Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Saturday - October 18, 2008

From: Boynton Beach, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Watering for Scarlett Milkweed in Florida
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a Scarlett Milkweed and it was doing very well until this last week. It now has yellow leaves that are falling off and no flowers. It says on the tag that the water is low once it is established. It was given to me and at that time it was only 12" tall, now it's almost 3' feet tall. Was wondering what would be the best way to take care of it? Do I water weekly, bi-weekly? Thank you for your assistance!

ANSWER:

Asclepias currassavica, Scarlet Milkweed, is a native of South America but has become a naturalized weed in tropical and subtropical areas all over the world including Central and South Florida. Since it is a non-native to North America, it falls out of the range of expertise of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. We only recommend, and grow in our Gardens, plants native to North America and to the area in which they are being grown. This is because, being adapted to the conditions, they will require less water, fertilizer and maintenance. And, of course, as in the case of your plant, non-natives can sometimes become invasive and crowd out more desirable native plants.

Although we do not have information on this plant in our Native Plant Database, here is a website from Floridata on Asclepias currassavica that might be a source of the information you need. We suspect that it is approaching the end of its season and starting to drop leaves and cease to flower.  Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed), which is native to Florida, is listed as deciduous, which means it is dropping its leaves, will die back and return in the Spring. 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Native flowers for cutting for wedding in June
January 25, 2009 - My husband and I are hosting a wedding reception for our daughter and her husband in Austin in June. If possible, we would like to use live flowers or live colorful plants as centerpieces and decorat...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native bi-color iris from Spring Branch TX
August 18, 2011 - Bi colored iris. I have four plants planted around our water feature last fall. Up until recently they all looked very healthy, yet not blooming. Several weeks ago I noticed that two of the plants ...
view the full question and answer

Defenses against imported red leaf beetles on lilies
August 06, 2007 - I've recently discovered small red beetles of some kind on my lilies, which they are happily devouring. I've been picking them off with my fingers and squashing them, but I'd like a better alterna...
view the full question and answer

Shade tolerant plants for erosion from Austin
May 03, 2014 - I live in Austin and my house backs up to Shoal Creek. I am looking for a native creeping vine or something that will grow on the shaded bank to help prevent erosion. It should be able to tolerate the...
view the full question and answer

Petals not developing on blackeyed susans from Nashville TN
July 05, 2011 - I have an established "patch" of black eyes susans. This year, the leaves are beautiful, the centers black..but the petals are practically non existent. They didn't seem to develop correctly. Any...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.