Asclepias seeds supply


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  • #14677


    My first post here, in absolute desparation. I’m in Western Victoria (Aust) and for the first time in 30+ years I’m having a food crisis for my Wanderers. For some unknown reason almost all of my Swan plants (mostly Asclepias fructicosa, a few physocarpus) died last winter. I didn’t worry too much as there are always hundreds of seedlings later. No such luck – we had floods and waterlogged soil for weeks. Very few seedlings for the butterflies which arrive in late January. I was able to find a home for about 150 caterpillars yesterday, about 40 were missed, and there are butterflies mating and laying. It is only a temporary reprieve.

    I can’t find anyone in Australia who can sell me replacement seeds. AQIS has said that Asclepias seeds can be bought overseas, if they are commercially packed not hand-picked.

    Can anyone recommend a nursery that could provide some of the interesting varieties you have? I wouldn’t attempt the Tropical milkweed as we have winter frosts, but any of the others? Or should I take the plunge and order from the US or UK? I absolutely must get replanted before next season!

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  • #28066


    Hullo Lyril, We live in Melbourne and would like to grow some swan plants – how did you get on for a supply of seeds? David Jones



    Hi Lyril,

    Don’t worry about the hemispere’s, it’ll give you no trouble. I hope there is no import resrictions on the rhizones varities you have ordered like there is in NZ.

    A curassavica (Tropical milkweed in English) is great for caterpillars & the adults prefer it for nectar in my experince. However, it is more frost sensivtive then the Swan Plants (G fructicosa & G physocarpus), so plant them in a pot to become a house plant in the winter.




    Just wondering – has anyone had any experience in germinating seeds from the northern hemisphere? They would be coming from end-of-winter into the start of our cold period, so I am wondering if here we wait until our warmer weather before attempting to germinate. I’ve ordered Asc. speciosa, tuberonse and curassavica from OS, but I’ll get some physocarpa and curassavica from New Zealand as well.

    It’s quite cool here now and the butterflies have gone. So hopefully the situation can be improved before next year’s arrivals.




    You can put your last instar caterpillars on pumpkin, raw pumpkin (fruit), Lyril. Use a potato peeler to slice thin pieces, and drape them over what’s left of your plant.





    Thanks for the suggestions. The NZ supplier only had Asc. fructicosa (and I hope I have healthy seed pods from my one remaining mature plant) while the Aust supplier was out of stock.
    So I’ve ordered: Asc. curassavica, speciosa and tuberose from overseas. Has anyone tried any of these? I like the sound of speciosa – can spread from rhyzomes so it might be hardier. I have found one young physocarpus that I’ve moved to my greenhouse and hope to get pods later. Very few of the smaller swan plants will recover – some are totally bare, others have only a few leaves left.
    I spent today collecting every one of the smaller caterpillars I could find and frig/freezing the poor things. I’ve left most of the last instar ones as they shouldn’t eat for much longer. There are far too many butterflies mating and laying though so I’ll have to deal death pretty frequently.
    Never again!! I’m reading every tip I can find on this terrific forum about germinating seed. If I can get enough to strike I’ll distribute them among friends as a backup.
    This has been such a horrible experience!



    Or this if you can’t get any in Australia:

    Good luck



    Hi Lyril,

    Try Kings Seeds Australia:

    Kings Seeds
    PO Box 2785
    QLD 4670
    Tel: 0061 7 4159 4730
    Fax: 0061 7 4159 4881

    Good luck with your project Lyril

    Cheers – Jane

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