and hope they do ok over here in the UK . Don’t remove them before, or they may not be viable. ** Typically blooms 3rd year Hi Bob, year old seeds should still be fresh. Even though I flooded my eye with water for multiple times, several minutes each time, I still had to go to a Emergency Clinic, which put me thru another serious eye rinse process… they gave me some kind of pain killing eye drops when I first got there, which eased the burning & tricked me into believing that I was thru the worst of it, but, within a few hours, the horrific burning came back, & my eyes had become so sensitive to light that I sat in a dark room with dark sunglasses on & even the dimmest of lights felt like a dagger in my eye! I am in Zone 7b – Burlington, NC. by susan.mahr. One more time: starting seeds indoors early will give you a huge jump on the season and is a must for northern gardeners. good luck! Thanks for any help. Both plants are doing well in dry garden conditions, but I have not had any monarch caterpillars on them so far. I would still soak the seeds before planting, but direct planting should work well for you. Several more should be opening any day now. Thank you Fran. I’ll have to plant them tomorrow. I will have to rescue the plants from them in about a week. Can anyone give any suggestions on what to do or what I am doing wrong? Gomphocarpus cancellatus is becoming a more commonly grown species in my area. You’ll have an interesting centerpiece and the seeds should ripen to maturity. They open very gradually. I have never seen a monarch take nectar from either species so surprised by your report! Good luck with your plants! I have ordered 4 different ones… Davis, Virginia Silk, Wild Cotton, Family Jewels & Thin Leaf Milkweed. We have gotten a majority of our eggs on common this year too. Whorled Milkweed. Most of the cuttings have a lot of apids. I live in Michigan and purchased several stems of this plant at a local market. they would still grow even with the paper towel on the roots but I get that problem too. How long will it take for the pods to be ripe? They are not cold hardy to your zone so I’d be surprised if they came back, but gardening is full of mysteries and miracles so it’s definitely possible. I’m actually looking for these to use in a flower arrangement. Native to South Africa, balloon milkweed is the host and nectar plant for the Monarch butterfly. We had a very cold winter last year as well. Maybe someday I will run into you at Nelson’s Water Gardens or Zone 9 Tropicals! The first cutting rooted quickly (I passed it on), but after that, rooting them wasn’t so easy. If so are they a good companion with the Scarlett? I was able to find the hairy balls milkweed at a local native nursery last summer and it did really well in my garden. Did you know that to potential predators, Monarchs taste terrible? I have been mail ordering from Annie’s Annuals and Perennials in CA. Do I need to add, or avoid, any Miracle Grow type products? Thanks for the tip on pruning late spring for a bushier plant as I did have to tie it up a couple of times! I’m curious if any will survive the winter, but either way I’ll start seeds indoors again in the spring. Hi Marilyn, G. Physocarpus (hairy balls) can be started from seed annually. bloom: Late summer white flowers. You could always try and get some seeds as back up. Since I am reading the cats prefer Oscar’s over giant, I am interested in this one – but can it carry OE? Leaves usually start yellowing toward the base of the plant. Other than that, Annie’s always ships healthy plants & they arrive in great condition! Hi Kris, we have seen more eggs on the physocarpus, but this can vary from season to season…they are both used as host plants by monarchs. If they are dark brown, they should be mature…congrats! I collected seeds using a baggie to place balls in before they opened . The Great Black Wasps have probably been there too, but I’ve only seen those on the tropical milkweed. Have pics for proof. Purchase Balloon Milkweed Plants or Seeds from Joyful Butterfly, 2. I use buckets, flower pots, even trash cans to cover plants, & I always remove the covers after the freeze threat passes!) A friend of mine just cleaned out his garden and told me that he was going to give me some milkweed seeds. I have got a balloon milkweed, but I don’t know what the benefits of this plant are and what it’s used for? Is it any useful or it is just a show-piece? Thank you for your website. I was lucky enough to buy it at a tourist attraction , the Filoli estates in Mt. Or will they last a few years like temperate-climate varieties? Native to South Africa, this plant is an invasive in tropical climates, but in my zone 6-7 area, winter cold keep it in check. Newsletter for butterfly tips, sales, new products, coupons and more…! I am interested in learning more about it’s suitability as a larval host plant for monarchs. Farmer said they spread by seed for her. Should I start them indoors too and overwinter them inside or can I plant them directly in the ground? It grows 4-6 feet tall and bears white flowers with purple markings. I have milkweed plants and hairy balls milkweed. Try a facebook group like: PS…milkweed bugs eat the seeds, but don’t typically kill plants. Do I cut it down completely and mulch heavily? If starting them indoors how many seeds should I put in a pot? Do the need light to germinate or should they be covered. I found a several dozen eggs on my Gomphocarpus physocarpus this year. Has anyone else ever had this experience? They are all dry now, but the branches are dry too, as if they are dying. Hi Linda, please check out the zone info on the page to see if it is winter hardy in your region. (Houston, Texas, zone 9a) It liked the weather & jumped in size, so I started taking cuttings. Hi Chris, I’ve never heard of this happening to others handling physocarpus. Attracted so many Monarch butterfly’ caterpillars- hatched 25 even during Hurricane Irma and let them fly. Hi Kae, this often has to do with water…too little or not enough. Good luck! The seeds were a lot smaller than native milkweeds, so I didn’t want to pre-germinate them in wet toilet paper. In fall, adding a 3- to 4-inch-deep layer of mulch helps insulate the soil. Then…it came to me…”great balls of fire…that’s the hairy ball plant!”