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Tropical « Back to Native Plants. Native milkweed or tropical milkweed, which is best? "When you're hiking the trails around the Bonnet Carre spillway or Honey Island Swamp, that's what you see growing there," she said. It’s helpful to have a diverse selection of native milkweed and flowering plants, but avoid tropical milkweed (A. curassavica). Being bird-friendly and being insect-friendly go hand-in-hand. The Xerces Society recommneds that you re-place existing tropical milkweed with native milkweed … Tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica Butterfly milkweed, Asclepias tuberosa Milkweed plants are neonicotinoid and pesticide free! Whorled milkweed (Asclepias verticillata) in bloom. 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). "All of nature is connected. There are fifteen Asclepias varieties native to the state of California, from the Oregon border to Baja California. "Everything is an experiment with me," she said with a laugh. E-mail: info@houstonaudubon.org, Create Inviting Habitats: Water Features, Nest Boxes, and Feeders, Working with your HOA, School, and Local Park, Birder Primer – A Beginner’s Quick Start Guide, Best Plants for a Bird-Friendly Landscape, Pre-planned Garden for Birds, Bees, and Butterflies, Sunny Gardens: Design Concepts and Recommendations. 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. ", Camp Monarch is the 83rd official monarch waystation in the state. SC native milkweed that is sometimes hard to find in plant nurseries: A map is available to guide visitors to each spot. About November the foliage will quickly yellow and begin to dry. The research is definitely “lite” but makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint. Majewska AA(1)(2)(3), Altizer S(4)(5). Using this species in the Houston area, however, has its downfalls. 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. Learn about Florida's milkweed species. 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. 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). 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. Hi there! The waystation sites provide nectar sources, milkweed and shelter for migrating monarch butterflies. Unlike Tropical Milkweed, which retains foliage all winter and even a few flowers, our native milkweed is completely winter dormant. Photo by Carolyn Fannon -wildflower.org. If the milkweed doesn’t die-back in the winter, the concentration of OE can build up to high levels. If Houston does suffer a hard-freeze, those remaining monarchs and their caterpillars won’t survive the winter. Tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) is a showstopper. 2015) point out, that tropical milkweed frequently supports monarchs breeding during the winter, whereas native milkweeds do so only in extremely rare circumstances. The colorful flowers earned it the name bloodflower and scarlet milkweed commercially. "Butterflies help plants reproduce, which helps strengthen ecosystems and maintain life-sustaining biological diversity in nature. From my review of California Native plant websites and Xerces Society information sheets, I’ve come up with an extremely simple formula. Fax: 713-461-2911 ", The Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) also performs well, but the butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) was a little trickier to grow. For our area: pink & white flowers = GOOD yellow & orange flowers = bad. It is hardy, easy-to-grow and supports Monarchs. Tropical milkweed is a large, showy milkweed with lovely yellow and orange flowers. A. curassavica - Tropical Milkweed. You can also order it online from MonarchWatch.org. Zizotes milkweed (Asclepias oenotheroides) in bloom. 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. The butterflies seek out milkweed, but what is already the most common type of milkweed in the southern U.S. will eventually kill them. Houston is an important location not only for migratory birds, but also for a popular (and imperiled) migratory insect – the Monarch Butterfly. Green milkweed (Asclepias virdis) with a visiting milkweed bug. 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. About November the foliage will quickly yellow and begin to dry. Honey bees just can't get enough of our tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica. "It likes a really dry root system, and we live in a swamp," Auld said. In addition to supporting the monarch butterfly, many other creatures use milkweed in their day-to-day life. With almost 30 years of experience, Weston Gardens is dedicated to Texas Native and Acclimate plants. In many nurseries, the most readily available species of milkweed happens is a popular but non-native one. Last year, Auld grew nine types of  milkweed and had the most success with Aquatic milkweed (Asclepias perennis). Photo by Don Verser. You can grow it in standing water, and it can grow in a regular flowerbed. The milkweed being discussed was the tropical variety most widely available in the usual stores, Asclepias curassavica, known commonly as Scarlet or Tropical milkweed. Since milkweed species have varying needs for sun, water and space, pay extra attention to growing requirements. Florida has twenty-one milkweed plants native to the state. With the non-native tropical versions, year-round colonies of monarchs have formed in some areas. Asclepias curassavica, commonly known as tropical milkweed or blood flower, is not reliably winter hardy in gardens north of zone 8. "Butterflies and other pollinators, including bees, moths, birds and bats, pollinate over 75 percent of the world's flowering plants," she said. By planting milkweed in your own garden, landscape and throughout your community, you can help reverse the fortune of these beautiful insects. "You have to plant it in a raised bed. Butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) in bloom. 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. Monarch caterpillars are tolerant of these chemicals⁠—in fact, cardenolides are the very compound that protects the monarch from predation. 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 Volunteers recently planted the garden, called Camp Monarch, with six kinds of native and tropical milkweeds, including: aquatic milkweed ( Linda Auld, founder of … The root system of tropical milkweed is not as massive as the native milkweeds that are considered persistent weeds by farmers. 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. Native milkweed dying out at summer’s end forced butterfly colonies to move on. 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. 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. 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. Of the insects, pollinators are a popular and important group for gardeners to … Photo by Bill Carr - wildflower.org. From supporting local pollinators, to providing a place for children and adults alike to watch the incredible lifecycle of the monarch butterfly, milkweed definitely has a place in our gardens. ", 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.". Of the insects, pollinators are a popular and important group for gardeners to focus on supporting. 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. They will only sell you what's native to your area. Houston Audubon 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. ", Part of the goal of the Slidell garden is to get native milkweed into public landscapes, she said. It has yellow/orange flowers. "Anybody who adds a garden to their yard is going to help combat the fact that more and more habitat gets destroyed every day," she added. 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. Similarly, without nectar from flowers these fall migratory monarch butterflies would be unable to make their long journey to overwintering grounds in Mexico.". First, Tropical milkweed is so hardy it doesn’t readily die-back in the winter. Her group will evaluate the plants to see which grow the best in the area and what varieties attract the most insects. Unlike Tropical Milkweed, which retains foliage all winter and even a few flowers, our native milkweed is completely winter dormant. I want to encourage people to ask their local garden center or nursery to order the native milkweeds. 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"). With numerous common names including tropical milkweed, bloodflower, scarlet milkweed, sunset flower and silkweed, Asclepias curassavica is an interesting member of the milkweed family (Asclepiadaceae) thought to be native to the Caribbean, South America, Central America or Mexico. How many birds die annually in window collisions alone? 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 produces bunches of orange, yellow, and red tubular blooms for months. It's very good. 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. Most Monarch specialists agree, when given the opportunity, planting native milkweeds is always a better option. 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. Volunteers recently planted the garden, called Camp Monarch, with six kinds of native and tropical milkweeds, including: Linda Auld, founder of Project Monarch, is spearheading the Camp Monarch garden. Native and non-native milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) The other issue with Tropical milkweed is its propensity to carry Ophryocytis elektroscirrha (commonly referred to as OE), a parasite whose primary host is the monarch butterfly. The Tropical Milkweed is the one you’ll usually see at Armstrong and other chain nurseries. St. Tammany Parish acquired the land in 2004 and re-opened the park in 2010. The risk of exposure to freezing temperatures is there as a result which can be fatal to those in immature stages and adults. 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