Vern Fisher / MCT

A Monarch caterpillar enjoys munching on a milkweed plant.

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New Front Yard: Monarchs love this pretty milkweed

Published: Saturday, Jul. 26, 2014 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Saturday, Sep. 13, 2014 - 12:36 am

This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum “New Front Yard” series, 41 drought-tolerant and beautiful plants well adapted to our region.

Narrowleaf milkweed

Asclepias fascicularus

Size: Under 3 feet tall.

Bloom season: Summer.

Pruning needs: Little or none; cut back in winter to renew.

Exposure: Full sun.

Water needs: Once established, water deeply twice a month.

Snapshot: This may be the ultimate butterfly magnet –especially for the beloved Monarch. Milkweeds are a primary food source for Monarch caterpillars. And this Baja California native can make a pretty addition to the low-water garden, too. The summer flowers, which appear in clusters, are pinkish white and attract butterflies from June through September. The attractive foliage is a pale green with fine, narrow leaves. Milkweed tolerates heat and drought, but can’t stand shade; it needs full sun. Happy in sandy or clay soil, this easy-care perennial also adapts well to slopes. See specimens in the UC Davis Arboretum’s Mary Wattis Brown Garden of California Native Plants on the UC Davis campus.

• For more on the New Front Yard, click on

Debbie Arrington

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See photo galleries of the arboretum’s Community Favorites and Arboretum All-Stars at

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