- Family: kutrovye.
- Origin: North and South America.
- Rhizome: horizontal, thickened.
- Stem: upright.
- Leaves: opposite or whorled, large.
- Fruit: dry, leaflet
- Reproductive ability: propagated by dividing the bush, seeds.
- Illumination: photophilous.
- Watering: moderate or plentiful.
- Content temperature: some species are not winter-hardy enough.
- Flowering time: 30-35 days, July-August.
Description of the vatochnik with a photo
Vigorous plant with powerful, deep cord-like rhizomes and upright, up to 1.5 m tall, pubescent stems, hollow inside. The leaves are oblong or ovate, large, petiolate, arranged oppositely or whorled on the stem, 3 pieces each, the lower part of the leaf is covered with dense felt pubescence, the outer part is covered with soft whitish hairs. All parts contain a poisonous milky sap that irritates the skin, especially when exposed at the same time as the sun.
The flowers are small, from 1 to 2 cm, on thin pedicels, white, pink, red, collected in racemose umbrellas, appear in July-August. In the middle lane, the fruits ripen only under the condition of a hot summer. They have a spindle shape, resembling the body of a swallow, for which the flower was popularly called the swallow. The ripened seeds are covered with a cotton-like wavy fluff, which gave the plant a different name, the cottonwort.
The scientific name, after the Greek god of healing Asclepius, was given to the culture for its healing properties. In traditional medicine, it is used internally and externally for some skin diseases, as well as hard-to-heal wounds and ulcers, contains substances that have a beneficial effect on heart diseases and arrhythmias. It must be remembered that the plant is poisonous, so uncontrolled intake and overdose of its preparations are unacceptable!
The homeland of most species is North and South America, where they grow along roads, in forest belts, in wastelands. They were brought to Europe in the 17th century, at first they were used as an industrial crop for the manufacture of ropes, fibers for coarse fabrics, furniture and soft toys were stuffed with fluff. They tried to extract rubber from milky juice, but its production turned out to be unprofitable.
Currently, technical oils are produced from seeds, plants are grown as a honey plant, some species are cultivated as ornamentals.
Decorative types of milkweed: Syrian, red, orange and other varieties
Syrian milkweed (A. syriaca L., A. cornuti Decne) , tall, up to 1.5 m, perennial shrub with dense, stable, pubescent stems, large oblong-ovate leaves and fragrant flowers, collected in apical or axillary inflorescences-umbrellas. The color is light pink, white or reddish green. Flowering time – July (30-35 days). It blooms later in the shade, but blooms longer. It grows strongly, therefore it is recommended for cultivation in single plantings, where it is easier to regulate the number of stems.
Meat-red or incarnate (A. incarnata) , a perennial with densely leafy branched stems up to 120 cm high and slightly hairy elongated leaves located opposite. The flowers of this species are red, pink-purple, collected in umbellate inflorescences up to 6 cm in diameter. Blossoms in July – August 30-35 days. It has a delicate pleasant aroma, reminiscent of fresh chocolate butter. There are varieties with white (Ice Ballet), pink (Sinderela) coloring of flowers.
Tuberous tuber (A. tuberosa) , a perennial plant with elongated pubescent leaves and erect hard shoots 50-70 cm high, ending in dense bright orange inflorescences with a pleasant smell that attracts insects. Often, up to 5 butterflies can be observed on one flower at the same time. Blooms profusely and continuously from July to September. Usually the flowers of the tuberous milkweed are orange, but on sale you can find, for example, the variety mixture “Gay Butterflies” with yellow, orange and red flowers.
Curassavian (A. Curassavica) , perennial shrub up to 100 cm tall, evergreen, with erect stems and opposite lanceolate leaves on short petioles, dark green above and gray-green on the underside. It blooms from spring to autumn with orange-red flowers with a yellow core, collected in umbrellas up to 10 cm in diameter, on the tops of the shoots. Extremely thermophilic, grown as a houseplant. Propagated by seeds and cuttings. Seeds planted in the ground germinate in 1-3 months. Young plants bloom 5 months after planting, which makes it possible to use the species in the garden as an annual crop.
Growing and caring for ornamental vines
The plant is unpretentious, grows well in any climatic conditions. Requires a sunny location, not demanding on soil fertility, but develops better on fertilized, slightly acidic loams.
Care has its own characteristics for different types of milkweed. Thus, the Syrian species is drought-resistant, grows aggressively, and therefore it is better to grow it in a dug-in container with good drainage, it is frost-resistant, it hibernates without shelter.
In contrast, the meat-red milkwort tolerates shading, is moisture-loving, more compact, does not require growth restrictions, is winter-hardy, but needs light shelter.
Finally, the third decorative species, the tuberose rattler , also prefers a sunny place and moist soil, but is even less winter-hardy and even with shelter in the middle lane does not overwinter badly. Most often grown as an annual, when using seedlings planted in January-February, it blooms in the first year, starting in July.
Otherwise, care is not difficult, it consists in weeding and watering in dry weather. During the summer period, 1-2 liquid fertilizing with mineral fertilizers is carried out, before flowering (potassium sulfate and urea) and after it (nitrophoska).
It reproduces most often by segments of rhizomes in early spring or in August. Planted plants take root well, bloom in the second year. Seed propagation is hampered by the fact that seeds are rarely set in our climate, and if they are present, it also does not present any particular difficulties. Seeds remain viable for about 3 years, do not require stratification, are sown directly into the ground in May or before winter. When planted in spring, seedlings germinate in 2-3 weeks, bloom in the third or fourth year.
The milkweed grows rapidly, does not require supports, can be in one place without a transplant for up to 20-30 years. Because of the pleasant aroma in the backyard, it is recommended to plant it near recreation areas and windows.