(Orange Bloodflower) Vivid orange and gold clusters of tiny, star-shaped flowers contrast handsomely with the dark green, lance-shaped leaves of this milkweed. The endangered Monarch butterfly is drawn to milkweeds including Asclepias curassavica ‘Apollo Orange’ for nectar and as a host plant for its eggs. Milkweeds are the only plants their caterpillars will eat. Consuming powerful chemicals in the leaves protects them as babies and adults against predators for whom the chemicals are toxic.
Apollo Orange -- also commonly known as Tropical Milkweed and Mexican Butterfly Weed -- is native to South America and a perennial in USDA zones where winter is warm. Due to loving moisture, it is a good solution for sunny, damp areas of your yard. However, this milkweed grows well with average watering based on local conditions.
In zones with colder winters, it is an attractive annual for containers and can be cut back in late autumn to overwinter indoors. Just reduce watering, and place it in a cool yet sunny location. Unlike Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), this species doesn't have a taproot. So, it’s easier to control the plant's spread. Much has been written about the problems as well as the benefits Tropical Milkweeds present for Monarchs. Where these plants persist outdoors during winter, Monarchs may not complete their migration to Mexico. Prolonged growth and flowering creates difficulties including the spread of a protozoan parasite that harms Monarchs. To avoid this problem in warm regions, cut all types of Tropical Milkweed to the ground during early autumn and winter.
Please note: This is a seed-grown strain and may vary in flower color from plant to plant.
Here are some guidelines for success with this plant in your garden.
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This plant needs or tolerates more than six hours of intense sunlight daily. Many Salvias only thrive in wide-open locations where they receive long hours of full sun. However, full-sun species sometimes tolerate a bit of partial shade. Or a Salvia that loves partial shade may be amenable to spending part of its time in full sun.
In general, this sun/shade adaptability shows up in Salvias that do best in cooler climates when grown in full sun and thrive in hot climates when partial shade is available. So full-sun Salvias sometimes are also categorized as partial-shade plants and vice versa.
This plant can handle extreme heat.
Full-sun Salvias that don’t like any shade are among the most heat tolerant. Heat-loving Salvias also are often drought tolerant. Moisture-conserving features, such as fuzzy leaves, help them stay perky at high temperatures.
Heat-tolerant Salvias are fine choices for western and southern exposures.
This plant grows well in partial shade, such as the kind on the edge of woodlands or under deciduous trees with breaks in the foliage through which dappled sunlight penetrates. Many Salvias thrive in partial shade, including ones that spend part of their day in full sunlight. Some species need partial shade to overcome severe heat and dry soil.
To create a harmonious landscape plan, it is important to consider the heights of individual plants.
Height also affects function. Short Salvias often make excellent ground covers that conserve soil moisture and discourage weeds while also brightening your yard. Medium-height Salvias, such as ones 36 inches tall, often are ideal border plants. A tall Salvia planted singly can highlight a landscape; multiple plantings can form an attractive screen.
By considering the width of a plant, you can determine how many to place in a row or what other plants to grow with it.
For example, a narrow, moderate-height Salvia may look good interplanted with bushier species, kind of like Mutt and Jeff.
In contrast, wide-spreading Salvias are economical for hiding lengths of wall and fence or for creating hedge-like divisions in a yard.
Plant hardiness Zones defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture tell you the minimum temperatures a plant can withstand in your garden. The USDA divides the nation into winter climate areas from coldest (Zone 1) to warmest (Zone 11).
However, it is sometimes possible to grow a Zone 6 Salvia as a perennial in Zone 5 if you provide preferential care, such as winter mulching and a location sheltered from harsh winds. In contrast, a Zone 9 Salvia may act like a perennial in Zone 10 if given a bit of shade or extra water.
This plant needs regular watering based on what is appropriate to your local conditions.
In some extremely hot, arid climates, this may mean daily watering in Summer. Although many drought-resistant Salvias survive on little to no watering due to local rainfall and deep roots meeting their moisture needs, others need regular doses. The size and frequency of the dose depends on your climate.
This plant thrives on or at least tolerates lots of water, especially when soil is well drained. They are generally not suitable for poorly drained soils.
A number of Salvias hold up well in areas where rainfall is a regular occurrence. Some even tolerate boggy conditions but only for a brief time. These are usually top-notch plants for regions of the country, such as the Southeast, where summers are soggy.
This plant reaches peak bloom in Fall or flowers for much of the season.
It may begin flowering much earlier in the year. Bloom time for some Salvias lasts from Spring till first frost. Others begin flowering in Summer and continue into Fall. There are also Salvias that don’t bloom until late Fall and continue into Winter if grown in mild-Winter areas.
There is a great deal of overlap in blooming seasons for Salvias.
This plant reaches peak bloom during Spring or flowers for much of the season.
