Antelope Horn Milkweed for Monarch Butterfly Gardens
Antelope Horn Milkweed (Asclepias asperula) is a low, sprawling Southwestern native that thrives in warm, arid zones. It feeds Monarch, Soldier and Queen Butterfly caterpillars and adults, but many other butterflies and pollinators enjoy its nectar-filled flowers, too.
Antelope Horn is commonly called Spider and Green-Flowered Milkweed, but don’t confuse this plant with Green Milkweed, which does best in the Southeast and Midwest.
Characteristics of Asclepias asperula
Antelope Horn is an herbaceous perennial, hardy in zones 5-9. It appears early in the spring to provide food for early-migration Monarchs. Asclepias asperula hugs the ground, growing no taller than 2′, and spreads laterally. The flowers have a green to cream coloring, with purple highlights in the center.
Because of its long taproot, this milkweed is drought-tolerant and non-aggressive. You’ll often find it in sandy or rocky, well-draining soil, preferring dry to medium moisture and full sun.
Many blooming stems can come from the same plant. When the seed pods form, they look like antelope horns. It’s been said said that a field of these plants resembles a field full of antelope!
Starting Antelope Horn Milkweed Seeds
Plant Antelope Horn Milkweed seeds in the fall, winter, or spring (indoors or out). Milkweed seeds need about a month of cold to germinate properly; this cold spell breaks the seeds’ dormancy. After stratification, plant seeds about 1/8″ deep at room temperature, 70°F.
Antelope Horn Milkweed helps Monarchs in their early migration, and is a robust species for Southwestern native planting!
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