JJL Greenhouse Inc

Asclepias curassavica (Butterfly Weed/Milkweed)

Life: Perennial

Size: 3-4'

Light: Full Sun

Water: Very Adaptable, Drought Tollerant Once Established

Soil: Loamy

The perfect plant for butterfly lovers! Their erect stems are topped from spring to fall with clusters of showy, colorful flowers that produce nectar for butterflies. The leaves and stems are popular with insects as well, as Monarchs and Queen Butterflies will lay their eggs and hatch caterpillars on them. Don't worry about the caterpillars eating the plants, though, as they're tough and will come back with even more stems than before. They are also a food source to aphids, which will secrete sticky honeydew that can feed sooty mold fungus and even ants. However, beneficial predators like ladybugs and lacewings will usually come around to gobble up the aphids after a time. None of this is life-threatening to the plant itself, as they are incredibly tough, but if you must intervene, you can wash the aphids away with a squirt of water or suffocate them with horticultural oil or soapy water. Don't use a chemical pesticide or you will kill the caterpillars as well. It can tollerate a wide range of watering, from wet, saturated soils to droughts. Like all milkweeds, the sticky sap is poisonous and can irritate skin.