However, it may begin flowering sooner. Some Spring-blooming Salvias begin flowering in Winter; others start in Spring, keep producing color through summer and may continue on into autumn and first frost. Still others flower only in Spring.
There is a great deal of overlap in blooming seasons for Salvias.
This plant attracts butterflies whether for nectar or as a host for their caterpillars. Some butterflies feed on a limited range of flowering plants and only lay eggs on one kind of host plant. Salvia nectar lures adult butterflies. Placing host plants, such as Milkweeds (Asclepias spp.), next to nectar plants builds butterfly habitat. In exchange, the butterflies improve fertility in your garden through pollination.
Unless local forage is in short supply, most deer likely will avoid this plant.
It appears that deer dislike Salvias, in general, due to their volatile oils that make the plants so fragrant and savory in cooking. However, the only completely deer-proof plants are the ones grown beyond reach.
(Kudos Coral Hybrid Anise Hyssop) Dense plumes of deep coral flowers are accented by mid-green foliage in this heat- and drought-tolerant favorite of pollinators. Kudos Coral is a compact, clumping, semi-dwarf variety.
(Kudos Mandarin Hybrid Anise Hyssop) Dense plumes of creamy orange flowers are accented by deep green foliage in this heat- and drought-tolerant favorite of pollinators. Kudos Mandarin is a compact, clumping, semi-dwarf variety.
(Kudos Ambrosia Hybrid Anise Hyssop) Dense plumes of flowers are accented by deep green foliage in this heat- and drought-tolerant favorite of pollinators. Kudos Ambrosia is a compact, clumping, semi-dwarf variety. The originator of this plant describes the color as creamy coconut, pale orange and light rose pink.
(Kudos Yellow Hybrid Anise Hyssop) Flowers by the Sea is one of the first nurseries nationwide to grow Agastache x 'Kudos Yellow'. This is one of the best deep yellow Agastaches we've found, due to its large, dense flower spikes and bushy, upright form.
(Red Texas Firecracker) Hummingbirds and butterflies will thank you with frequent visits if you add this long-blooming plant to your wildlife garden. Its bright red trumpet-type flowers with long, narrow petals are wells of delicious nectar.
(Orange Texas Firecracker) Hummingbirds and butterflies will thank you with frequent visits if you add this long-blooming plant to your wildlife garden. Its clear, pumpkin-orange trumpet-type flowers with long, narrow petals are wells of delicious nectar.
(Indian Milkweed) It's the hairy, minty green foliage of Asclepias eriocarpa -- not its star-like, pink and cream flowers filled with nectar -- that is most valuable to Monarch butterflies.
(Golden Bloodflower) Easy to cultivate, whether as an annual or tender perennial, Golden Bloodflower is a South American native that Monarchs and other butterflies love. Unlike Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), this species doesn't have a taproot. This means that it is easier to control the plant's spread.
(Swan Plant) Elegant white flowers with purple inner markings change into lime green-to-gold balloon-shaped seedpods in this South African milkweed that Monarch butterflies love. The seedpods are 2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter.
(Lion's Ear or Wild Dagga) "Leon" is Greek for "lion," whereas "otis" translates as "ear." The appellation "leonurus" equals "lion colored." Actually, we think the tawny orange blossoms of this mint family (Lamiaceae) species look more like a lion's mane.
(Summer Jewel White Tropical Sage) Butterflies, hummingbirds and honeybees enjoy this All American 2016 winner, which is an outstanding choice for pure white color from June to autumn. The Summer Jewel varieties of Tropical Sage is generally the first to flower for us.
(Silky Red Bloodflower) Vivid red and gold clusters of tiny, star-shaped flowers contrast handsomely with the dark green, lance-shaped leaves of Asclepias curassavica 'Silky Red." The Monarch Butterfly is drawn to for nectar and as a host plant for its eggs.
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Posted: Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Creating a butterfly garden is like creating a teen-friendly home. You need to offer tasty snacks, healthy beverages, and comfortable accommodations that aren't too tidy. Like the teens that fill your basement and backyard, butterflies will keep coming back if you give them what they need. The variety of plants in your yard is the main reason why butterflies do or don’t visit. Salvias are among the popular plants for adult butterflies that love nectar.
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Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
If you want to invite butterflies to lodge in your backyard overnight or during winter, building pretty butterfly houses won't succeed. They need all kinds of messy hangouts to ride out a rain storm, sleep through the night safely and endure winter in your garden. You can build a butterfly hostel without hammer and nails.
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Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2019
Although America has many native milkweeds, choosing the right one for your garden partly depends on plant and seed availability. Limitations sometimes cause gardeners to select nonnative Tropical Milkweed. Flowers by the Sea helps gardeners nationwide to increase milkweed habitat, which Monarch Butterflies need as host and nectar plants. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the Everything Salvias Blog and is based on calls and emails from customers.
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