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Asclepias curassavica

Pronunciation: ass-KLEE-pee-us too-bur-O-suh
Family: Asclepiadaceae
Common Name: Bloodflower, Scarlet Milkweed, Blood Flower, Silkweed, Indian Root
Plant Type:
  • perennial
Height to: 3-4ft
Width to: 2ft
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
  • 40 to 30ºF ZONE 10
  • 50 to 40ºF ZONE 11
Sun Exposure:
  • part sun
  • full sun
Bloom Description: Bloodflower (asclepias curassavica) bears flowers that are orange and red and borne in terminal and axillary clusters that are 2-4 in (5. 1-10. 2 cm) across. It blooms continuously from spring until autumn. The fruits are spindle shaped pods, 3-4 in (7. 6-10. 2 cm) long, that eventually split open to release little flat seeds that drift away on silky parachutes. A cultivar with yellow flowers is available.
Soil Type: prefer well drained, poor to moderately fertile soil
Plant Perks:
  • Attracts Butterflies
Pests and Diseases: susceptible to whiteflies and spider mites if grown under glass. Aphids and mealybugs are common when flowering. Rust and bacterial and fungal leaf spots are quite common in S.E. US.
Propagation: Bloodflower (asclepias curassavica) can be started from cuttings, and it grows quickly from seed.
Native to: South America but has become a naturalized weed in tropical and subtropical pastures, fields and disturbed areas throughout the world, including centr
Winter Sowing Zones: None
Notes for Identification:

Bloodflower (asclepias curassavica) is an evergreen subshrub, often grown as an annual and sometimes under glass, with upright branches and opposite, elliptic-lance shaped, mid green leaves, to 6in (15cm) long.

Used in perennial borders and meadow gardens. Its dependable bright orange and red flowers stand out against the dark green foliage. It's a thin, unobtrusive little plant that can be squeezed in among other perennials and shrubs and still counted on to show off its pretty flowers. 

Care: Bloodflower is easy to grow, thriving in dry, moist, and even wet soils.  Regular garden watering is adequate. Scarlet milkweed does fine without supplemental watering in the eastern US.

WARNING : All milkweeds are poisonous if ingested, and the milky sap is a skin irritant. The butterflies whose caterpillars feed on milkweeds contain the same poisonous glycosides and are poisonous as well

A caterpillar host plant for: the Monarch and  Queen butterfly

Butterfly nectar plant for: the Black Swallowtail, Baltimore Checkerspot, Great Spangled Fritillary, Mourning Cloak, Queen, Question Mark, Viceroy and the Zabulon Skipper.

Source: Various sources including Floridata, The American Horticultural Society A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants and the USDA


USDA Heat Zones (days above 86ºF):
  • 45 to 60 days ZONE 6
  • 60 to 90 days ZONE 7
  • 90 to 120 days ZONE 8
  • 120 to 150 days ZONE 9
  • 150 to 180 days ZONE 10
  • 180 to 210 days ZONE 11
  • Greater then 210 ZONE 12
Seed photo: 1
Seed Label: 1
Located in: Perennials
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