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Eastern Swamp Milkweed

Asclepias incarnata variety pulchra

Swamp milkweed is the one of the best wildlife plants for the garden. Its pinkish flowers feed butterflies, bees, and beetles while its leaves provide an important food source for the caterpillars of the monarch butterfly. Hardy in zones 5 through 8.

Eastern Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata variety pulchra) pink flowers open in summer and attract many different types of pollinators

 

What can I expect?

Jump down page to see photos



Growth Habit

  • Vase-like
  • Clump forming - doesn't spread
  • 3 to 5 ft. tall and wide
  • Plants can be spaced 3 to 4 ft. apart

Flowering Period

Four weeks between June and August.


How to Grow Swamp Milkweed

  • Easy to grow in sun to part shade – at least 6 hours of direct sun to promote plenty of flowers
  • Moist to wet soil

Though native to wet soil in the wild, swamp milkweed is surprisingly adaptable and can tolerant periodic drought, once established.


Where to Plant

  • Flower beds
  • Edges of ponds
  • Wet meadows and ditches
  • Rain gardens

Wildlife Value

Flowers are mainly pollinated by:

  • Large bees and bumble bees
  • Large butterflies, such as swallowtails and monarchs

Flowers provide nectar for:

  • Wide variety of beneficial insects
  • Hummingbirds

Larval host plant for:

  • Monarch butterfly
  • Queen butterfly
  • Milkweed tussock moth

Native Habitat and Range

  • Edges of marshes, bogs, and swamps
  • Nova Scotia to Georgia

Source and Origin

Plants grown from seed collected on the edge of a roadside ditch in Alamance County, North Carolina.


Comments

Asclepias incarnata variety pulchra differs from variety incarnata in that its leaves are pubescent (hairy), slightly wider and it has more branched habit of growth.


Propagation

Before seeds will germinate, they need to be exposed to a moist, cool period for at least three weeks, or work with nature and sow seeds in the fall so germination will occur in the spring. Here is an article we wrote on growing milkweed from seed.



Your Swamp Milkweed plant(s) will look similar to the photos below:


Photo of what your swamp milkweed plant will look like when it arrives in mid-April
Mid-April
Photo of what your swamp milkweed plant will look like when it arrives in mid-May
Mid-May
Photo of what your swamp milkweed plant will look like when it arrives in September
September
Photo of what your swamp milkweed plant will look like when it arrives from November through April
November through March