Under these conditions, tropical milkweed produces higher cardenolide concentrations. Milkweed: Native vs. A map is available to guide visitors to each spot. Photo by Carolyn Fannon -wildflower.org. Slidell butterfly garden experiments with both, Gaura lindheimeri, "Whirling Butterflies" or  "Bee Blossom", Cassia alata      (Sulphur butterflies' host plant), Passion flower vines, Passiflora caerulea (Gulf Fritillary & Variegated Fritillary host plant), Louisiana native "Aquatic milkweed", Asclepias perennis, Boehmeria cylindrica (Red Admiral butterfly host plant), Celtis: Hackberry trees host plant for Hackberry Emperor, Tawny Emperor, Question Mark and Snout butterflies), Pipevine -Aristolochia tomentosa (host plant for Pipevine Swallowtail), Pawpaw trees: Asimina triloba (host plant for Zebra Swallowtails and Pawpaw Sphinx moths). His characterization of Tropical milkweed as a “life buoy” for Monarchs until the commercial market for native milkweeds can be developed holds great appeal. The root system of tropical milkweed is not as massive as the native milkweeds that are considered persistent weeds by farmers. In a recent webinar staged by US Fish and Wildlife Service on creating Monarch butterfly habitat in the U.S., experts stated that it will take a minimum of five years to create a commercial market for native milkweeds. TROPICAL MILKWEED (not native, provided for comparison): This milkweed is often found in “Big Box” garden centers, but NOT NATIVE to SC, and not recommended for planting. The research is definitely “lite” but makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint. A new butterfly garden at Camp Salmen Nature Park in Slidell is experimenting with varieties of milkweed to see which ones perform best. Of Florida’s 21 native milkweed species, there are only a handful you can easily raise at home. Visitors can enjoy nature walks throughout the 130-acre compound, music by members of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and a butterfly release at 1:30 p.m. All activities are free. We’ll also look at sandhills milkweed, which Scott calls the most important milkweed … Although it’s easy to grow, tropical types host a parasite that infects and harms monarchs. Native to South America, tropical milkweed has showy scarlet and yellow flowers. We work with a large variety of Butterfly host plants. It’s helpful to have a diverse selection of native milkweed and flowering plants, but avoid tropical milkweed (A. curassavica). The park, at 35122 Parish Parkway in Slidell, will celebrate the installation of the new garden on Saturday, May 13, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 440 Wilchester Blvd. Asclepias is a genus of herbaceous, perennial, flowering plants known as milkweeds, named for their latex, a milky substance containing cardiac glycosides termed cardenolides, exuded where cells are damaged. It is native to Central and South America (Broyles and Stoj 2019). Because of this, local pollinator gardens and native plantings typically use milkweeds, the host plant family for Monarchs, as a central component to their effort. It produces bunches of orange, yellow, and red tubular blooms for months. Author information: (1)Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA. "Butterflies help plants reproduce, which helps strengthen ecosystems and maintain life-sustaining biological diversity in nature. Photo by Bill Carr - wildflower.org. St. Tammany Parish acquired the land in 2004 and re-opened the park in 2010. Tropical Milkweed (A. curassavica) is non-native and produces year round, which some argue may throw off the monarch’s instinct to […] Milkweed and Monarch Concerns – 2015 March 18, 2015 at 3:43 pm - Reply The Tropical Milkweed is the one you’ll usually see at Armstrong and other chain nurseries. First, Tropical milkweed is so hardy it doesn’t readily die-back in the winter. Tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica), on the other hand, is native to Mexico and produces clusters of red and yellow tubular flowers throughout the year. ", For gardeners who want to add more pollinator-friendly plants to their yards, Auld recommends the following books: "The Golden Guide to Butterflies and Moths," "The Golden Guide to Insects," and "How to Raise Monarch Butterflies -- a Step-by-Step Guide for Kids.". recorded from Texas. Tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica Butterfly milkweed, Asclepias tuberosa Milkweed plants are neonicotinoid and pesticide free! About November the foliage will quickly yellow and begin to dry. This may signal the normally-migratory butterflies that they’ve reached their destination or that they don’t need to continue the trip down the Mexico for the winter. We’ll talk about what it takes to grow those first- we know that’s why a lot of you clicked. Exposure to Non-Native Tropical Milkweed Promotes Reproductive Development in Migratory Monarch Butterflies. Asclepias curassavica, commonly known as tropical milkweed or blood flower, is not reliably winter hardy in gardens north of zone 8. There are fifteen Asclepias varieties native to the state of California, from the Oregon border to Baja California. Volunteers recently planted the garden, called Camp Monarch, with six kinds of native and tropical milkweeds, including: aquatic milkweed ( Linda Auld, founder of … The more you add plants, the more you enhance plant diversity and insect diversity. If the milkweed doesn’t die-back in the winter, the concentration of OE can build up to high levels. For more information on Tropical milkweed, OE and