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Happenings in the insect world
by Milli Wright
on September 13, 2017 at 11:46 AM
I am elated to see this info -- especially including photos and name of Asclepias curassavica.  
I am a Master Gardener in San Jose and co-lead an ornamental flower project @ the new Martial Cottle Agricultural Park. We have found Monarchs are very attracted to Asclepias curassavica with no harmful affects. This year we have grown a lot of A. fasicularis in our trial beds and so far have not seen any Monarchs attracted to them.  
I've been trying to germinate A speciosa and have not been very successful. I've tried every method that I've found including stratification and warm water soaking. I've had most luck with the warm water soaking but not enough to be able to distribute plants.  
I'd appreciate any advice for germinating them.  
I bought one A.speciosa 'Davis' plant @ Annie's Annuals this summer.  
I'm wondering if you have seeds for either of these that I may buy as we'd really like to grow more and offer them to the public.  
Thank you,  
Milli Wright - Master Gardener Santa Clara County
by Kathy Keatley Garvey
on September 13, 2017 at 2:33 PM
Thank you for your comment. Louie Yang, associate professor of entomology at UC Davis--he does monarch research--says about seed germination: "I’ve not really had any issues germinating those seeds if they are fresh. I have had low germination rates on older seeds that we’ve had for several years, but fresh seed usually has a >90% germination rate with minimal processing. When germination rates are low, we sometimes cold stratify (soak in water in the refrig for 4-7 days), and will sometimes germinate on filter paper. But we usually are able to just plant seeds directly into pots or plugs. I hope that helps!"
by Dawn Patton
on November 24, 2017 at 2:45 PM
Hedgerow Farms in Winters, CA sells native milkweed plugs and seeds. I got some last year but found that Monarchs prefer. Out of over 150 caterpillars, I only found 2 caterpillars on the A. speciosa.
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