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Asclepias curassavica – Tropical Milkweed


Tropical Milkweed, also known as Blood flower, is a tender evergreen perennial in the dogbane and milkweed family. It is native to South America, but has naturalized worldwide in many tropical and subtropical areas. It has a much longer flowering period than the perennial milkweeds that are winter hardy in Michigan. Showy red-orange flowers bloom late spring through late autumn except in USDA Zones 9-11 where it is winter hardy. Grows best in light, rich, evenly moist, well-drained soil in full sun. Will tolerate light shade and some soil dryness.  Hummingbirds, butterflies and bees are attracted to the flowers. Monarch butterflies lay eggs on this plant and the resulting larvae (caterpillars) use the plant leaves as a food source. Flowers are followed by long, narrow seed pods (3-4” long) which split open when ripe releasing silky tailed seeds for dispersal by wind. Stems and leaves exude a milky sap when cut or bruised. Plants can be poisonous to livestock. Consider wearing gloves when working with these plants because the milky sap is poisonous if ingested and can be toxic to human skin.

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Asclepias curassavica Tropical Milkweed is also commonly known as Mexican Milkweed and Blood Flower.

Asclepias curassavica blooms all summer long and is a magnet to butterflies, hummingbirds and pollinators as well as beneficial insects. This milkweed also serves as an important food source for developing Monarch larva.

Tropical milkweed is easy to grow and will provide cheerful flowers throughout the summer.

Plants are noted for being weedy in their native tropical habitats and in warm winter areas such as the deep South where they will self-seed somewhat profusely. Container plants may be cut back and brought inside into bright sunny locations in winter. May also be grown as an indoor plant in bright sun with regular watering during the growing season and with reduced watering in a cool location in winter.

Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) is of vital importance and critical to the survival of the Monarch butterfly as the larvae only eat milkweed. Females will search for fresh tender leaves on which to lay their eggs. With habitat loss and the use of pesticides it is has become increasingly difficult for Monarchs to find Asclepias during their spring migration and throughout the summer breeding season, particularly in the Midwest prairies where it once grew in abundance.

Like other milkweed, Asclepias curassavica Tropical Milkweed is attractive to aphids. Control on outdoor plants may be as simple as spraying the plants with a burst of water from the hose which will dislodge the aphids (and which will have to be repeated all season).

All of our plants are grown without the use of harmful pesticides and are safe for developing larvae.


Additional information

Weight 1 lbs
Dimensions 4 × 4 × 4 in