Narrow Lead Milkweed isn’t really a weed nor is it a particularly attractive plant. It is, however, a vital plant in a wildlife garden as Milkweed is the single food source for the Monarch Butterfly larva. Natural milkweed habitats are disappearing due in part to urban development and Monarch numbers in North America are tumbling sharply. Anyone who is able to bring a bit of milkweed into their local environment is doing a good thing.
We have three separate small colonies in the patio garden which will hopefully attract more temporary residents like Pete (pictured). The flower stems grow up to 4′ tall and spring time brings small pink and white flowers that are a nectar source for a number of butterfly species. Narrow Leaf Milkweed has modest water requirements and performs well in full sun. Small colonies are formed as the plant spreads by underground stems called “rhizomes”.
Narrow Leaf Milkweed also attracts large numbers of golden colored aphids, commonly known as Milkweed Aphids. They don’t appear to do much damage to the plant and the Monarch caterpillars don’t mind them much either. As milkweed is poisonous, predators suffer the same ill effects eating the aphids as they do eating the caterpillars, hence there are not many predators.
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|Common Name||Narrow Leaf Milkweed|
|Botanic Name||Asclepias Fascicularis|
|Potential Size ||3' x 5'|