Oh the delight of Asclepias!

22 Jun

Asclepias in one of my very favorite plants for summer color. It’s easy and a delight to look at, and oh, those butterflies! Thank you to Annie’s Annuals and Perennials for this article on a fabulous wildlife plant.

Meet the Milkweeds!
Beloved by pollinators AND gardeners – we’re wild for Asclepias!

chrysalismonarch_caterpiller

In honor of NATIONAL POLLINATOR WEEK, we’re shining the spotlight on one of our most favorite groups of plants – the diverse and divine Asclepias! A prized nectar source for butterflies, bees and hummingbirds, it’s also the sole host plant for Monarch butterflies, who lay their eggs on Milkweeds alone!

Asclepias speciosa 'Davis'

Asclepias ‘Davis’ has legs – and it knows how to use them!

You’ll get hours of entertainment from just a few plants, as kids and adults alike will watch in fascination as the resulting yellow, black and white caterpillars grow fat and happy eating the tasty leaves. By the time they curl up and form their incredible, turquoise-green chrysalises, you’ll want to set up a Monarch-cam to catch the grand finale!

You’ll also find ladybugs, ants, beetles – and yes, aphids, are drawn to Milkweeds (why, aphids are delicious to many beneficial insects!). It’s like Wild Kingdom on a microscopic level!

PLUS, the plants themselves are so pretty and pleasing. Don’t let ’em fool you though – they’re a tough bunch, tolerant of heat, drought, poor soil, deer and clay. Asclepias can deal and THRIVE!

asclepias_speciosa_davis_closeAsclepias speciosa ‘Davis’ 
One of the most majestic and gorgeous of all Asclepias, ‘Davis’ features fuzzy foliage and stunning 4-5″ bee-loved clusters of creamy pink and white flowers. A hands-down MUST HAVE!!

asclepias_silky_goldAsclepias curassavica
‘Silky Gold’

With tender leaves perfect for caterpillars to munch on, this vigorous tropical Milkweed is a perfect host plant. Plus, tough, easy and pretty! Voila!

 

 

asclepias_cancellataAsclepias cancellata
“Wild Cotton”

Making a tidy, upright, many-branched, shrublet to 3′ tall, this rare South African Asclepias attraced hordes of butterflies here at the nursery. Yup, tough & easy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

asclepias-syriacaAsclepias syriaca
“Virginia Silk’

The most fragrant Milkweed –smells deliciously like lilacs! Long lived, easy and tolerant of poor, dry soil – it’s also hardy down to USDA zone 4. A thrilling container subject!

 

asclepias_currassavicaAsclepias curassavica
“Mexican Milkweed”
A butterfly magnet that brings a welcome pop of orange and yellow to the garden. It’ll cheer up the Winter garden in mild-climates and self-sow for next year’s butterflies!

 

Get your Asclepias on!

Asclepias speciosa ‘Davis’ 
One of the most majestic and gorgeous of all Asclepias, ‘Davis’ features fuzzy foliage and stunning 4-5″ bee-loved clusters of creamy pink and white flowers. A hands-down MUST HAVE!!

Asclepias curassavica
‘Silky Gold’

With tender leaves perfect for caterpillars to munch on, this vigorous tropical Milkweed is a perfect host plant. Plus, tough, easy and pretty! Voila!

Asclepias cancellata
“Wild Cotton”

Making a tidy, upright, many-branched, shrublet to 3′ tall, this rare South African Asclepias attraced hordes of butterflies here at the nursery. Yup, tough & easy!

Asclepias syriaca
“Virginia Silk’

The most fragrant Milkweed –smells deliciously like lilacs! Long lived, easy and tolerant of poor, dry soil – it’s also hardy down to USDA zone 4. A thrilling container subject!

Asclepias curassavica
“Mexican Milkweed”
A butterfly magnet that brings a welcome pop of orange and yellow to the garden. It’ll cheer up the Winter garden in mild-climates and self-sow for next year’s butterflies!

Asclepias fascicularis
“Narrow Leaved Milkweed”

Delicate, narrow leaves with nodding clusters of elegant white flowers LOOK dainty – but it’s an Asclepias! So you know it’s tough as nails. Hardy to USDA zone 6!
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