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where to buy milk weed seeds in gainesville fl

There are many varieties of this popular landscape flower, some low growing and others up to 4 feet tall, that offer a good nectar source. Plant in full sun to partial shade.

(Salvia microphylla, “Anthony Parker,” other salvias)

7. Purple Passionflower

A butterfly garden can be a great way to beautify your yard or patio, even beyond the colorful fluttering visitors.

5. Cut-leaf coneflower

Common throughout the eastern and central U.S., a perennial wildflower that grows up to 2 feet, with species of different colors. It is drought tolerant and an outstanding source of nectar for many species.

Native to Florida, this evergreen shrub can grow to 15 feet tall and will flower continuously in frost-free seasons. Plant it where it will get full sun to partial shade, with average soil moisture. It is a great source of nectar.

Unless you visit a nursery that specializes in native plants, you are unlikely to find more than one native milkweed species for sale. Still, we think the rewards make these species worth the search. Adding these natives will make your landscape a refuge for Florida’s flora and fauna.

Asclepias curassavica and Calotropis giganteana are not currently considered an invasive species in Florida. The assessment does suggest “caution — manage to prevent escape” for growers in South Florida. Tropical milkweed’s status will be reassessed periodically. More information about this non-native is available through the UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants. Calotropis gigantean is not listed in the assessment at present.

Native Milkweeds

Perhaps most famously, milkweed species serve as the host plant for the monarch butterfly. Milkweeds in the genus Asclepias provide the only plant material monarch caterpillars can eat. And this popular plant hosts many more besides monarchs. Queen and soldier butterflies rely on the leaves to feed their young, too.

In many nurseries, the most readily available species of milkweed happens is a popular but non-native one. Tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) is a showstopper. It produces bunches of orange, yellow, and red tubular blooms for months. The colorful flowers earned it the name bloodflower and scarlet milkweed commercially. Sometimes it is labeled “butterfly weed” or simply “milkweed.” Check the label for the scientific name to avoid confusing this plant with a native milkweed species.

As a host plant for a number of pollinators, use of pesticides on milkweed is discouraged. As a result, expect some aesthetic damage throughout the growing season. Install milkweed behind ground covers or mounding plants to hide the stems but show off the blooms. Monarch caterpillars can consume a plant’s leaves quickly, but do not usually damage the plant long-term. Aphids can also cause damage. Keep these in check with a blast of water from the hose instead of applying pesticides.