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Whitestem Milkweed

Asclepias albicans

Out of stock

1 gallon; 5 gallon

Plant Care

Native region:

Local Native

Water needs:



Mature size:

Growth rate:

Full Sun



Flower color:

Flower season:



Fall - Spring





Nectar pollinators:


Nighttime pollinators:


Rabbit resistant:


Think of this as Asclepias subulata on steroids. Whitestem or wax milkweed gets on average about 5-6’ tall, but in favorable conditions it reaches an incredible 10’ tall or more! Asclepias albicans flowers anytime except summer, usually in response to winter rains, with creamy-white flowers. It seems to do most of its growing in the cool season—it is native to the western edge of the Sonoran Desert and the Mojave Desert where we get most if not all of our precipitation in the winter.
Asclepias albicans is a bit stouter with thicker, taller stems than Asclepias subulata (rush/desert milkweed). There are also fewer stems and they are more noticeably waxy-blue. It prefers rocky habitats rather than fine-textured sandy washes.
If the stems are not receiving enough sun they can become floppy.
Whitestem milkweed especially resents being wet in the summertime. Allow to completely dry out between irrigation.
Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweed. To attract the butterfly also plant a variety of nectar plants close by. Planting in groups of 3 gives caterpillars best chance of survival. May be combined with Asclepias subulata.

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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