Monarchs, visit www.monarchjointventure.org or www.texasbutterflyranch.com. Native milkweeds to Houston include Green milkweed (Asclepias virdis), Aquatic milkweed (Asclepias perennis), Slim milkweed (Asclepias linearis), Whorled milkweed (Asclepias verticillata), and Zizotes milkweed (Asclepias oenotheroides). I am curious what you all think about the attraction of butterfly weed (asclepias tuberosa) vs. tropical milkweed (asclepias curassavica) as a nectar plant in your butterfly garden. When one thing starts to suffer, it affects something else. tropical milkweed and can harm or even kill monarchs. Of the insects, pollinators are a popular and important group for gardeners to focus on supporting. Since milkweed species have varying needs for sun, water and space, pay extra attention to growing requirements. Photo by Don Verser. The colorful flowers earned it the name bloodflower and scarlet milkweed commercially. When we add to our oasis, good things happen. With almost 30 years of experience, Weston Gardens is dedicated to Texas Native and Acclimate plants. You have permission to edit this article. ", The Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) also performs well, but the butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) was a little trickier to grow. Photo by Sally Wasowski - wildflower.org. Houston is an important location not only for migratory birds, but also for a popular (and imperiled) migratory insect – the Monarch Butterfly. Learn about Florida's milkweed species. I want to encourage people to ask their local garden center or nursery to order the native milkweeds. Tropical Milkweed (also known as Bloodflower and/or Mexican Milkweed) (Asclepias curassavica) Native in Mexico and the northern half of South America, Tropical Milkweed grows 30"-36" high and produces clusters of bright yellow or yellow-orange bi-colored flowers (sorry, no choice of flower color). Click here for more information on creating your own pollinator garden. Many other butterfly species, honey bees, and native bees take nectar from milkweed. "Everything is an experiment with me," she said with a laugh. "You have to plant it in a raised bed. Native milkweed or tropical milkweed, which is best? Tips for Raising Native Milkweed. In addition to supporting the monarch butterfly, many other creatures use milkweed in their day-to-day life. Meet twelve of the most ornamental milkweeds native to different parts of the country. A new butterfly garden at Camp Salmen Nature Park. Since then, new additions have been added in phases, including an amphitheater overlooking Bayou Liberty, cabins for rent, new nature trails and the Boundless Kids Unlimited Playground, which is accessible to disabled children as well as able-bodied youngsters. Unlike the milkweed species native to these locations, the tropical milkweed does not go dormant in the winter causing non-migratory groups of butterflies to form. A good rule of thumb is to cut back your Tropical milkweed around Thanksgiving and then once more during the winter season. "When you're hiking the trails around the Bonnet Carre spillway or Honey Island Swamp, that's what you see growing there," she said. These species can be difficult to find in local nurseries (though Houston Audubon’s Natives Nursery regularly has all five in stock). It's very good. Planting Asclepias curassavica in nonnative regions therefore remains controversial and criticized. Where to find the milkweed and how to grow the milkweed plants. ", Camp Monarch is the 83rd official monarch waystation in the state. So, it is quite clear, as the authors of the recent study (Satterfield et al. Hi there! Use of the tropical milkweed in gardens has disrupted monarch migrations notably in California, Texas, Florida, and South Carolina. How many birds die annually in window collisions alone? Narrow Leaf Milkweed You Say "Local" Milkweed, What Do You Mean? Volunteers with Auld's Project Monarch worked on garden from design to planting, with some plants grown from seeds in volunteers' homes before transplanting. If you have tropical milkweed planted or if tropical is the only milkweed you can locate, don’t fret! Tropical milkweed is an annual plant that is no native to the US (Woodson, 1954). Similarly, without nectar from flowers these fall migratory monarch butterflies would be unable to make their long journey to overwintering grounds in Mexico.". The picturesque land that is Camp Salmen Nature Park belonged to the Boy Scouts from 1924 until 1983, when the scouts moved to a rural property in Kiln, Miss. Unlike Tropical Milkweed, which retains foliage all winter and even a few flowers, our native milkweed is completely winter dormant. Tropical milkweed is a large, showy milkweed with lovely yellow and orange flowers. SC native milkweed that is sometimes hard to find in plant nurseries: In addition to the concerns over OE and disruption of migration behavior, emerging research suggests that tropical milkweed may actually become toxic to monarch caterpillars when the plants are exposed to the warmer temperatures associated with climate change. The milkweed being discussed was the tropical variety most widely available in the usual stores, Asclepias curassavica, known commonly as Scarlet or Tropical milkweed. With the non-native tropical versions, year-round colonies of monarchs have formed in some areas. Shortly after this, the entire plant is generally cut back to near the soil line to let it rest until the following spring, when it will burst out with a fresh season of growth. It is hardy, easy-to-grow and supports Monarchs. Second, because the tropical milk-weed doesn’t die back, it can cause monarchs to break diapause, disrupting their migration. 