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Asclepias subulata (Rush Milkweed)

Rush Milkweed, Desert Milkweed, Ajamete, Skeleton Milkweed

Asclepias subulata, Rush Milkweed, Desert Milkweed, Ajamete, White Asclepias, Desert Asclepias
Asclepias subulata, Rush Milkweed, Desert Milkweed, Ajamete, White Asclepias, Desert Asclepias
Asclepias subulata, Rush Milkweed, Desert Milkweed, Ajamete, White Asclepias, Desert Asclepias

Adding vertical lines to the landscape, Asclepias subulata (Rush Milkweed) is an evergreen perennial forming a striking bouquet of ascending, gray-green, succulent stems. The stems bear small linear leaves, 2 in. long (5 cm), only after rain, and are naked the rest of the time. From mid-spring to winter, small clusters of creamy-white flowers with reflexed corollas are borne at the stem tips. Opening from creamy yellow buds, they are a great nectar source for bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects. They are also a larval food source for the caterpillars of the monarch and queen butterfly species. The blossoms give way to narrow, smooth, glabrous pods that open to release their white-plumed seeds. Native to the Southwestern U.S., this perennial wildflower is drought and heat-tolerant. It makes an attractive desert landscape plant with its interesting shape and unusual flower clusters that attract butterflies and other insects. Rush Milkweed is the only evergreen milkweed native to the U.S.

Milkweed plants are critical to monarch butterflies’ survival, whose population in North America has plummeted by 90% in the last 20 years. By planting milkweed in your own garden, you can help reverse the fortune of these beautiful insects!

  • Grows up to 2-4 ft. tall and wide (60-120 cm).
  • Thrives in full sun in sandy, well-drained soils. Water infrequently to occasionally. Drought tolerant once established. Shade tolerant under desert conditions.
  • A vital ingredient of butterfly gardens. Perfect for the sunny dry garden.
  • No serious pest or disease issues.
  • Propagate by seed or stem cuttings.
  • This plant is slightly poisonous and its sap is a skin irritant.
  • Toxic to dogs, toxic to cats, toxic to horses.
  • Native to California, Arizona and Nevada, northern Mexico.

Grow Milkweed, Save Monarch Butterflies: A Step-by-Step Guide


By providing the right growing conditions, you can enjoy healthy and vibrant milkweed in your garden while supporting pollinator populations.

Requirements

Hardiness 9 - 11
Climate Zones 11, 12, 13
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Apocynaceae
Genus Asclepias
Common names Milkweed
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 2' - 4'
(60cm - 120cm)
Spread 2' - 4'
(60cm - 120cm)
Spacing 36" - 48"
(90cm - 120cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants California, United States, Southwest, Arizona, Nevada
Tolerance Drought, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Bees, Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds And Borders
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden, Mediterranean Garden, Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow
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Asclepias (Milkweed)
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Asclepias eriocarpa (Woollypod Milkweed)
Asclepias perennis (Aquatic Milkweed)
Asclepias cordifolia (Heartleaf Milkweed)
Asclepias linaria (Pine-Needle Milkweed)
Asclepias quadrifolia (Fourleaf Milkweed)
Asclepias purpurascens (Purple Milkweed)

Recommended Companion Plants

Melampodium leucanthum (Blackfoot Daisy)
Penstemon eatonii (Firecracker Penstemon)
Opuntia santa-rita (Santa Rita Prickly Pear)
Agave parryi var. truncata (Artichoke Agave)

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

How to Create an Enchanting Butterfly Garden
For the Love of Butterflies: Best Flowers to Attract them to Your Garden
6 Reasons You Should Create a Butterfly Garden
Grow Milkweed, Save Monarch Butterflies: A Step-by-Step Guide
Asclepias (Milkweed)
Save Monarch Butterflies with these Ornamental Milweeds
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 9 - 11
Climate Zones 11, 12, 13
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Apocynaceae
Genus Asclepias
Common names Milkweed
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 2' - 4'
(60cm - 120cm)
Spread 2' - 4'
(60cm - 120cm)
Spacing 36" - 48"
(90cm - 120cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants California, United States, Southwest, Arizona, Nevada
Tolerance Drought, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Bees, Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds And Borders
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden, Mediterranean Garden, Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Asclepias (Milkweed)
Not sure which Asclepias (Milkweed) to pick?
Compare Now

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    Becoming a contributing member of Gardenia is easy and can be done in just a few minutes. If you provide us with your name, email address and the payment of a modest $25 annual membership fee, you will become a full member, enabling you to design and save up to 25 of your garden design ideas.

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