Any ideas/suggestions on dealing with this problem. If i could offer a suggestion, find out who your local land grant university is for your state. Asklepios, the Greek god of healing and medicine. Do not compost diseased leaves/stems and risk spreading fungus spores into the soil. Could I have maybe just beat them up a bit too much when I was washing them? Asked July 5, 2016, 1:09 PM EDT. I put in 5 swamp milkweed plants last year. Asclepias purpurascens, commonly called purple milkweed, is a rough, weedy, Missouri native perennial that commonly occurs in dry to moist open woods, dry ridge tops, thickets, glades, prairie openings, stream banks and wet meadows throughout most of the state (Steyermark).It is similar in appearance to common milkweed (A. syriaca), except its flowers are … 3 Big Advantages of Winter Sown Milkweed + Winter Sowing Container ideas. I wouldn’t worry about overusing it though. This develops on the leaves then the leaf yellows and drops off. Avoid pesticide use around this plant to encourage butterflies to use it. It killed the aphids, didn’t harm the butterfly weed and the cats seemed to be ok. Hi Allie…hard to say. Thanks for your time. Scale insects are closely related to mealybugs and aphids, however they are different because they have a shell-like covering that camouflages them and protects them from natural enemies.  Adult scales suck plant juices through tiny filamentous mouth parts and eventually kill the plant.  Scale eggs hatch beneath the shell and seek their feeding sites in the spring and summer. hi Kat, if your plants are getting too much direct sun too quickly the leaves can burn. I thought of cutting down the plant totally just in case I missed something. You should however be very careful to identify the plant properly as it has several poisonous lookalikes including dogbane. Is it dangerous for the caterpillars to eat these leaves? The tachnid fly has been covered. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I have a lot of yellow and black spotted leaves. We support educational programs, conservation and habitat creation. You have been a tremendous help to me! Under ideal conditions, Common Milkweed can become 6' tall and spread aggressively, but it is more typically about 3-4' tall. I have never hurt a plant by using too much hydrogen peroxide. Hi Tony, I live in MA and have about 9 growing cars of various ages. Milkweed gets its name from the milky sap contained in its leaves and stems. To control problems caused by water-mold fungi, take steps to improve soil quality and drainage in the ground and in potted plants.  Do not overwater the plants. This article mentions using a hydrogen peroxide mix to kill fungus. Tony, I’ve been concerned about my milkweed leaves turning purple and dropping off. I have searched for problem solving issues but am not sure what to try now. I sprayed the other plants with insecticidal soap and it seemed to help. Common milkweed, asclepias syriaca, can become a serious problem over time in no-till fields and hay and pasture fields where glyphosate-resistance in the crop is not an option. I though maybe milkweed weevil eggs, but not sure…. Easy to start from milkweed seeds; Sweet fragrant blossoms that fill the air; Cons: Seeding can be a problem unless you take actions below; Blooming period short compared to other species; Prone to aphid pests like most milkweed; Does not transplant well because of long taproot; Can spread invasively through underground rhizomes The pheromone bag is a great idea; I’ve never seen any to buy. Common Milkweed Diseases Leaf Spot (fungus) Root Rot (fungus) Verticillium Wilt (fungus) I also need to know if it’s safe to spray with H2O2 solution when eggs and cats are present? Hi Ralph, I only spray plants after I’ve checked for eggs and caterpillars. We have also had good results from sowing the seed in the greenhouse in early spring, though stored seed might need 2 - 3 weeks cold stratification. The Common Milkweed is a member of the Milkweed Family (Asclepiadaceae). When you purchase new plants, it’s best to place them in a shadier area and gradually exposing them to more sun. What can I do to save the plant? Thanks, Terry Greenwell. I also have some butterfly bushes that have a little bleach looking area, but the milkweed is more worrisome for me. It is so odd! If aphids are damaging the milkweed in your garden, simply use a wet paper towel to remove them. There are really only two choices.  Go outside after 10:00 PM and smash the critters, or use snail bait.  The bait will not harm the monarch larvae if they are on the plants.  