2015) point out, that tropical milkweed frequently supports monarchs breeding during the winter, whereas native milkweeds do so only in extremely rare circumstances. Majewska AA(1)(2)(3), Altizer S(4)(5). The most recent article about the monarch butterfly in the New York Times has once again raised the question of whether we should be planting non-native milkweed. The volunteers also helped enhance eight other areas of Camp Salmen with specific plants to attract wildlife. A. curassavica - Tropical Milkweed. Zizotes milkweed (Asclepias oenotheroides) in bloom. Where tropical milkweed is native, the Monarch doesn’t migrate so the size and strength of the butterfly doesn’t matter as much as it does to its northern migratory variety. As most monarch folks know, tropical milkweed is not native to the United States, but is now being sold at nurseries around the country, where people happily buy it and plant it in their gardens (thinking they are "helping the monarchs"). Last year, Auld grew nine types of  milkweed and had the most success with Aquatic milkweed (Asclepias perennis). Tropical milkweed is longer flowering than the much beloved native butterfly weed. Florida has twenty-one milkweed plants native to the state. Houston Audubon "The caterpillars like it, the butterflies lay eggs on it. In many nurseries, the most readily available species of milkweed happens is a popular but non-native one. But unlike our native milkweed species, the lush green foliage of tropical milkweed will stay up all winter if not killed back by frost – and that is a problem. We plant three species of milkweed (the host plant for the monarchs), but both the monarchs and the honey bees gravitate toward A. curassavica, a non-native.So do syrphid flies, carpenter bees, bumble bees, leafcutter bees and assorted other insects. According to MonarchWatch.org, which certifies the sites, "without milkweeds throughout their spring and summer breeding areas in North America, monarchs would not be able to produce the successive generations that culminate in the migration each fall. Electronic records show that tropical milkweed was planted in gardens in the US as early as 1806 (Satterfield et al., 2015). Tropical « Back to Native Plants. A Monarch butterfly feeds on a milkweed plant. But when the card… Shortly after this, the entire plant is generally cut back to near the soil line to let it rest until the following spring, when it will burst out with a fresh season of growth. Auld said the new garden -- and others of its type -- are critical to helping save the endangered Monarch. Green milkweed (Asclepias virdis) with a visiting milkweed bug. Of the insects, pollinators are a popular and important group for gardeners to … The butterflies seek out milkweed, but what is already the most common type of milkweed in the southern U.S. will eventually kill them. Honey bees just can't get enough of our tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica. Being bird-friendly and being insect-friendly go hand-in-hand. Being bird-friendly and being insect-friendly go hand-in-hand. But it can work the opposite way. The Xerces Society recommneds that you re-place existing tropical milkweed with native milkweed … The waystation sites provide nectar sources, milkweed and shelter for migrating monarch butterflies. "Butterflies and other pollinators, including bees, moths, birds and bats, pollinate over 75 percent of the world's flowering plants," she said. Fax: 713-461-2911 For Camp Monarch, Auld and her army of volunteers planted the following mix of nectar and host plants: For more about butterfly gardening, check out the following articles from Times-Picayune gardening guru and LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dan Gill: Other questions:subscriberservices@theadvocate.com. You can grow it in standing water, and it can grow in a regular flowerbed. It has yellow/orange flowers. The risk of exposure to freezing temperatures is there as a result which can be fatal to those in immature stages and adults. If Houston does suffer a hard-freeze, those remaining monarchs and their caterpillars won’t survive the winter. To avoid the build-up of OE and to promote the continued migration of Monarch Butterflies you only need to cut that Tropical milkweed back. By cutting this species of milkweed back to less than 6-inches at the end of the season (and maybe once more during winter), you are helping keep OE at bay and assisting the monarch population. The volunteers growing it for me had it growing in sand with pine nuggets. For our area: pink & white flowers = GOOD yellow & orange flowers = bad. From my review of California Native plant websites and Xerces Society information sheets, I’ve come up with an extremely simple formula. Choosing milkweed plants proves to be much more difficult than many initially expect. By planting milkweed in your own garden, landscape and throughout your community, you can help reverse the fortune of these beautiful insects. The most prevalent milkweed species at nurseries around Houston is Tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica). You can also order it online from MonarchWatch.org. They will only sell you what's native to your area. Photo by Ray Mathews - wildflower.org, Slim milkweed (Asclepias linearis) in bloom. Using this species in the Houston area, however, has its downfalls. 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