Milkweed Propagation via Stem Cuttings
Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) can be propagated by cuttings or by seed. It is easy to propagate from cuttings. We will share methods to propagate by seed on another page.
Cuttings should be made from healthy plants. Diseased plants create diseased plants.
If the species or cultivar of milkweed is patented, do not propagate the plant. You could be prosecuted by the person/company that holds the patent on the plant. Watch for “Propagation Prohibited”, “Patented”, or “PPAF” words on labels.
ALWAYS remember that milkweed sap can cause eye damage and extreme pain. Use caution. Do not touch your eyes, face, or forehead when handling milkweed.
Clean soil should be used to root cuttings and a container for the soil (or foam root cubes) should be prepared. Soil should be watered well before cuttings are made. When purchasing soil, do not purchase inexpensive heavy soil. Most inexpensive soils will clump and cannot be watered well once the soil has dried. Quality soil grows quality plants.
Egg cartons, flower pots, paper towel tubes, and many other items work well for this purpose. Cardboard will begin to lose its shape after it is wet. A sturdy container should be placed under these items.
Water should be able to drain from the soil. The soil should not stay wet, sitting in water. This encourages rotting and death of cuttings.
Tropical milkweed roots so readily that rooting hormone is not needed.
Ideally, cuttings will include three leaf nodes. A leaf node is the area on the stem where leaves grow.
Leaves can be taken off the cutting or left on the cutting. If leaves stay too wet, they will begin to rot. This rot can infect the cutting and it may die. If leaves are not removed, do NOT allow leaves to stay wet.
If a tall straight stem is preferred, leave the tip uncut. If a multi-branched full plant is desired, cut the tip off the cutting.
Long stems can be rooted but the resulting plant will not be as attractive as shorter cuttings produce. A long stem can be cut into several shorter stems to create several plants.
One or more cuttings can be placed in one pot. We normally place two or three cuttings per pot.
The cutting should be pushed half-way into the soil. If it is pressed to the bottom of the pot/soil, roots will not have as much space to grow.
The cutting should be watered from the bottom, if possible. If not possible, try to water without wetting leaves if they are left on the cutting.
Water should totally soak the entire pot of soil. Dry spots in the pot can prevent the cutting from rooting as well.
After the soil is watered, it should be able to drain via gravity. Soil should stay damp, not soggy. It should never totally dry out.
Cuttings should not be removed from the soil to check on them. Small roots can be broken from the cutting if it is removed and inserted back into the soil.
Soon several roots will be seen growing from the bottom of the pot/soil. The length of time depends upon the type of soil and temperature of the location of the cutting (room, garden, greenhouse).
Once the soil has generously filled the soil with roots, it can be transplanted into a larger pot. Do not wait until it is rootbound, very little room for soil and basically only roots.
Every time the tip is cut off the plant (use the tops to make more plants), it will branch out and create a bushier plant.