When the plants get large there is not much of a problem except for very small snails. Hi Sara, this happens to milkweed in mid-late summer…most often on swamp milkweed. They all have the problem. The problem is compounded by evidence that Mexican milkweed plants that survive a mild winter can host a deadly protozoan parasite called … The White Milkweed thrives in open upland forests and … I have hatched over 90% by protecting them. You water with a hydrogen peroxide and water preventable y? Thanks! Since milkweed species have varying needs for sun, water and space, pay extra attention to growing requirements. Hi Lynne, I’m not a plant disease expert. Hi Pat, I’m not familiar with the issue. I wonder what the issue is. I have also noticed that the leaves on some plants (even in other locations) are very small. Hi Marcella, I remove problem leaves and discard. check out this post to learn more about monarch predators and what you can do to save more monarchs: Hi Tony, is it safe to spray milkweed with a baking soda mixture or would it be harmful to cats. I’d also like to add that last year I had the worst aphid infestation imaginable. I was going to dig up most of their milkweed and transplant it. it may perform better if it’s allowed to go through the winter part of it’s growth cycle, which it is able to do in perennial zones that still experience a true winter where the plant dies back. The only plants not infected are the family jewels plants. The milkweed in my backyard raised bed is afflicted by this. All proceeds are considered a donation to the organization.  The leaves begin to turn yellow and then brown, and the plant dies.  The fungus can survive in the soil for years. Little yellow spots have developed on the leaves. However, milkweed is an important food source for the Monarch caterpillar. I also use it for overwintering plants indoors. I recently bought and planted 4 nice sized Asclepias curassavica ‘Silky Deep Red’ – Red Butterflyweed plants. Hydrogen peroxide also adds more oxygen to the soil to prevent root rot. I would focus on adding more pesticide-free milkweed plants to your garden, or there won’t be enough to feed them all. Common milkweed is a perennial, herbaceous plant that grows to heights of 2 to 6 feet on solitary stalks. I’m not positive but it might be leaf scorch from too much sun. Suggestions: The brown chrysalises can be a bacterial infection. If you cut back the burnt foliage, new growth should appear healthier…good luck! I can’t find anything that says if this is normal Fall behavior or not (chicago, zone 5b). I waited a bit and bought two more plants from a different nursery and tried again. We remove any problem leaves and treat soil preventatively with hydrogen peroxide which has worked well for us. I tried to call the second different nursery to get their input. Suggestions: But if it’s sickly, obviously I don’t want to do that. Est. PS…I don’t think it would be toxic to future eggs/caterpillars, but you could always rinse off the plants with water if you are concerned. Any suggestions? Hi Erin, Asclepias curassavica does not ‘contain’ OE spores…they are left on the plants by sick butterflies taking nectar and/or depositing eggs. Everything is super clean. Thoughts? Suggestions: This plant can be weedy or invasive according to the authoritative sources noted below.This plant may be known by one or more common names in different places, and some are listed above. Most of the milkweed plant is edible including its leaves, stems, flowers and the seed pods. I am not sure if the plant is dying, the sun is killing these leaves or if this is normal. They then told me because my plants were indoors that that was the problem. Do you know if those bacteria based fungicides are safe to use around monarchs? Tel: (760) 599-7228 I’m in central Florida. Could it possibly be water related—not enough or too much? It is working its way up from the bottom of the plants. If I water my milkweed plant (from the base) it turns yellow, if I dont water it wilts. Hi Kathy, it sounds like you are having a major issue with tachinid flies. I’m not sure what causes it, but it’s never been a serious problem. Hi Claire, we typically use the h2o2 preventatively on small plants and soil before the plants come up. Hi Michelle, we use h202 preventatively (in spring before milkweed emerges) and to overwinter plants indoors. We are still processing orders for host plants and livestock. I suspect they came from the same butterfly and the sae thing would have happened in the wild, but it’s horrible to watch. I didn’t see anywhere that talked about how often you can spray. 4. Hi Joanne, I’ve seen this before too and just removed the affected leaves. It’s been all day now and they’re slow to munch. hi Caroline, sounds like it could be a fungus…if supply is low I would just offer them the best of what you have. When it make sense, prune away entire sections of the plant. I am doing a project on the Monarch Butterflies and it includes their decline. Hello! Multiple herbicide applications are often required. Should I just cut them all back and treat the ground and let them try to re-grow? I’ve never heard of fungus spreading like this. More info here: I planted tropical milkweed in a sunny area in my moist garden about four weeks ago. common milkweed. Small, white flowers that have a purple center mature in May-July. Hi Anissa, yellow leaves is more common from overwatering, or if its yellow spotting, it could be a fungus: If you spray the plant with hydrogen peroxide, won’t that kill the monarch caterpillar? Hi Katie, this is normal for swamp milkweed and I’m not sure what causes this. Leaf spots on milkweed plants are usually red, brown, or black.  