Milkweed (Tropical) ‘Bright Wings’
Asclepias curassavica ‘Bright Wings’
Note: Tropical milkweed can interfere with monarch migration and reproduction. When grown in areas where it can grow later in the year than native species, the presence of tropical milkweed may confuse monarchs into breeding at a time when they should be migrating. If your TROPICAL milkweed is still blooming during the fall monarch migration, please cut it to the ground to protect the migrating Monarchs.
- Type: Annual
- Zone: 9 – 11
- Height: 2 – 3 Feet
- Spread: 1.5 – 2 Feet
- Bloom Time: June -October
- Blooms: Red-Orange with Yellow Hood
- Sun: Full Sun
- Water: Medium
- Maintenance: Low
- Flower: Showy
- Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies, Bees
- Tolerates: Deer
Milkweed (Tropical) ‘Bright Wings’ blooms mid-to-late summer that loves heat. Its flower clusters are vivid scarlet-red, warm orange-red and gold. Butterflies visit constantly, unable to resist the large amounts of nectar in their colorful blossoms. Milkweed (Tropical) ‘Bright Wings’ is related to common butterfly weed, but much prettier; a handsome border or container plant and lovely in bouquets. Cut plants back to the ground if they don’t die back with frost so overwintering foliage doesn’t harbor disease. Asclepias needs excellent drainage and full sun, but no extra fertilizer except in very poor soil. Use for warm color in sunny borders where these plants are butterfly magnets. Bright Wings plants are also lovely in large patio planters. For longest lasting cut flowers, harvest either very early or late in the day only after two thirds of the florets are open. Do not sear stems in hot water (unlike other Asclepias varieties).
Asclepias curassavica is a tender evergreen perennial in the dogbane and milkweed family. It has a much longer flowering period than the perennial milkweeds. It typically grows as a subshrub to 2-3’ tall on upright stems clad with pointed, opposite, lanceolate leaves. Leaves are medium green sometimes with white midribs. Showy flowers with five sepals and five lobes appear in rounded axillary clusters late spring to early summer. Flowers are red-orange with yellow hoods. Flowering continues throughout the summer to early autumn. Hummingbirds, butterflies and bees are attracted to the flowers. Flowers are followed by long, narrow seed pods (3-4” long) which split open when ripe releasing silky tailed seeds for dispersal by wind. Stems and leaves exude a milky sap when cut or bruised. Plants can be poisonous to livestock.
No serious insect or disease problems. Somewhat weedy and can spread in warm winter locations where it will self-seed. Watch for aphids. Sooty mold may develop if aphid populations are not checked. Consider wearing gloves when working with these plants because the milky sap is poisonous if ingested and can be toxic to human skin.
Attractive foliage and flowers for beds, borders, cottage gardens, meadows and butterfly gardens. Also a good cut flower. Dried seed pods are attractive in arrangements.
Courtesy of Missouri Botanical Society Plant Finder & Renee’s Gardens