Many gardeners in the US and Canada steer clear of Tropical Milkweed based solely on its red-hot name. While Asclepias curassavica does thrive in warm weather, it’s also a brilliant performer in regions where arctic winters promise certain death.
So how does this tropical plant look so flowery in subfreezing temps? Simple…it stays inside catching rays from a south facing window. Just a couple hours of sun each day is all it needs to look like this in frigid Minneapolis. While I knew this milkweed species could be overwintered, the blooms have been an added bonus on dreary winter days.
To my surprise, only the regular tropical blooms. My ‘Silky Gold’ cultivar is saving itself for the longer days ahead. If I moved it to a sunnier locale or put it under some grow lights it would probably be in full bloom too.
You might be thinking: BIG DEAL! Is saving one plant for next spring really worth all the hassle? My answer, without hesitation, is YES! YES! YES! because:
- Easy care– I water this plant, at most, once a week.
- One=Fifteen– In a few days I will take “cuttings” from this plant to place in a large cup of water. Roots will grow from each cutting and I can plant them directly outside in May. I will repeat this ‘cuttings process’ in March. Out of a single tropical milkweed plant 15 new plants will emerge this spring…probably more!
While starting seeds indoors is another popular option, tropical milkweed cuttings take less time and give you monarch-ready plants earlier in the season.
Have you started tropical milkweed cuttings before or are you going to try for the first time soon? Leave a comment or question below…