The spots often enlarge and coalesce infecting the entire leaf which drops.  Severe infections can defoliate the plant.  The fungus spores that cause leaf spot are airborne or waterborne.  The disease is far less serious in dry climates with low rainfall. When leaves turn yellow, or start getting spotting/discoloration, try one or more of the following: If you’ve successfully conquered milkweed diseases by using other techniques not listed, please share your experience and help a gardener out…, Valentine Gift Ideas for a Butterfly Lover, Start or Improve your Monarch Butterfly Garden, Butterfly Garden Book for Monarchs- Instant Download, Start Raising Monarch Butterflies Here…, Top Tools, Supplies, and Resources for Raising Monarch Butterflies, Monarch Butterfly Kits to Raise Caterpillars into Butterflies, 25 Milkweed Plant Ideas for North American Butterfly Gardens, Winter Sowing Milkweed Seeds Part 1: Supply Checklist. Often called milkweed aphid, this pest can be a problem for young milkweed plants — older plants are more equipped to handle the damage. Is it safe to use the solution on the plants with eggs? I soak the soil with the solution before plants start coming up. L.). Thank you, Hi Gloria, I use it preventatively and haven’t had to use it during the season. Most leaf miners that use milkweed are very small wasp larvae.  They feed between the two layers of a leaf material making a swirling design.  Their consumption of the leaf parts eventually kills the leaf.  They are extremely difficult to control when large numbers of milkweed plants are cultivated. Thanks. U.S. Weed Information; Asclepias syriaca . A native plant in central and eastern North America, Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) blooms during the summer. Most universities have a insect rearing lab that could answer your question. The specific epithet, syriaca, was named after Syria It can also prevent another common fungus that causes milkweed to wilt and die. 2. I live in central FL and this is my second year raising monarch butterflies. Hi Cait, I cut ours back with a hand pruner. I’ve not been successful with the last 80+ caterpillars. hi Meg, if it’s not planted in well drained soil, root rot is a possibility, although i haven’t seen this with tropical milkweed in our northern region. C-Value: 0 Do you know what would cause this stunted growth and discoloration? They are Less than 1 Year old. It has never developed into a serious issue, so I don’t believe it’s a fungus/disease. I then asked if anyone else had called with the same problem. I checked for spiders/mites etc but can’t seem to figure out what has happened. As of this morning I have officially lost over 40 caterpillars again. Plant diseases shouldn’t affect caterpillars, but if you have access to healthier milkweed I would use that. It propagates easily by seed and will naturalize in the garden, taking up quite a bit of space. nope…just the 3% commonly found in stores. In the spring I lost over 40 and called the first nursery. Is this something that happens to milkweed? It appears like a fall changing leaf, but the leaves otherwise are healthy. Noteworthy Characteristics. Thin out the herd– if your milkweed plants are crowded, your milkweed patch can become a breeding ground for fungi. Common names vary wildly, so use botanical names when you’re researching. Milkweed has a reputation of being extremely bitter which puts a … Not sure I want to go there. One of the most common and noticeable native milkweed species, the clusters of bright orange blooms on this species are seen on roadsides from Florida to Canada. I don’t generally treat plants outdoors after the season has begun. Despite serious safety concerns, people take swamp milkweed for digestion problems. Excess water can suffocate plant roots if there are not enough spaces in the soil.  Most plants need well drained soil and good aeration.  Overwatering causes water-mold fungi if the water stands too long around roots, especially with warm soil. Help! Filed Under: Milkweed Garden Ideas, Milkweed Garden Pests and Guests, Organic Gardening. It begins on the edges of the leaves and gradually the whole leaf becomes purple. Suggestions: The extremely fragrant blooms attract and benefit many pollinators. Thanks for any advise. Is this from too much shade or what? Hi Ralph, I’ve never heard of anyone doing this, so I would suggest testing a plant. Here’s more info: As for the rest, are you in a region with increased mosquito spraying this season? I then explained that I had been doing things this way for a long time and never before had a problem. I am learning that the Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) contains a protozan parasite Ophryocystis elektroscirrha that kills off the monarchs and the caterpillars. Asclepias are prone to several insect pests. Common milkweed is the primary food source for larvae of the monarch butterfly in Iowa and the Cornbelt. 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