Botanical Name: Calotropis gigantea
Common Name: Giant Milkweed
We all need to plant more native milkweed in our gardens to help save the monarchs. Yes, some native milkweeds can be difficult to grow, but they’re worth the effort. I don’t have a problem having a mix of the native and tropical milkweeds in our gardens. Click on the names to see the other milkweed varieties R&G has for sale: Tropical Milkweed, Swamp Milkweed, Asclepias perennis, Whorled Milkweed, and Asclepias tuberosa.
Giant milkweed is not a native milkweed, but it is an important part of your butterfly garden. It’s a large plant, can grow up to 15′ in southern Florida and is considered evergreen, probably around 8 – 10′ in central Florida and is considered a semi-evergreen perennial, and northern Florida gardeners might need to consider it a tender perennial or an annual. It likes a sunny area and blooms white or purple flowers during the summer, and does fine in a regular garden environment. It’s drought tolerant but grows and flowers best with regular moisture. Pretty easy milkweed to grow.
Cool fact: the flowers are used in Hawaii for leis.
This is a host plant to the Monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus. The blooms provide nectar for lots of nectar loving critters.
Zones 8 (with winter protection or considered an annual) – 11