One of the native plants we picked up at a Mojave Desert Land Trust plant sale in 2019 was the Desert Milkweed (Asclepias erosa). In fact, we got two plants. We planted them with a mesh barrier for protection from our snacky resident critters. They were relatively small and did ok that first summer. By fall, they died away.
At a MDLT event in late fall of 2019, I chatted with Madena Asbell, who is the Director of Plant Conservation Programs at MDLT, about the milkweed. She gave me the best advice: Be patient. They will come back.
So we waited and waited for warmer weather to hopefully "wake up" the plants. I regularly checked their areas for any signs of new growth.
All I was getting familiar with was the amount of other springtime plants loving that disturbed soil within the barriers.
And then, one day in March, I saw leaves that didn't look like the grasses and mustards that were invading the space. It was the milkweed! It was emerging in one of the barriers
Above: Desert Milkweed amongst the invading plants. Its lighter (almost silvery blue) leaves are larger than the other plants.
In order to give it as much help as we could, I decided to weed inside the barrier.
Above: The soil around the Desert Milkweed has been rid of all other plants. The dried plant material on the right is the dead plant from last year.
Above: Close up of the emerging Desert Milkweed.
The milkweed continues to grow and now has some huge leaves! I'm excited to see it flower when it finally does.
Above: The Desert Milkweed making lots of progress. This photo is from April 23.
Even more good news! The other milkweed has begun to emerge as well!
Above: The second Desert Milkweed shows signs of life. Photo from April 23.
Both Desert Milkweeds survived and just needed a little bit of patience.