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Desert Milkweed

Asclepias erosa

Out of stock

1 gallon; 5 gallon

Plant Care

Native region:

Local Native; Mojave Desert

Water needs:



Mature size:

Growth rate:

Full Sun; Filtered Shade



Flower color:

Flower season:


Creamy Yellow






Nectar pollinators:


Nighttime pollinators:


Rabbit resistant:


I know this is confusing, but Asclepias erosa is technically the species of milkweed known commonly as Desert Milkweed. Not Asclepias subulata, the species that is more prominent in the low desert. That is Rush Milkweed. Both are native to southern California, Arizona, and northern Baja California, where they are most abundant in the desert regions. My experience is with my Asclepias erosa is that it dies back in the winter and blooms in spring. The high (Mojave) desert is going to have a different experience. I use it in conjunction with Asclepias subulata in the low desert to give variety. I would not recommend using by itself because it is in dormancy during a large portion of our monarch season.
Asclepias erosa stands tall with white to yellow flowers in contrast to its green to yellow stem. This species requires well-drained soils and is limited to deserts and near desert conditions with sandy soils. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by bees and other native insects . Asclepias erosa is a specific Monarch butterfly food and habitat plant.
The plant is filled with a viscous sap that was roasted to a solid and enjoyed as a sort of chewing gum by local Native American tribes.

Growing Plants in the Desert — Important Information

The information presented here is, to the best of my knowledge, accurate and based on my research from reliable sources, observations I have made of plants growing in my, and other gardens I have visited, and observations of the plants in their native habitats. I would appreciate your feedback and experience to help me educate others! 


Cacti: In my experience, cacti are much happier in the filtered shade here in the low desert of the Coachella Valley. Colors are more vibrant and they bloom more profusely, especially the non-native varieties. If you pay attention to how our native barrel and beavertail opuntia grow in the wild, it is frequently tucked in the rocks under creosote or another shrub.


Light Requirements: I have found that in our desert (Sonoran/Colorado) “full sun” plants can take and appreciate the late afternoon filtered sun, especially in the hot summer months.

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