Milkweed, Tropical Milkweed, Flor de Sangre, Hierba Maria
- Full Sun
- Part Sun/Shade
About This Plant
Sun/part shade; an herbaceous perennial with yellow orange and red flowers spring through frost. It attracts monarch butterflies as well as many aphids and ladybugs. Monarchs use milkweeds exclusively for their eggs, and as larval hosts for their caterpillars; it’s been suggested that they evolved on this plant. If you’re using tropical milkweed to attract monarchs, be aware that growers’ pesticides will be lethal to your caterpillars. Shop for milkweeds that have been grown without pesticides.
Expect milkweed to be heavily grazed by caterpillars and aphids, especially in autumn; this is a part of a natural cycle, so resist the urge to spray pesticides on your insects. Unlike many milkweeds, it is fairly evergreen. Research suggests this may promote overwintering monarchs that get ravaged by fungal disease and spread it to others. Best practice, for now: cut tropical milkweed back after Thanksgiving. Think of it as a way of encouraging your butterflies to fly on south.
1.5-4' H, 1.5-2' W
Full Sun, Part Sun/Shade
Clay, Sandy, Thin, Well drained
Butterflies, Butterfly Larvae
Orange, Red, Yellow
July, August, September