General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 8a -12.2 °C (10 °F) to -9.4 °C (15 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 11
Plant Height: 2-3 feet
Plant Spread: 1.5-2 feet
Leaves: Evergreen
Other: Grows best in light, rich, evenly moist, well-drained soil in full sun. It has a much longer flowering period than the perennial milkweeds. Pointed, opposite, lanceolate leaves (to 6" long). Leaves are medium green sometimes with white midribs. Monarch
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Other: Red-orange with yellow hood
Flower Time: Late spring or early summer
Late summer or early fall
Uses: Cut Flower
Suitable as Annual
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Toxicity: Other: Consider wearing gloves when working with these plants because the milky sap is poisonous if ingested and can be toxic to human skin. Plants can be poisonous to livestock. Take precautions as far as preventing any accidental contact of the sap with your e
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem

Common names
  • Tropical Milkweed
  • Scarlet Milkweed
  • Bloodflower
  • Milkweed

Photo Gallery

Courtesy Outsidepride
Location: Jacksonville, TX
Date: 2015-08-15
This plant is tagged in:
Image Image

  • Posted by Newyorkrita (North Shore, Long Island, NY ) on Sep 25, 2013 2:31 PM concerning plant:
    We have to grow Tropical Milkweed as an annual here as it dies out in the winter. Still, it is well worth it to plant the Tropical Milkweed each year, as once it starts blooming, it just continues to bloom all season long. And those flowers are bright and very pretty. It is a host plant for Monarch caterpillars.
  • Posted by Catmint20906 (PNW WA half hour south of Olympia - Zone 8a) on Aug 22, 2014 7:18 PM concerning plant:
    Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) is a larval host plant for the Monarch and Queen butterflies, and an important Monarch Way Station plant. It is an excellent source of nectar for late season butterflies and moths, drawing a variety of pollinators. Hardy in zones 9-11, it will grow to full height and bloom prolifically in a single season in cooler zones. Look for Monarch eggs on the leaves!
  • Posted by rfreskos2attnet (Granbury, TX ) on Oct 6, 2021 12:06 PM concerning plant:
    Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (OE) Protozoan Parasite

    Milkweed when planted in warm environments like southern Texas and the U.S. Gulf Coast doesn't die back in the winter like native milkweed does. When presented with a place to lay their eggs year-round, many monarchs don't bother making the trip to Mexico at all. Year-round tropical milkweed presents an even more direct threat to the butterflies. Milkweed hosts a protozoan parasite called Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (OE). Caterpillars ingest the parasite as they feed on milkweed. When they hatch from their chrysalises, the butterflies are covered in spores. It's a debilitating parasite. Infected monarchs are much weaker than their healthy counterparts and don't live nearly as long. In fact, if an OE-infected monarch tries to migrate, it will probably die long before it arrives in central Mexico. The migration is vital to keeping OE under control in the North American monarch population. Migrating "weeds out some of the sick monarchs every year," preventing them from passing the parasite along to their offspring. What's more, it gives the monarchs a chance to leave behind contaminated milkweed plants, which then die off during the winter. When the butterflies return in the spring "they start over fresh" with new, clean milkweed. But if the monarchs aren't migrating, and the tropical milkweed isn't dying off, OE never goes away.

    There is some good news. Nearly all tropical milkweed in the southern United States is in gardens. A way to reduce the contamination: CUT THE MILKWEED DOWN TO THE GROUND IN NOVEMBER BEFORE THANKSGIVING. CLEAN YOUR TOOLS BEFORE CUTTING AND AFTER CUTTING WITH A RATIO OF 1 PART BLEACH TO NINE PARTS WATER TO DISINFECT YOUR TOOLS TO PREVENT CROSS CONTAMINATION. By cutting the milkweed down before Thanksgiving, you will prevent the contamination.
  • Posted by frostweed (Arlington, Texas - Zone 8a) on Oct 26, 2011 2:00 PM concerning plant:
    Asclepias curassavica is poisonous to humans and it is deciduous in zone 8a, but it comes back from the roots in spring.
  • Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Feb 2, 2012 6:54 AM concerning plant:
    Beautiful plant that does well here in Tennessee and attracts butterflies galore. Will die to the ground after hard frost or freeze. Easy to collect seeds from the large pods when they split open.

