Desert or Reed Milkweed
1 gallon; 2-3 gallon; 5 gallon
Full Sun; Reflected Hear; Filtered Sun
(H X W) 4’x4’
This is our native milkweed, occurring in dry washes and on rocky slopes. It has an erect, reed-like form, with a dense cluster of gray-green herbaceous stems that are virtually leafless. Terminal clusters of pale creamy yellow flowers appear intermittently from spring until fall, attracting butterflies and hawk moths. The unusual flowers are followed by pairs of ornamental, horn-shaped seed pods. This clean plant is ideal for use around swimming pools. Desert milkweed thrives in full sun and reflected heat but can tolerate filtered shade. Because it is native to sandy washes and rocky slopes it does need good drainage. Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweed. To attract the butterfly also plant a variety of nectar plants close by.
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.