Tropical Milkweed Blooms in Frigid January?!

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.

Tropical Milkweed Blooms in Winter
Tropical Winter

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!
Check out photos and video of this propagation method, so you can see just how easy it is to start Asclepias curassavica (tropical milkweed) from stem cuttings.

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…

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9 Comments

  1. WOW what a great idea I’m glad that I stumble on to this article.
    I have some tropical milkweed seeds and I was going to wait til April 1 st to start them but now I’m starting them as soon as I get my hands on some soil ….
    Thanks.

      1. Where can I find the plant, Walmart in north kingstown ,RI…had them but they were already half dead from poor treatment so at the time I didn’t know I could’ve made cuttings, I haven’tfound any at lowes and home depot…where else?

  2. in reading your post, it sounded like you took the plant inside(before the 1st frost?), then took some cuttings , let it regrow , then took some more cuttings. is this correct? if so, at what months did you take your cuttings to get them ready for last frost( in our area april 15? also, one site said you have to have 20 plants to support one monarch and if you don’t then the monarch will hatch but run out of food before it can reach the nectar stage of food and starve.please comment .

    1. Hi William, if you’re just putting them in water two months would be enough time to get cuttings with a great root system. If you have an actual hydroponics system, you could take cuttings in the fall and have nice sized plants by spring. I will be posting more about hydroponics in September.

      One milkweed plant will support 1 or 2 monarchs. It depends on the species/size of the plant.

  3. Have one in a pot on my kitchen counter I started as a cutting, per a suggestion on your page, posted some time ago.
    Thanks.

    1. I’m glad you are having success with your cutting Theresa! It’s a really simple way to grow tropical. This is the first year 100% of mine will be started from cuttings.

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