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Monday - October 20, 2014

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Butterfly Gardens, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Milkweed recommendations for Austin, TX
Answered by: Larry Larson


I live on thin limestone soil in Austin's NW Hills. I'd like to plant some milkweed to help the monarch butterflies in their migration. Which species should I plant, and are those available in our local nurseries or at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center? Or must I start with seeds - I'm not very successful planting seeds. Also, do the plants require full sun, or will part shade do? Most of my yard is pretty shady.


Awww - - You just missed it!  The Wildflower Center just held its Fall Wildflower Sale last weekend – and they had two native varieties of Milkweed for Sale:   Asclepias texana (Texas milkweed) and Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed)

[They were quite popular for the same reason that you want them, but you may want to give the Wildflower Center a call and see if they are available]  Similarly, as many folks are interested in supporting the Monarchs, it is likely that your local native plant supplier would also have them in stock!

As natives recommended for this area – You can be comfortable that these varieties are well suited to our lovely thin limestone soil and seriously hot summers [not that they like it any more than we do!]

The growing conditions for Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed) gave:


Water Use: Low 
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade 
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist 
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium 
Drought Tolerance: High 
Soil Description: Prefers well-drained sandy soils. Tolerates drought. 

With that, it looks like the sunnier areas of your yard would be the most successful, Asclepias texana (Texas milkweed) indicated it needed full sun.



From the Image Gallery

Texas milkweed
Asclepias texana

Texas milkweed
Asclepias texana

Asclepias tuberosa

Asclepias tuberosa

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