Desert Milkweed

Asclepias subulata


The Desert milkweed is a distinctive shrub that develops an upright habit comprised of large numbers of many leafless blue-green stems growing 3-4 ft. tall. Terminal clusters of cream to yellow flowers are heaviest in mid spring, and are highly attractive to butterflies and nectar-seeking insects.

Desert milkweed grows throughout the southwest United States and Mexico in arroyos and seasonal washes. In California it is native to intermediate and low desert zones and is adapted to heat, aridity and drought. These adaptations make it a good match for Inland Empire drought tolerant plantings. It is a good accent and butterfly plant in Southwestern style gardens and can be grown in containers, placed on banks, around rocks and as a solitary specimen plant.

Plant Type: Perennial, Native
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Upright
Growth Rate: Slow
Flower Color: Yellow, Cream
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Sand
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Drought, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Flowering accent plant, Attracts butterflies
Height: 3 ft. – 4 ft.
Width: 3 ft. – 4 ft.