Lower South

May, 2006
Regional Report

Web Finds

Beneficial Insect Information
Learn more about the beneficial insects out in your garden and how to identify them. The Earthwise Guide to Beneficial Insects is an online publication that provides a great overview of conserving beneficial insects in your landscape, including some helpful photos to aid in identification.

Favorite or New Plant

Tropical Milkweed
The easy-to-grow tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) thrives in full sun to part shade and is tolerant of dry to wet soil conditions. It belongs in every butterfly garden as it is a favorite food source for caterpillars of Monarch and Queen butterflies. Adult butterflies are attracted to the clusters of orange and yellow blooms that are produced from spring to fall. A cultivar with yellow flowers is also available. This plant is a reseeding annual in zone 8 and above, and a perennial in zone 9 and 10. The upright, 2- to 3-foot-tall growth habit makes it a natural for fitting in among other taller annual and perennial flowers. This milkweed attracts a yellow aphid that does little damage but that does attract several species of beneficial insects, including ladybugs, lacewings, syrphid flies, and parasitic wasps. I suggest leaving them be to help boost beneficial insect populations around your landscape. However, you can wash off the aphids with a blast of water or spray them with a soap or horticultural oil spray.

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