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Propagating Tropical Milkweed From Cuttings
Cut tropical milkweed stems into lengths
which include three or more leaf nodes.
Place the stem right side up in moist soil.
Four inches is a desirable length.
Keep the soil moist but not soggy.
As the roots start to grow, so will leaves.
After roots start showing from the bottom
of the container and leaves are growing on the stem,
the plant has rooted sufficiently for transplanting.
When removed from a liner tray or pot
roots should be white and healthy.
Transplanted into four inch pots,
milkweed cuttings continue to grow.
Time-release fertilizer and
liquid fertilizer boosts growth.
After growing to fill the four inch pot
plants are transplanted into one gallon nursery pots.
These pots host one plant per pot.
More plants can be planted into one pot.

Note the roots growing
from the stem as indicated
by the arrows in the enlarged photo.
This milkweed is growing in a six inch pot.
Note the twelve inch ruler in the photo.
The result of pruning was a well-branched plant.
Only one cutting was placed in this pot.
Healthy tropical milkweed Asclepias curassavica plants should be chosen as parent plants. A 'lead node' is the area of the stem from where the leaves grow. Cuttings should include three or more leaf nodes. The best cuttings are four to five inches long with three or more leaf nodes. When the tip of a plant is used for a cutting, clip the very top off and discard. This causes the plant to branch and grow more stems and leaves.

If your plant grows leggy or drops its bottom leaves for any reason, in a greenhouse or a garden, simply cut the plant from four to six inches tall. It will respond by growing many branches and growing into a bushy, leafy plant.

Tropical milkweed will root anywhere along the stem. If you are propagating other plants, please bear in mind that some plants will grow roots only at the cut area of the stem or only at a leaf node. Tropical milkweed is very co-operative.

Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Soggy soil will rot roots. Keep the cuttings in a shady area until they have grown roots.

Rooting hormone can be used but is totally unnecessary. Tropical milkweed roots easily. Constantly pulling the cutting from the soil is not recommended as it will often break off growing roots.

Tropical milkweed will respond well to heavy nitrogen fertilization. Always use caution, however, as just a tad too much fertilizer can burn or kill a plant. We use a mixture of time-release fertilizer pellets (such as Osmocote) and liquid fertilizer (such as Peters). Fertilizer with a higher first number, nitrogen, is recommended for leaf growth. The second and third numbers, phosphorus and potassium, encourage blooms and root development.

CAUTION! Milkweed sap is extremely painful in eyes. Wiping sweat from your forehead and sweat running over the traces of sap into your eyes often will result in a trip to the emergency room for pain relief. Use gloves and wash your hands throughly after handling milkweed, especially if you are cutting leaves or stems. Note that in the first photo, Stephen is wearing gloves to cut stems. He has visited the emergency room twice for pain relief.