This past weekend, I spent the afternoon at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona. As I walked through the beautiful gardens, I noticed countless butterflies flocking to the different species of Milkweed growing in the gardens.
A Queen Butterfly (Danaue gilippus) and a Mexican Butterfly Weed(Asclepias curassivica).
Widely considered the best of the Milkweed species for attracting butterflies, Mexican Butterfly Weed produces beautiful orange/yellow flowers. They can be grown from seed and should be grown in the sun in moist, fertile soil. They are hardy to zone 8, but you can certainly grow them as an annual in colder zones.
Queen Butterfly on Pineleaf Milkweed (Asclepias linearis).
The flowers of Pineleaf Milkweed aren’t particularly showy, but they are a favorite food source of Monarch butterflies. Native to Arizona and Mexico, Pineleaf Milkweed grows in zones 9 – 11.
Desert Milkweed (Asclepias subulata) and a Queen Butterfly.
Borne on succulent-like stems, the flowers of Desert Milkweed are also attractive to many different species of butterflies, including Monarchs. This Milkweed species grows in zones 9 – 11.
There are over 100 species of Milkweed and while some only grow in zones 9 and above, there are many that grow in all USDA zones.
Check out “5 Great Milkweeds” and “Attracting Monarch Butterflies to Wildlife Gardens” for more great Milkweed species to try in your garden.