Botanical Name: Asclepias curassavica
Common Name: Tropical Milkweed
Description: Texas adapted tender perennial that is a host and nectar plant for the Monarch butterflies. I always suggest planting both native and the tropical milkweed in our gardens. Some of the native milkweeds can be a bit finicky, but the tropical is super easy to grow. Give it sun to part sun, extra water if it doesn’t rain for awhile, and watch it explode into beautiful red and yellow flowers throughout the warm season. The Monarch caterpillars will eat the foliage, but no worries, the plant will grow more leaves. Because it is a host and nectar plant, this plant cannot have any chemicals used on it. Aphids love milkweed, so expect to get them, but the ladybugs and other good bugs will soon come to the rescue and eat the aphids. The plants are tall and skinny, 3-4′ tall x 1-2′ wide, so they look best planted in masses. Let the flowers go to seed and the plant will happily reseed themselves every year. The seeds are encased in silky white webbing that I think is very pretty to watch floating through the air.
If your tropical milkweed is still blooming in mid-November, please remember to cut it back by at least half so the migrating Monarchs don’t linger here too long instead of continuing their journey down south.
This plant in 1-gallon containers is 1-2′ tall x 1′ wide.
Fun Fact: Aphids love milkweed plants. Ok, well, that’s not a “fun” fact, but it is a fact. I do not treat my plants with chemicals to get rid of the aphids because so many of my plants are host and/or nectar plants for butterflies and moths and the chemicals could kill them. What I do instead is let the good bugs, aphids, lacewings, parasitic wasps, aphid wasps, praying mantis, damsel bugs, soldier beetles, predatory midges, spiders, ambush bugs, pirate bugs, big-eyed bugs, etc, come do their job and eat the aphids. So, yeah, you might find some aphids on the plants you buy from me, that’s just nature’s way of giving the good bugs something to eat. So, please, let them eat aphids!!
Hardiness Zones: 8 – 11