Calotropis gigantea - Giant milkweed, Arka, Crown flower, close related to a well-known Butterfly Milkweed, but it is so impressively fat! Its beefy silver leaves add a great texture to your butterfly garden, and its lavender flowers are fascinating and beautiful. This plant is great for a butterfly garden as it is a host plant for the caterpillars of the Monarch butterfly.
The shiny blue bee Xylocopa can also be seen visiting this flower. Although its blooms can be seen all through the year, its flowers are particularly abundant during summer season. The plant also has medicinal value. Its latex is used to remove thorns from the skin. The plant is reported as effective in treating skin, digestive, respiratory, circulatory and neurological disorders, was used against arthritis, cancer, and as an antidote for snake bite.
The plant is hardy at least to zone 9 and drought tolerant.
Giant Milkweed can be used as a substitute for other milkweeds or as a supplement to the ones you already have. The best features of this plant:
- Constant blooms throughout the season when starting with mature plants
- Large, thick leaves can sustain more monarch caterpillars
- Caterpillars can pupate on the tree itself
- Great option for adventurous gardeners looking to try something new
- Grows well in dry and difficult soils