California Gardens - The Year Round Gardening Site

Asclepias curassavica Silky Gold * Silky Gold Butterfly Weed, Tropical Milkweed

Asclepias Silky Gold is a solid Monarch attractor but it is also one of the tropical milkweeds that have been in the news for the wrong reasons. Asclepias curassavica cultivars have been implicated in being a vector for a protazoan parasite OE that infects Monarch Butterflies. These Milkweed plants that I photographed were munched to nearly bare stalks when I saw them a week later. And there was a plump Monarch caterpillar merrily working on the last of the leaves. Asclepias Silky Gold will often recover from such mistreatment by the Monarchs. The tropical milkweeds dont go dormant as readily as the native species. This allows protazoan populations to build up and continue to infect Monarchs all year. A sharp pair of pruners can break this cycle. Call it artificial dormancy, cut your plants back to about 2" tall removing all foliage once or twice a winter. This way you can enjoy Asclepias Silky Gold without the guilt of doing in the Monarch Butterflies. Several other species in the milkweed family have also been found to be vectors for this OE protazoan as well and should be given the same forced dormancy treatment. Asclepias Silky Gold is a nector source for the Gray Hairstreak. Plant Asclepias Silky Gold in partial shade to full sun. This butterfly weed can take some drought but will look much better and recover far more readily with a reasonable water diet particularly if it is planted in a sunny location. Asclepias Silky Gold can grow to 3-4 feet tall and wide. The tops will die back with any significant frost but these milkweed plants are potentially root hardy into the teens

Asclepias curassavica Silky Gold

Flowers and foliage of Asclepias curassavica Silky Gold the Silky Gold Butterfly Weed or Tropical Milkweed. High resolution photos are part of our garden image collection.

Asclepias curassavica Silky Gold with Monarch Caterpillar

Asclepias curassavica Silky Gold leaf being eaten by a Monarch Caterpillar - Silky Gold Butterfly Weed or Tropical Milkweed.