Pick a location with full sun and prepare soil for good drainage, if needed. You can plant milkweed starter plants purchased at specialty nurseries. The plants are unlike any other milkweed species and small individuals are commonly confused with juvenile pine trees. But this beautiful plant requires care in handling. Plant milkweed — it’s the sole food source for monarch caterpillars and is attractive to many pollinators for its nectar-rich flowers. Milkweed plants benefit from vernalization, a process of cold treatment, before sprouting. Asclepiadaceae, Milkweed Family Form Sub-shrub Range Southeastern California, southern Nevada, western Arizona, and northern Baja California and Sonora, Mexico Habitat Mainly desert washes, also rocky slopes and plains Living Desert Location MacDonald Butterfly Garden, Upper … Landscape Use This plant’s form creates a strong vertical accent in the landscape. Then water every 4-5 days after that. It is an invaluable addition to the butterfly garden, because it is such a crucial food source for the larval stage of the Queen and Monarch butterflies. Milkweed Pollination . Provide regular water for the milkweed plants to keep the soil evenly moist throughout the growing season. I don't do anything special with them at all. Find milkweed grown at the Garden in our Garden Shop and biannual plant sales. The white milky sap that oozes from cut stems contains rubber. Click here for more info. Any species in the milkweed family will do, but the easiest to grow is the common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca. Choosing and Planting Low Water-Use Plants. Milkweed is a beautiful plant with beautiful flowers. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different." You can keep it in check by plucking off all the flowers before they turn into seedpods. Leaves 2 inches long by 1/8-inch-wide appear on new growth but soon drop. Milkweed vines in the Sonoran Desert have undergone many name changes, varietal names, species splits and combinations. Please be sure to read our safety measures before you make your reservation. New growth often has small leaves that don’t stick around unless there is ample humidity. Carefully remove the plant from the pot, trying not to disturb the roots too much. It is hardy to at least the low 20s F. After plants are established, they can tolerate long periods of drought. Dec. 28-31 | The Garden will close at 4 p.m. and reopen to Luminaria ticket holders at 5:30 p.m. Arizona Milkweed or Asclepias angustifolia is another great variety to try. Most aphid species are greenish, however, the most common species found on members of the milkweed family are bright orange-yellow. The Garden will be closed Dec. 25. The pod is ornamental too: horn-shaped and 3 inches long, it narrows from a ¾ inch diameter base to a point. This species does better with additional water. Milkweed is crucial to the life-cycle of the monarch butterfly. They all seem closely related varying in leaf shape and the degree of hirsuteness. Common milkweed plants grow to about 2 to 4 feet in height, with a thin, vertical growth habit. Care must be taken when incorporating milkweed into your garden. I mixed a pot of 2/3 well composted cow manure (very fine black crumbly), and 1/3 all purpose sand. In the United States, loss of milkweed habitat is a major factor in the decline of the monarchs. They get this when planted outside, but to speed up the growing process, treat the seeds through stratification. I just plant them (barely covered in soil) in moist potting soil and water them when they're just starting to get dry, and I … New growth often has small leaves that don’t stick around unless there is ample humidity. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Arizona has at least 29 species of milkweed native to the state, which means you can find the right milkweed for your backyard. Native Distribution Desert Milkweed typically grows in sandy washes and less frequently on desert plains or rocky hillsides. - This plant is easy to take care of in Phoenix, because it is drought resistant. “Milkweed – Beautiful and Dangerous. Book: Rubber Content and Habits of a Second Desert Milkweed (Asclepias Erosa) of Southern California and Arizona Ralph E. Beckett, Edward N. Duncan, Robert S. Stitt U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1938 - 11 pages Where can I purchase Desert Milkweed, and how/when would I go about planting it in Yuma, Arizona? Some examples of species with narrow leaves would include the Asclepias verticillata, or whorled milkweed and the Asclepias linaria, or pine needle milkweed. It occurs in southern Nevada, western Arizona, and southeastern California, and in Baja California, Sonora, and Sinaloa, Mexico, from near sea level to 2500 feet. Milkweed will provide Monarch Butterfly habitat and can be planted along building foundations as it is here (behind the blooming aloes) at the Fiesta Police Department in Mesa. From spring through fall, flat-topped clusters of pale yellow flowers top each stem. Leaf: 3 to 6 inches, opposite, thick textured, blade lanceolate, sometimes clasping stem. Milkweed Calotropis Seeds. Plant milkweeds to provide habitat for Monarch Butterflies. Asclepias erosa, also known as desert milkweed, and Asclepias cordifolia, known as heart-leaf milkweed, would be … OPEN DAILY 8 A.M.