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Products > Asclepias curassavica 'Silky Deep Red'
Asclepias curassavica 'Silky Deep Red' - Red Butterflyweed
Image of Asclepias curassavica 'Silky Deep Red'
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Perennial
Family: Apocynaceae (Dogbanes & Milkweeds)
Origin: South America
Red/Purple Foliage: Yes
Flower Color: Red
Bloomtime: Summer
Height: 3-4 feet
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 10-15 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Asclepias curassavica 'Silky Deep Red' (Red Butterflyweed) - This is a darker red-flowered form of the typically orange and yellow Butterfly Weed, also known as Tropical Milkweed, a tender semi-evergreen perennial prized for attracting butterflies, particularly the Monarch Butterfly, into the garden. Growing 3 to 4 feet tall by as wide, this plant has narrow 6 inch long dark green lance-shaped leaves with a reddish hue on new growth. The flowers, appearing in late spring to late fall, are on long stems bearing 3 to 4 inch long clusters of deep red and yellow flowers that like others in this family not only have a calyx row of 5 sepals and above this the corolla of 5 petals but also and additional of appendages covering the stamens called a corona. On this cultivar the petals are dark red and the corona a bright yellow. The flowers are followed by 3 inch long spindle-shaped seedpods that produces viable seed - this plant readily self-seeds to perpetuate itself within the garden. Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil and give occasional to regular irrigation. Although tender to frost this plant is root hardy to at least 15 F. Mulch if gardening in climates experiencing harder frosts or keep in a container that can be brought indoors in colder climates. A good plant mixed with other tall perennials and the long stems are excellent for cutting. Cut back in the fall after all caterpillars are gone (often left leafless by them) but be wary of the milky sap, which can cause irritation and injury to eyes and is poisonous if ingested. An excellent butterfly nectar plant and attracts Monarch butterflies as an egg laying host as milkweeds are the sole food source for Monarch caterpillars (don't remove those fantastic large-horned, black and yellow-striped caterpillars). This species is native to South America but has become a naturalized weed in tropical and subtropical pastures, fields and disturbed areas throughout the world, including central and southern Florida. The name for the genus was one that Carl Linnaeus ascribed after Asclepius (Asklepios), the Greek god of medicine and healing because of the many folk-medicinal uses for the milkweed plants. The specific epithet means of Curacao (Dutch Antilles) in reference to its origin from this South American location. Other common names include Bloodflower, Swallow-wort, Hierba de la Cucaracha, Mexican Butterfly-weed, Scarlet milkweed, and Wild Ipecacuanha. Habitat loss in both the United States and Mexico remains the biggest threat to the Monarch Butterfly but recent studies indicate that native wilkweeds, such as Asclepias speciosa, are likely a more healthy food source for monarch populations as the leaves of the native species are less likely to spread a protozoan parasite called Ophryocystis elektroscirrha. The native milkweeds also do become a year-round food source like the tropical ones, so encourage migration, which helps control the disease because butterflies infected by the parasite are so weakened that they are not able to complete the migration journey and so do not spread it to other healthy ones. We also grow the all golden form called 'Silky Gold'The information on this page is based on research conducted about this plant in our library and from reliable online sources. We also take into consideration observations of this plant in our nursery crops, as well as of plants growing in the nursery's garden and those in other gardens we visit. We also will incorporate comments that we receive from others and welcome getting feedback from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if it includes cultural information that would aid others in growing Asclepias curassavica 'Silky Deep Red'.