Mexican butterfly weed
Attract the Monarque butterfly
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Scarlet milkweed is an erect, evergreen perennial subshrub, often grown as an annual. Like most milkweeds, it has opposite leaves and milky sap. The leaves are about 5 in long, narrowly elliptic, and pointed at both ends.
Scarlet milkweed gets about 3-4 ft tall and usually has a few pairs of symmetrical branches. The flowers are orange and red and born in terminal and axillary clusters that are 2-4 in across.
It blooms continuously from spring until autumn. The fruits are spindle shaped pods, 3-4 in long, that eventually split open to release little flat seeds that drift away on silky parachutes.
Seeds and cuts
Culture and care
Scarlet milkweed is easy to grow, thriving in dry, moist, and even wet soils.
Full sun to partial shade is the good exposure.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 8B - 11. Scarlet milkweed remains evergreen in zones 9B-11, but if it does freeze to the ground, it usually comes back in spring. In cooler climates it can be grown as an annual.
All milkweeds are poisonous if ingested, and the milky sap is a skin irritant. The butterflies whose caterpillars feed on milkweeds contain the same poisonous glycosides and are poisonous as well.
- Ornemental use
Use scarlet milkweed in perennial borders and meadow gardens. Its dependable bright orange and red flowers stand out against the dark green foliage. Scarlet milkweed is a thin, unobtrusive little plant that can be squeezed in among other perennials and shrubs and still counted on to show off its pretty flowers. Butterflies and other nectar-sipping insects are attracted to the blossoms, and monarch butterflies lay their eggs on scarlet milkweed.
Asklêpios is the Greek god of medicine and curassavica indicates the provenance: Curaçao, an island of the Caribbean.