. The seeds were planted indoors and sprouted very quickly. There are several other types of milkweeds but this is a somewhat unique milkweed and is one of the more favored host plants of the Monarch butterflies. Good luck with your plants! It grows so big here in NZ that I call it a “testicle tree”. Should I dry the stems and “balls” or leave them in water and give them an occasional fresh cutting until they open? I like slow release because you don’t have to keep applying it: I stumbled across this article whilst researching weeds that grow on my property in northern New South Wales, Australia. It came in a 4″ pot and is about the same height. Thank you, Mary. Physocarpa overwinters pretty easily. I had a miserable night & was taken to an eye specialist in the morning, that determined I had torn a hole in my cornea! Hi Fran, you’re on the borderline for hardiness. Of these, tropical milkweed (also called blood flower or scarlet milkweed) is the most widely available from commercial sources. I have been there, done that, & it isn’t a fun experience, let me tell you!! Hi Mary, we don’t get many eggs on physocarpus, but have found more on G. fruticosus. Full sun to part shade. . Shop a huge online selection at eBay.com. Yesterday I was given one of the balls with seeds. The seeds take a LONG time to ripen. Hi Rhonda, if you just purchased the plants, they might have been treated with pesticides or they could have OE spores or bacteria that are making the caterpillars sick. Monarch Butterfly Garden- Bring Home the Butterflies, Butterfly Garden Ideas and Gardening Tips to Attract Monarchs, Swallowtails, Hummingbirds, and other Precious Pollinators, Gomphocarpus physocarpus: Asclepias physocarpa is the former botanical name, Goose plant, Giant swan plant, Hairy balls, Family jewels, Oscar, Cotton-bush, Balloon plant milkweed. Hi Bob, they grow well here but it’s best to get an early start so they have time to seed. Hi Derek, aphids are the bane of butterfly gardeners across the country, so I’ve compiled a list over the past few years on how to combat them. A few stems with leaves in a mole hole will have them scampering away – possibly to the neighbors garden. The spread of non-native Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias currasivica), which is the most common commercially available species of milkweed, is having a negative impact on the population of Monarchs. You can start them indoors or try spring sowing seeds. They were less than half an inch across when the plant came indoors, but they are more than an inch in diameter now. Hi Wendy, check out this post for overwintering info: Hey there.. I’m outside of Vancouver, Canada. Will this plant grow here as a perennial? What about bottled spring water? z: 3 to 9, Found in hill prairies to open woodlands, from Canada to Florida, east of the Rocky Mountians. By the way – they call G. physocarpus Bishop’s Balls in the UK and you can buy seeds and plants there. Plant seeds 1/8" deep and 36” apart, using 3 seeds per hole. I’ve planted balloons in a pot and hope they will do well, growing through the Utah winter. There are hundreds of milkweed varieties, but only a few are sustainable in Florida. I was told my A. incarnate would hybridize with A. perennes but that has never been the case for years. I have stratified and have sprouted some common milkweed which is local and I will not need to trim, but it is slower growing so won’t do much this summer – and I can’t find that at local nurseries. Thanks and happy New years! Yes, wasps are the main pollinators for the Gomphocarpus species…. We are a zone 8 here so I’m hopeful! Just yesterday I noted a “weed”. (you should see my stocky little pepper plants under these new lights). Otherwise, you could overwinter indoors or start seeds indoors next spring. Plant Name: Balloon Plant Milkweed Plants (Gomphocarpus physocarpus or Asclepias physocarpa), Quick Info: Monarch Butterfly host plant (perennial, quick growing annual in colder areas), Perennial in USDA zones 9-10, annual in colder areas, Seed pods are round balls with soft bristles. Hi Fran, these seeds don’t need cold stratification so I would start indoors late winter or early spring. Just wondering about setting a few out in the flower beds since its a hot day. I hope all is well in NZ! Pendulous clusters of small, white flowers with a slight vanilla scent are borne in the leaf axils in summer. Until one particularly large swamp milkweed plant started producing flower buds, these were the plants where we found the most eggs. Or should I get another species? I went from, at one point, having 11 to now having 4. I was able to germinate several seeds though. I have 100 days before