California Gardens - The Year Round Gardening Site

Gomphocarpus fruticosus * Swan Milkweed, Narrow Leaf Cotton Bush

Gomphocarpus fruticosus is a milkweed relative from South Africa where it is a host plant for the African Monarch. The Swan Milkweed is the primary food source for the introduce Monarch Butterfly in New Zealand. In most places Gomphocarpus fruticosus will be a late Summer blooming annual but in warmer gardens it can be perennial often coming back from the roots. Flowers are white with white to purple centers. Plant in Full Sun. In addition to being potential larval food for the Monarch Butterfly Gomphocarpus fruticosus is a nector source for the Gray Hairstreak, Hedgerow Hairstreak, Common Buckeye, Great Purple Hairstreak, Acmon Blue. Gomphocarpus fruticosus can take some drought but will look much better and recover far more readily with regular irrigation. Gomphocarpus frutiosus can grow to 4-5 feet tall and wide. The tops will die back with any significant frost but these African milkweed plants are potentially root hardy through frost.

Gomphocarpus fruticosus, Swan Milkweed, Narrow Leaf Cotton Plant

White Flowers of Gomphocarpus fruticosus the Swan Milkweed or Narrow Leaf Cotton Plant. High resolution photos are part of our garden image collection.

Gomphocarpus fruticosus, fruit and monarch caterpillar, Swan Milkweed, Narrow Leaf Cotton Plant

Seedpods and Monarch Caterpillar on Gomphocarpus fruticosus the Swan Milkweed or Narrow Leaf Cotton Plant. High resolution photos are part of our garden image collection.

Gomphocarpus fruticosus seedpods, Swan Milkweed, Narrow Leaf Cotton Plant

Gomphocarpus fruticosus Seedpods have soft bristles and are pointed at the tip like a lemon. High resolution photos are part of our garden image collection.

Tarantula Hawks, Carpenter Bees and Yellow Faced Bumblebees feeding on nectar from Asclepias eriocarpa, Woollypod Milkweed. Milkweeds are important to so much more wildlife beyond butterflies. High resolution videos are part of our garden image collection.

Plants from the old Asclepidacea Family featured on this site. This is now considered a subfamily in the Apocynaceae Family or Dogbane Family. This is relevant because these plants are nectar and caterpillar food for the Monarch Butterflies:
Asclepias angustifolia * Arizona Milkweed
Asclepias californica * California Milkweed
Asclepias cordifolia * Purple Milkweed
Asclepias curassavica * Tropical Milkweed
Asclepias curassavica Red Butterflies * Red Butterflies Tropical Milkweed
Asclepias curassavica Silky Gold * Silky Gold Tropical Milkweed
Asclepias eriocarpa * Woollypod Milkweed, Indian Milkweed, Kotolo Milkweed
Aslepias erosa * Desert Milkweed
Asclepias fascicularis * Narrow Leaf Milkweed
Asclepias linaria * Pine Needle Milkweed
Asclepias speciosa * Showy Milkweed
Asclepias subulata * Rush Milkweed, Skeleton Milkweed
Asclepias tuberosa * Butterfly Weed
Other milkweed relatives:
Araujia sericifera * Bladder Vine, Cruel Vine, Moth Vine
Gomphocarpus fruticosus * Swan Milkweed, Narrow Leaf Cotton Plant
Gomphocarpus physocarpus * Family Jewels, Hairy Balls
Hoya carnosa * Wax Vine