Alphabetical Plant Listing

Learn How To Plant, Care and Grow Splendid Asclepias

Milkweed, Common Milkweed, Butterflyweed, Swamp Milkweed, Showy Milkweed, Mexican Whorled Milkweed, Tropical Milkweed, Asclepias syriaca, Asclepias tuberosa, Asclepias incarnata, Asclepias speciosa, Asclepias fascicularis, Asclepias curassavica


Mostly native to the U.S. and Canada, Asclepias include over 100 species of evergreen or deciduous perennials adorned with clusters of small, interestingly shaped blooms that are irresistible to butterflies. Attractive and easy to grow, they shine in many perennial gardens and are a key component of butterfly gardens, cottage gardens, or prairies and meadows.

Often fragrant, the attractive flowers are a great source of nectar for butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, and other beneficial insects. Milkweed plants are critical to the monarch butterflies survival. Without Milkweed, monarchs cannot successfully reproduce and the species declines. In the last 20 years, the monarch butterfly population in North America has decreased by 90%. By planting milkweed in your own garden, you can help reverse the fortune of these beautiful insects!

1. Select The Right Site

  • Best flowering usually occurs in full sun except for a few species such as Asclepias purpurascens (Purple Milkweed), which prefers partial shade.
  • Soil conditions vary with the Milkweed variety. While light, well-drained soils are usually best, some species including Asclepia incarnata (Swamp Milkweed) and Asclepia sullivantii (Prairie Milkweed) thrive in moist conditions.
  • Click here to see all Milkweed varieties

Asclepias asperula

Asclepias incarnata

Asclepias curassavica

2. Planting Milkweed

  • Potted plants: plant them directly into the garden in spring after the danger of frost has passed.
  • Seeds: plant your seeds directly into the soil in the fall. As an alternative, you can start your seeds indoors, 4-8 weeks before the average date of last frost. Use plastic flats or seedling trays. Fill them 3/4 with potting soil, scatter the seeds on the soil surface 1/2 in. apart (1 cm). Cover with 1/4 in. (0.5 cm) of soil mix. Water thoroughly and place them either in a sunny window or directly under the grow lights. Most seeds will germinate in 7-10 days if the flats are maintained at 75˚F (24˚C). After the seeds have germinated and are 3-6 in. tall, they are ready to be transplanted into your garden.
  • Loosen the soil where you will be planting.
  • Plant your seedlings 6-24 in. apart (15-60 cm) depending on the species. Water regularly. Add mulch around the seedlings to hold in the moisture and minimizes the growth of competing weeds.
  • Click here to see all Milkweed Garden Ideas

Asclepias tuberosa

Asclepias physocarpus

Asclepias speciosa

3. Aftercare

  • Asclepia incarnata (Swamp Milkweed) needs evenly moist soils. Most other Milkweed species are suited to a dry environment.
  • No fertilization needed.
  • No division required.
  • To avoid unwanted seedlings, remove all seed pods in early fall, before they split open and spread their seed.
  • Click here to compare all Milkweed plants

Guide Information

Hardiness 3 - 10
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Asclepias
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Maintenance Low
Tolerance Deer
Attracts Butterflies
Landscaping Ideas Beds and Borders
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow
Compare All Asclepias Great Plant Combination Ideas with Asclepias Guides with Asclepias

S Reed, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Hardiness 3 - 10
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Asclepias
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Maintenance Low
Tolerance Deer
Attracts Butterflies
Landscaping Ideas Beds and Borders
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow
Compare All Asclepias Great Plant Combination Ideas with Asclepias Guides with Asclepias

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