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I was walking through an abandoned parking lot, and saw this plant. It's about 5 feet tall (more or less 150cm).

I was thinking of cutting it and placing it in a pot. Considering the plant is already over 5' tall, I don't know if this type of plant will actually flourish in a pot. If I decide to take it home, it would receive as much sunlight as it currently does. But it would be growing in a pot.

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Yes it would grow in a pot but soon outgrow it.

The plant is called Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca); it grows commonly in North America but rarely has white flowers, mostly they are pink to purple. Very fragrant, and a choice food for monarch butterflies. The plant grows from a very deep horizontal rhizome that could be one to two feet deep in the soil; this rhizome is thick and fleshy and has abundant resources which is why it can drive upwards many inches and burst through a crack in concrete and survive quite nicely thankyou. It will also survive some abuse if it is hard to get at.

Probably the best bet for propagation would be to wait for the seed to set (unless it gets sprayed in the meantime). If all the specimens you see locally are white then chances of cross pollination are low. Seed will be produced in large pods - wait for them to mature and you should find lots of large brown seeds in each pod. You can use segments of the rhizome as root cuttings if you can get to it. Look around and you may find a similar specimen in more open ground that is more accessible to deep digging.

Note that in some jurisdictions there can be a prohibition on this plant - once established in farmland it becomes a real pest because of its very deep rooting, ability to network in large communes. So check on your local regulations.

  • Thanks for the info. I already have a much smaller one that I found on a sidewalk and put it in a pot. The one I have is healthy but It grows very slowly. – rbhat Aug 20 at 17:06
  • I liked this one because of the size, but it would only live in a pot since I don't have a plot of land. – rbhat Aug 20 at 17:07
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I'm not sure what the plant is, but you cannot just cut it and put it in a pot, you'd need to dig up the roots, keeping them as intact as possible, and keep well watered once potted up. You'd probably need to reduce the topgrowth by at least a third because the root disturbance will likely cause some dieback, as it's the wrong time of year to dig up and transplant. The presence of the wire fence and the fact it's growing in an extremely narrow strip of soil probably means it won't be possible to dig it out intact anyway.

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