|7 A.M. FOR MEMBERS WED. & SUN. Walk-ups are only permitted as capacity allows. Requires very little supplemental water once established. Add more soil if needed to maintain the soil line. The pests are usually seasonal and don’t seriously stunt the plants. Native American Ethnobotany compiled and edited by Daniel E. Moerman (1998), and Food Plants of the Sonoran Desert by Wendy C. Hodgson (2001). Desert Botanical Garden is helping monarchs with our Great Milkweed Grow Out initiative through: Milkweed (genus Asclepias) is the only plant that monarch butterflies can lay their eggs on and that caterpillars can eat. - The Desert Milkweed only has leaves after a rainfall. It may be hairless to very fuzzy. Grows to be 8-10 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide. Plant in … The pod splits open when ripe to disperse a silvery fluff of seeds. Others have considered it toxic. I've started dozens of them from seeds and they're very gratifying. Take care of milkweed plants to ensure a thriving milkweed patch in your landscape. OPEN DAILY 8 A.M. | 7 A.M. FOR MEMBERS WED. Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is a native herbaceous perennial whose main virtue is its appeal to butterfliesespecially the monarch, which deposits its eggs on the milkweed. You might us it in a courtyard or near a pool. Growing Instructions: Start Desert Milkweed seeds outdoors in late November. Without milkweed, monarchs will not survive. Always wear gloves when handling the plants and wash hands and skin thoroughly if you come into contact with them. From time to time, Water – Use It Wisely features guest bloggers who write about topics related to water and water conservation. Desert Milkweed is a regal vase-shaped perennial with grey green stems. You can find plant descriptions like this and many more in her book Native Plants for Southwestern Landscapes. By now you are probably asking that if milkweed is toxic, how come Monarch caterpillars are able to eat it? Dig the hole only as deep as the roots but twice as wide. The range of desert milkweed extends from western Arizona and southern Nevada, into southeastern California and Baja California, Sonora, and Sinaloa, Mexico. Desert Milkweed Asclepias subulata The Desert Milkweed, a tough native with creamy-yellow flowers that appear in spring, summer, and fall, are absolutely delectable to butterflies. Desert Botanical Garden is helping monarchs with our Great Milkweed Grow Out initiative through: On-site programming is currently on hiatus. The Seris used the roots for headaches, toothaches and heart … Culture Good drainage is important for Desert Milkweed, as is full sun. Easy to germinate "if seed is viable". About Desert Milkweed (Asclepias erosa) 3 Nurseries Carry This Plant Add to My Plant List; Asclepias erosa is a species of milkweed known commonly as desert milkweed. Giant milkweed (Calotropis gigantea, syn. The stems and leav… Common name: Desert Milkweed Latin name: Asclepias erosa Family: ASCLEPIADACEAE Color: Cream, greenish white Height: 18 to more than 36 inches tall. When the soil dries, water the planting area again to moisten it without over-saturating it. That’s why we love desert plants and feature them each month. Gently tamp down the soil around the roots. It is native to southern California, Arizona, and northern Baja California, where it is most abundant in the desert regions. The name "milkweed" refers to the milky, white sap that is present in most members of this family, and the habit of growing in poor or "weedy" soil. Learn more at Southwest Monarch Study. Medicinal use of the herb: None known Known hazards of Asclepias erosa: Although no specific reports have been seen for this species, many, if not all, members of this genus … Full image of a Desert Milkweed - Can reach hieghts of 4 ft. - The Desert Milkweed grows best in full sun. Can you recommend a variety of milkweed that starts to germinate in early spring. It is hardy to at least the low 20s F. After plants are established, they can tolerate long periods of drought. Place the plant in the hole and carefully replace the soil you set aside around the roots. Desert Milkweed will thrive in a location with lots of sun and reflected heat, such as near a pool where it will make a stately accent. Also, be sure to read through all of our featured Plant of the Month blogs! There are 108 species of milkweed in North America. Place seeds into a container of moist soil, cover with a plastic bag and refrigerate for at least three weeks. Description Desert Milkweed, Asclepias subulata,  has slender gray-green stems that grow vertically to 4 feet from a woody base. But you may be asking, “should I prune milkweed.” Milkweed pruning isn’t really necessary, but deadheading milkweed can enhance appearance and encourage further flowering. I love desert milkweeds--they're one of my favorites. Desert Milkweed lends an authentic note to desert wash plantings, and the flowers attract butterflies. Excessive watering encourages succulent growth favored by aphids. milkweed (Asclepias spp.) Visit our page on Choosing and Planting Low Water-Use Plants for tips on plant selection and how to plant properly. It is great for hot areas with full sun. The plant’s spread can reach 2 feet or more. Plant … Monarch butterfly populations have declined as much as 90 percent over the last two decades. Asclepias erosa is a species of milkweed known commonly as desert