Plant of the Month – January


Rush Milkweed, Ajamete
Asclepius subulata


  • Plant Form: Perennial sub-shrub
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 3-5 ft. tall and wide
  • Exposure: Full sun, reflected sun
  • Bloom Time: Spring (April-May), Summer (June-Aug), Fall (Sept-Nov), Winter (Dec)
  • Native to: California, Arizona, Nevada, Baja California, northwest Mexico
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 20°F

This southwest native plant not only adds sculptural interest in the garden with its rush-like, erect green stems, it also provides food for Monarch butterflies and other pollinators.


Rush Milkweed is an erect, perennial herb named for its dozens to hundreds of rush-like, leafless, green stems. Small, narrow leaves appear after rain and on new growth, but fall off quickly. Rush Milkweed blooms periodically throughout year, and is an important food source for Monarch Butterflies, so conservation-minded groups encourage its planting. Fascinating pollen packages are specialized to clip onto legs of insect visitors, and unclip when inserted into another flower.  Pairs of distinctive, horn-shaped, 3-inch-long seed pods follow the flowers, filled with many flat seeds that are covered with long, silky plumes. This milkweed oozes a rubber-containing latex when cut or wounded, which can irritate skin. While moderately easy to grow, this desert native is susceptible to aphids and death by root rot if overwatered. Its strong vertical lines make it eye-catching in desert landscapes, in borders, flowerbeds, and butterfly and rock gardens.


Check out our “Garden Tasks” for January