Antelope Horns Milkweed
The name comes from the seed pods. This is a small indigenous milkweed that in theory grows in the Blackland Prairie here in Central Texas. Though I’ve looked, I haven’t actually seen it in the wild so I was thrilled to receive some pass-along seeds. The donor was generous. If any local gardener wants a few please let me know. I am happy to share the love. Let’s feed those butterflies!
Fresh or dried seed: Either. Fall planting is usually recommended but people have had success with spring sowing too. Here in Austin there is usually a sweet spot in October where for one magical week we get continuous gentle rainfall combined with mild temperatures. Blink though and you’ll miss it.
Special Treatment: These milkweeds develop a delicate tap root that can be easily damaged so direct sowing is probably best. If you do start the seeds in pots be sure to transplant as soon as the first true leaves appear. When you put them outside they can be buried to the point just below the cotyledons. The stem beneath will become part of the root. As is usually the case with wild plants I have heard mixed reports on how long they need to be stratified. One source said 2-3 weeks; another insisted on a 12 week period. The Xerces Society recommends not going beyond 9 weeks because the chance of rot increases past that point. So, basically your guess is as good as anyone’s! If you have a steady hand, you can nick the seed coat with a blade or rough it up with some sandpaper. Removing the entire seed coat can result in 100% rate of germination. Slugs and snails may be a problem while the plants are still small.
Planting depth: 1/4 inch
Preferred temperature for germination: Around 65 – 70 °F. One source said 80°F. Most sources seem to agree that the plant wants a blast of warm weather to wake up.
Days to germination: Reports are mixed. Some say the seed will germinate almost immediately after stratification but one source said germination can occur anywhere from 1-3 months. I just love how mysterious native plants are.
Vegetative propagation 10 cm basal cuttings in late spring when they are actively growing.