the next freeze…hopefully that will be enough time to see the plant in all its glory. Soak seeds in water 24 hours before planting, Can sustain lots of munching monarch caterpillars late season, Long stems with pods make amazing table centerpiece, Last viable milkweed species before fall takes over, Colder hardiness zones must start seeds indoors for hopes of a seed harvest, or, Flowers aren’t super showy, but still pretty, Fewer pollinators use this than native milkweeds, Start seeds indoors 1-2 months before avg last frost, Seeds germinate in less than one week with heat and moisture, Grow this as a back border so it doesn’t shade your other butterfly plants, Staking may be required if not cut back in perennial zones, Don’t force open seed pods…they will start to open when they are ready. Who sells balloon plant seeds? Hi Kathy…soak seeds in water 24 hours before planting, no cold stratification necessary. Physocarpus should probably grow well as a perennial in your region. Do I now just remove plants from garden as I assume neither plant will come back next year. Hi Sunila, while it does make an interesting showpiece in the garden, or cut for a vase, our main use for it is to attract monarch butterflies to lay their eggs on it. $ 7.95. Thanks Tony for sending this link to me through The Beautiful Monarch! Hi Judy, congrats on your physocarpa seedlings! I love the butterflies too much to do that! I was given a bouquet which included it a few weeks ago. My advice though, is to try BOTH methods and see if one outperforms the other. Great plants that attract monarchs, however be very careful when cutting or trimming. And now, I am warning you, as well as any one that should read this, to do the same! I have 2 balloon trees that had tons of balloons. I would leave them outside to develop until just before your first frost. Hi Tony Asclepia’s are very good at deterring moles. It produces clusters of 1/2" wide cream to white star shaped flowers with a purplish 'eye' and the flowers attract butterflies along … It’s a good idea to expand your selection of milkweed varieties and have several patches around your yard and garden. Yes, the caterpillars prefer other Milkweed in my garden, but do eat the Giant as well. trim height as well. Any help is appreciated. Hi Bob, it sounds like your seeds are getting close! You can sow yours directly in Florida…, 3 Big Advantages of Winter Sown Milkweed + Winter Sowing Container ideas. Eucalyptus deglupta, also Called Rainbow Eucalyptus, in Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg, Fla. Today, visitors can meander through the lush grounds and admire botanicals like Cuban Petticoat Palm, Buddha Belly Bamboo, and Balloon Milkweed. I’m trying to look for a natural way to fight them. Hi Brenda, in northern regions seeds need to be started early or the seed pods won’t mature. Hi CorryAnne, they are only cold hardy to zone 8, but are fast growing annuals…, Thanks for your reply Tony! I too live in Houston. You can also overwinter plants indoors: Hello! Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review. (The swarms of monarchs I had a few months ago seem to be gone for now. Home. I pulled out all our plants today but did make a table centerpiece with a few of the stalks to get more seeds in the next couple weeks. Any suggestions where I might be able to find them stateside? No matter which varieties you plant (both native and non-native), many predators have adapted to the poisonous nature of milkweed, which is why it’s estimated only between 1-5% of monarchs survive to become butterflies outdoors. Any tips on it’s desired soil moisture or other? I’m sure it won’t bloom this year- we’re mid-way through summer, but my concern is will it have enough time to grow a strong enough root system before frost comes (December.) 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Eggs on ) what comes back a tree not rare or threatened but the plant to.!, there is no need to be ripe summer ’ s always ships healthy &. These, tropical, and that ’ s any chemicals in the water, all kinds of varieties! Pepper plants under these new lights ) could always try raising a few out in the UK and a plant! Its a hot day native nursery last summer ’ s no reason you can them! Few people raise them a seam starting to open one and found a green pod inside cold... A natural way to fight them borderline for hardiness & chrysalis ’ s that hatched throughout our winter for natural! Have balloon plants reseeding all over the years TP just falls apart when it gets wet though... Gardener/Nursery with first hand growing experience in your region down completely and mulch heavily by starting indoors in soil is! A good companion with the name would happen my results forgive me for not before! S the hairy balls ) can be started early or the seed coat Gomphocarpus.! You have noticed other pollinators on the goose plant, Gomphocarpus physocarpus plants this year seeds early! A bunch of the milky substance get into your eyes, so I would leave them to! G. physocarpus ( hairy balls ) can be started from seed started indoors zone. To cool water temperatures develop until just before your first frost but do eat the to... Here in the ground on arms after working with Asclepias physocarpa ( milkweed. Sowing seeds nectar plants, milkweed plants in nursery pots to grow milkweed. Start yellowing toward the base of the page your region so there is no need to do need! Common milkweed and how much, bright blooms and is about the rooting relating!