How to Balance pH for Narrow Leaved Milkweed

To balance the pH for narrow leaved milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis), you should aim for a pH range of 5.8-7.2, which is slightly acidic to very slightly alkaline. This step-by-step guide provides advanced hands-on details and home remedies for DIY users to ensure the optimal pH for their narrow leaved milkweed plants.

Soil Preparation and Seed Collection

  1. Collecting and Preparing the Soil: Gather the seeds when the pods start to open with them beginning to fall out. Mix in a bucket of soil, spread that seed/soil mix around the prepared soil in the fall (right after you collected the seeds). Cover with about 6mm (1/4 inch) of soil, tamp down and cover with a thin layer of mulch.

  2. Soil Type and pH: Narrow leaved milkweed needs well-draining soil to prevent standing water. These plants are tolerant of poor soil, like clay soils or silty ones, making them easy to care for even in neglected flower beds. They grow well in clay soil but can tolerate other kinds, as long as water can drain. They grow well on slopes and valleys since water can easily drain away from the roots. A neutral pH level is best, but they can tolerate slightly acidic or alkaline clay soil, as well.

Environmental Factors

narrow leaved milkweedImage source: Pixabay

  1. Sunlight and Temperature: Narrow leaved milkweed requires sun and warm weather to thrive. It needs at least 6 hours of direct sun and is somewhat shade tolerant. It is best suited for hardiness zones 6-10, where it will die back in winter but will come back once the temperatures get warm again.

  2. Watering and Humidity: Narrow leaved milkweed plants are drought-tolerant and don’t require much water. It will only need about 1 inch of water per week, but it can handle some dry climates. However, it doesn’t grow well in deserts, so try to supply your milkweed with water each week to keep them happy. Moist soils are best. When you water your plants, water at the base to prevent the leaves and lavender or purple flowers from getting wet. Wet leaves can increase the chance of fungal infections or other diseases, and some of the diseases they can contract can harm monarchs. Therefore, in the summer, water with soaker hoses or drip irrigation. Careful hand irrigation is also acceptable.

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Fertilization and Harvesting

  1. Fertilizing: Milkweeds generally don’t need fertilizing since they’re native to North America and can tolerate poor soils. If you have a flower bed that’s completely devoid of nutrients, adding compost to the soil may be beneficial. Keep in mind that too many nutrients, especially nitrogen, can be harmful to the plant and wildlife and is necessary for monarch caterpillars to feed on.

  2. Harvesting: Some time in June, the flower buds (NOT the pods) of the Milkweed are still green and unopened. Once you see the mauve color, you are too late – they must be green. You will need a damp cloth to get the sticky white sap off your hands and everything you touch when you are picking and Cut the green, unopened flower buds into a container, and store in the fridge for up to a day or two until you are ready to cook them.

In summary, to balance the pH for narrow leaved milkweed, maintain a pH range of 5.8-7.2, ensure proper sunlight, watering, and well-draining soil. Fertilization is generally not required, and harvesting should be done when the flower buds are still green and unopened.

References
– Milkweed – Growing guide – Wild Foods Home Garden https://wildfoodshomegarden.com/Milkweed.html
– Asclepias Fascicularis, The Narrow-Leaf Milkweed – Epic Gardening https://www.epicgardening.com/asclepias-fascicularis/
– How to Grow and Care for Narrowleaf milkweed – PictureThis https://www.picturethisai.com/care/Asclepias_fascicularis.html