Giant Milkweed Calotropis gigantea
Giant Milkweed, Calotropis gigantea, beautiful purple flowers
Giant Milkweed has purple flowers that look like they're made of wax. It grows like a bush. I'm not sure how tall they get, because I can't seem to keep one alive, but I absolutely love this beautiful plant anyway.
Giant Milkweed, Calotropis gigantea, beautiful purple flowers covered in raindrops
The purple flowers grow in clusters and are about the size of ping-pong balls. The leaves are huge, larger than your hand. Here's a photograph of a small Giant Milkweed plant growing with some grass in the background to give you some perspective with which to judge their size.
Giant Milkweed, Calotropis gigantea, purple flowers and large leaves
Plants tend to house little guests. Each plant seems to have its pest, but the pest of this Giant Milkweed is BUTTERFLIES!
When you notice that something is eating your plant, look a little closer, turn over a leaf, and see what you find. This wild looking black, white and yellow creature is a Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar.
Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar eating a Giant Milkweed leaf
Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar eating a Giant Milkweed leaf that has caterpillar damage
Another way to find your caterpillars is to look for their frass. See these little dots on the leaf?  Yup - bug poop. The little dots help you find little caterpillars. Oh, look at what flew over while I was looking for frass:
 That thing that looks like a misplaced thorn on the leaf is a Thorned Treehopper. I was holding the leaf when the treehopper hopped away and it felt like it was spring loaded.
 Here are the indicators of a big caterpillar:
Caterpillar frass on a Giant Milkweed leaf
Caterpillar frass on a Giant Milkweed leaf behind a Thorned Treehopper, Umbonia crassicornis
Ok, enough with the fertilizer. It's probably good for your garden - yeah, think of it that way. Speaking of good for the garden, this ladybug was wandering around on the Giant milkweed too.
It's Milkweed. Milkweed gets Milkweed Beetles; that's why we call them that. Bugs aside, this Milkweed plant has some fantastic flowers and it's a butterfly host plant; I like it.
Thorned Treehopper, Umbonia crassicornis, spined bug with orange eyes
caterpillar poop on a Giant Milkweed leaf
ladybug on Giant Milkweed
Giant Milkweed flower with two milkweed beetles perched on it
Giant Milkweed Flower
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