milkweed. Advance Ticket reservations are required. This is a great article. You will now enter our LEARN portal, if you are a member, please login using the button on the top right corner of the page. You can help by planting milkweed and nectar plants in your backyard. We recorded video providing the first conclusive evidence that the black-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus californicus) consumes Mojave milkweed (Asclepias ny… species known to exist in ... consulting native or Western health care workers. Grows to be 2-3 feet tall by 2-3 feet wide. Use drip irrigation or turn the hose on so the water just trickles. Growing milkweed. Showy milkweed is a member of the milkweed family (Asclepidaceae). Lightly water the plant until the soil is saturated. This nearly leafless, succulent milkweed is one of the hardiest plants you can have in your landscape. In the summer you can water at the same frequency but for a longer period of time during each watering. The distinctive yellow/white flowers bloom from spring to fall, and the Desert Milkweed is one of 30 known milkweed species that is considered a Monarch butterfly host plant. It is native to southern California, Arizona, and northern Baja California, where it is most abundant in the desert regions. HISTORY & FOLKLORE Historically, various Native Americans throughout its range have used desert milkweed as a medicinal plant. Arizona milkweed (Asclepias angustifolia), Antelope horns milkweed (Asclepias asperula). Plant into containers, if desired, and place under a grow light inside about six weeks before soil temperatures outside have warmed. Use a pair of pruning shears. For Asclepias angustifolia, water every 2-3 days. Set the soil aside. W… Makes a great screen plant once full size. Asclepias gigantean) is a quaint shrub or small tree with plenty of character. It is winter dormant, but grows quickly to 3’ to 6’ tall in the spring. It tolerates a range of soils, given that they are fast-draining. Description. Monarch larvae (caterpillars) will only feed on milkweeds in the Asclepias family. Mother and daughter in masks at desert botanical garden. Monarch butterfly populations have declined as much as 90 percent over the last two decades. Prefers some protection from the harsh summer sun. November 30, 2013. Milkweed is best grown in naturalized areas and meadows as it tends to spread and take over more formal garden settings. The long, oblong leaves are light green and grow to about 8 inches long. ARIZONA-SONORA DESERT MUSEUM PLANT CARE INFORMATION Desert Milkweed Asclepias erosa DESCRIPTION: Desert Milkweed is a perennial herb with erect yellow-green stems and foliage in shades of pale whitish-green to dark green with white veining. Keep the soil moist by misting, but seeds can rot if allowed to sit in soggy soil. Pineneedle Milkweed makes an attractive natural looking desert landscape plant with its interesting shape and unusual flower clusters that attract butterflies and other insects. The plants are also enjoyed by the Monarch look-alike, the Queen Butterfly. See you soon! You can learn more about Desert Milkweed and other plants on our Arizona Low-Water-Use Plants page. Desert Botanical Garden is helping monarchs with our Great Milkweed Grow Out initiative. Description: Cluster/umbel of flowers on white wooly stems and leaves that become smooth with age. I’m in zone 5b (southern Ontario) and grow swamp milkweed but it usually doesn’t start to come up until mid/late spring and usually isn’t a decent size until at least early summer. Excessive watering encourages succulent growth favored by aphids. Cultivation of Desert Milkweed: Dry slopes and washes below 1500 metres in California. Desert Milkweed will thrive in a location with lots of sun and reflected heat, such as near a pool where it will make a stately accent. Culture Good drainage is important for Desert Milkweed, as is full sun. Propagation: Growing native milkweeds to build habitat, Expanding Monarch Habitat: Planting habitat and milkweed at schools and community centers, Milkweed Research: Finding the best native milkweeds to support monarch and pollinator populations. Seedlings (in a black cone) can be planted in the ground or in a larger pot. Positive: On Jul 1, 2008, kittysue from Fairborn, OH wrote: I collected my seed while in Las Vegas. View Arizona milkweed plant information at Plants.USDA.gov. Water deeply every day for about 1 week so the roots can get established. This species does best on the east or north side of the house or in light shade/filtered sun. Hello Matt. Desert Milkweed is a regal vase-shaped perennial with grey green stems. It is the life source and host plant for both the Monarch and Queen butterflies. Female monarchs search for milkweed to lay their eggs. The stems contain a milky sap that is a food source for butterflies. When the caterpillars hatch, they feed on the leaves of milkweed. Milkweeds in a 1-gallon pot can be planted in the ground. Maintain the soil line (make sure the soil is up to the same point on the plant that it was when the plant was in the pot). Originating in the Sonoran desert of Arizona, this small evergreen shrub has clusters of yellow flowers in spring to fall. Thanks for taking the time to post it! Growing the plants will attract and feed these beautiful butterflies. 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