Arizona is host to about 30 species of milkweeds (Asclepias) ranging from low desert to riparian corridors to grasslands and all the way up into pine forest zones.
Pay attention to where you’re buying a milkweed plant – large volume chain stores and some smaller nurseries treat plants with long lasting insecticides that can harm pollinators. Expect to see some aphids on milkweed plants most of the time; the absence of aphids may be an indicator that the plant has been treated with pesticides. If in question, ask the staff, although they may not be able to answer with certainty.
Aphids are not harmful to the plant and you should expect them on milkweeds in your garden. They also provide a food source for predators and a true ecological balance can only be achieved if you let nature balance the equation.
Flowers: J F M A M J J A S O N D
Origin: Arizona into Sonora Mexico on dry, rocky slopes and in canyons.
Size: up to 3′ tall
Sun: Full or half-day sun, or dappled shade
Watering: Low to moderate
Growth Rate: Moderate to fast
Temperature: Hardy to 20 F
Pruning: Heavy pruning will kill the plant
Disease and Pests:
Uses: Host for the Monarch and Queen butterflies. Copious nectar producer-loved by native bees and butterflies.
Notes: May need iron and magnesium if chlorosis is a problem; keeping soil dryer reduces chlorosis.
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