    Milky sap from broken leaves or stems can cause severe eye irritation.
  • Posted by krancmm (Texas Gulf Coast - Zone 9b) on May 21, 2012 12:58 PM concerning plant:
    In the warmest zones, 9b-11, plant can reach 6'x4' and remains evergreen. In Dec 2011-Jan 2012 there were 75-100 monarch cats at different instars feasting on a huge plant in my yard - Texas Gulf Coast.
  • Posted by plantladylin (Sebastian, Florida - Zone 10a) on Sep 11, 2011 4:37 PM concerning plant:
    Scarlet Milkweed is an evergreen perennial that does well in full sun to partially shady locations of the garden. It has beautiful orange/red blooms in the summer months that attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
  • Posted by succulentlife (San Clemente, CA - Zone 10a) on Aug 10, 2019 9:13 AM concerning plant:
    I read this recently in a local paper. "Tropical milkweed becomes a problem when planted in temperate areas where it does not die back in winter. A protozoan parasite of monarch butterflies (Ophryocystis elektroscirrha or OE for short) can travel with monarchs visiting the plants and become deposited on leaves. When caterpillars hatch and start eating the plant, they ingest the OE. High OE levels in adult monarchs have been linked to lower migration success in the eastern monarch population, as well as reductions in body mass, lifespan, mating success, and flight ability."
    I assume this also applies to Southern California.
  • Posted by sallyg (central Maryland - Zone 7b) on Dec 12, 2018 12:11 AM concerning plant:
    Tropical milkweed grows very well in my zone 7 Maryland garden as an annual, may self sow a bit. Easy to root from fall cuttings and can be kept inside over winter that way, and will grow quickly once planted back out. Monarch caterpillars do love it. Can get aphids some years, watch for aphids if you bring in seedlings or cuttings over winter..
Plant Events from our members
piksihk On February 11, 2019 Maintenance performed
pruned down -
piksihk On January 4, 2017 Miscellaneous Event
two days of below freezing - zapped them;
piksihk On December 19, 2016 Miscellaneous Event
still blooms and couple of monarchs
piksihk On July 12, 2016 Miscellaneous Event
several cats on plants
piksihk On May 27, 2016 Miscellaneous Event
seed pods bursting open
piksihk On December 3, 2015 Harvested
HW's - collected seeds
chelle On August 22, 2014 Bloomed
These plants were sown during 2013 seed collection.
Catmint20906 On June 20, 2015 Bloomed
MunchkinsMom On June 13, 2016 Transplanted
Small bed
MunchkinsMom On June 9, 2016 Obtained plant
2 plants $4.75 each 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" pot, about 12" tall, have a couple of leaves yellowing, but also have buds coming on
MunchkinsMom On June 5, 2016 Miscellaneous Event
Ordered 2 plants from Dogwood eBay
Mindypin On July 20, 2016 Transplanted
Planted all 4 in front east-facing flower bed in the 103 degree heat
Mindypin On July 11, 2016 Transplanted
Potted the one from dogwooderitternet
Mindypin On July 11, 2016 Obtained plant
Bought 4 from ozarkmountainplants on eBay
Mindypin On July 6, 2016 Obtained plant
Bought 1 from dogwooderitternet on eBay
lovesblooms On March 3, 2018 Seeds sown
winter sown
taterpye On July 18, 2020 Bloomed
taterpye On June 28, 2020 Plant emerged
taterpye On June 12, 2020 Seeds sown
Desert Garden
» Post your own event for this plant

Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Untitled by plantladylin May 29, 2012 4:55 PM 2
Bi-colored flower looks like A. curassavica by purpleinopp Feb 5, 2015 6:35 AM 3
Looks like Tropical milkweed, A. curassavica by purpleinopp Nov 18, 2015 12:59 PM 3
Wow! by cliftoncat Nov 19, 2015 2:34 PM 1
Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) seeds by tx_flower_child Sep 17, 2016 9:18 AM 1
Monarch Chrysalis by GigiPlumeria Jan 15, 2022 12:15 PM 0

« Add a new plant to the database

» Search the Milkweeds Database: by characteristics or by cultivar name

« See the general plant entry for Milkweeds (Asclepias)

« The Milkweeds Database Front Page

« The Plants Database Front Page

Today's site banner is by Zoia and is called "Iris Corrida"

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.