Grow Heart-Leaf Milkweed for Monarch Butterflies!
Heart-leaf milkweed is the common name for Asclepias cordifolia. It is one of the milkweed plants which Monarch butterflies will use to feed their caterpillars. Monarchs will only use certain species in the Milkweed family on which to lay their eggs and Asclepias cordifolia is a beautiful one!
About Asclepias Cordifolia
Asclepias cordifolia is a perennial that will die back in the fall to return in the spring. It is hardy in USDA zones 7-10. Heart-leaf milkweed grows about 1-3 feet high and has lovely heart-shaped blue/green leaves that are tinged with purple. It is unique as one of the more colorful milkweed species.
The flower buds have a dark purple/burgundy look to them which open to reveal burgundy petals highlighted with a white or pink corona. The flowers appear from June-August and are followed by seed pods which are tear-drop shaped and also tinged with purple.
Heart-Leaf Milkweed Growing Conditions
Asclepias cordifolia is native to only a small region of the United States which includes California (mostly the northern half), Nevada and Oregon. It likes full sun or partial shade and is drought tolerant. Heart-leaf milkweed does well in medium to course soil (or rocky soil) and thus prefers soil with good drainage.
We have searched for information about how well it does outside of its native region but have found very little. We would love to hear from you if you have experience growing Heart-leaf milkweed outside of CA, NV, or OR.
How to Germinate Heart-leaf Milkweed Seeds
Heart-leaf milkweed seeds need 2 months of cold stratification before they will germinate (mix with moist sand in a plastic baggy in the refrigerator). This also makes it a candidate for planting in the fall or winter-sowing.
After 2 months of stratification, plant seeds about 1/4 in deep at room temperature. They take longer to germinate than some other milkweeds, about 3-4 weeks, but germination is well above 50% with this method.
Buy Asclepias Cordifolia Milkweed Seeds and Plants
If I were butterfly gardening in CA, NV, OR then this pretty milkweed would be high on my list for attracting Monarchs! If you are not located within the native region of Heart-leaf milkweed and want to stay with milkweed that is native for you, we have other milkweed plants you may want to consider. Milkweed plants will bring the Monarch butterflies to your garden, and the eggs, caterpillars, and chrysalises are so easy and beautiful to raise indoors or just watch in the garden.