Monday, February 7, 2011
We will continue writing plant profiles of the plants we will have available to purchase in May. Today we are profiling "Asclepias tuberosa". A prized perennial hardy to Zone 3-9 with vibrant orange flowers which are long lasting, blooming early to mid summer. Does best in full sun, growing from 1-3 feet. Prefers drier and well drained soil and is a magnet for butterflies. The seed pods that develop can be dried and used in floral arrangements. They should be picked and dried while still green. Very late to come up in Spring, and the plants once established, do not like to be transplanted and should be allowed to naturalize.
This plant is the primary food source of the adult and juvenile Monarch butterfly, and is often included in butterfly gardens.
During our travels this winter we visited an area in California called Pismo Beach along the central coast, where thousands of Monarch butterflies spend their winters among the eucalyptus trees. We have included a couple of photos. The first photo shows them hanging with their wings folded, like clusters of grapes.