Preventing milkweed cuttings from wilting

by Vanessa
(Tallahassee, Florida)

I rear my butterflies inside and have to take cuttings of the host plant to put in the rearing cage. My milkweed wilts quickly (within an hour). Sometimes I do something right and it doesn't wilt. I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong or sometimes right.
I usually take cuttings in the morning and I've noticed that the sap flows freely from where I make the cut. Once I take a cutting I immediately put it in water and take it inside. Any suggestions on preventing wilting?

Karen says:
Sorry I'm so late answering this. I have also had this problem sometimes with the milkweed. I usually just try cutting it again and put it immediately in water. If it wilts the second time I throw it out and get more. I am not sure why it does this....age of the plant? time of day? Have you come to any conclusions?

It seems the tropical milkweed isn't quite as finicky.

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Wilting milkweed and oasis
by: Anonymous

I raise Monarchs and am having a terrible time with milkweek immediately wilting.

The young lady that said she puts the milkweed into she talking about the 'foam" OR the 'Floralife" extender packets?? I am trying to find out which worked

Thank you!!

Preventing Milkweed Wilt
by: Anonymous

I also experienced the stems and leaves wilting very quickly on some, but not others. I did discover, though, if you soak the ground and your plants good with water, and keep them watered regularly, the stem/leaves stay a lot longer.

prevent milkweed from wilting
by: Susie

I use the floral oasis from flower shops. I put it in a plastic container with a lid. Fill the container with water so the oasis is saturated. Cut a hole in the lid and replace it. Put the milkweed cutting through the hole into the oasis. My cuttings last at least 2 days this way.

Cats have no food! What can I do?
by: Eve

Freeze killed all my milkweed. The last stem I picked, unknown to me had two eggs. What can I do to feed these two babies? Worried...

preventing milkweeds from wilting
by: Val

We found 4 Monarch cats right before a freeze and only 1 milkweed plant left that still had leaves. I knew I had to make every leaf count. I filled a coffee scoop with water, submerged the stem ends of two leaves and covered the top of the scoop with masking tape. It worked great and the cats ate every bit of the leaf right up to the` tape.

Wilted milkweed
by: Linda Sill

I use the leaves instead of the stalks. I have butterfly weed-lots of it in my garden. I think this would work with wild also. I pick a nice harvest and rinse it in water and spread it out on paper towels. I pat it partially dry and let the air take care of the rest. When the leaves are almost dry (but not wilted), I put them in a freezer bag and take most of the air out and put them in the refrigerator drawer with the produce. I take some out as needed. I am now experimenting on how long it takes for them to go bad. I have a bag that is almost a week old and going strong.

Karen says:
Interesting! Please let us know how long the leaves last for you in the refrigerator.

Wilting milkweed cuttings
by: Susie

I was able to post a picture titled Monarch haven. It shows my setup for raising monarchs and swallowtails using oasis in plastic containers. Notice the chrysalis hanging on the tub. I raised over 200 monarchs and at least 50 swallowtails this year using this method.

Preventing cutting from wilting
by: Susie

I cut a small section of the stalk with maybe 4 or 5 leaves attached. I place the end of the stalk in a container of water, with the end under water, and cut a second time. I learned this working at a florist. I have oasis, or green floral foam, in a small storage container such as a rubbermaid "take along". After cutting a hole in the lid I close the container. Then I place the stems into the oasis that has been soaked in water. My milkweed has lasted for 2 or 3 days using this method.

Wilting Milkweed
by: Anonymous

I have been raising Monarchs for 5 years now and have discovered that a great way to prevent the wild Milkweed leaves from wilting too soon, I keep the plants watered on a regular basis. Of course, my plants are on the edge of our lawn and not in fields. We had a terribly hot, dry summer this year and a lot of the wild Milkweed along the roadsides wilted and died. But I kept mine watered and they are still green now. It is Oct. 2, 2010.

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