Asclepias curassavica (Milkweed) is a small shrub that grows 2-5 ft high and spreads up to 3 ft wide. This evergreen perennial is native to tropical America and is suitable for growing in USDA Zones 9-11. It prefers growing in full sun, and it needs moderate amounts of water once established. This plant features red and crimson to vinous flowers in early summer and yellow and orange flowers in late summer.
Milkweed has other benefits beyond its display in the garden. It is a great attractant for butterflies and hummingbirds, and the juice from the plant may cause an irritating effect, repelling certain pests. It is also a great choice for a seaside garden, as it is tolerant of salt spray and other harsh elements.
When it comes to plant care for Milkweed, it is essential to water the plant regularly and at least once a week during a dry period. Prune it back to maintain a compact form and shape and remove the dead flower stems. It is best to mulch the soil in order to conserve moisture and suppress weeds.
When growing Milkweed in colder regions, you may need to provide additional protection during the cold winter months. Mature plants can be cold-hardy, at least to the mid-30s F for a short time. It's best to grow them in a big pot and move it indoors, such as a sunroom or greenhouse, during the coldest part of winter. Additionally, it is beneficial to add a layer of mulch around the roots of the plant to keep it warm.