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Purple Milkweed

Asclepias purpurascens

Purple milkweed has dark purple flowers that bloom for several weeks in late spring. The large leaves provide plenty of food for monarch caterpillars. Hardy in zones 5 through 8.


Purple Milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens) in full flower growing with Virginia Chain Fern and Blue Flag Iris



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Pot size: 4.5 in. wide x 5 in. deep (32 fl. oz)



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  • 2 to 3 ft. tall
  • Can form colonies 4 to 6 ft. wide in moist, fertile soil
  • How to Grow

  • Sun to part shade - at least 6 hours of direct sun for ideal flowering
  • Moist to wet soil
  • Easy to grow in all but the driest of soils and once established, can tolerate periodic drought and flooding.

    Where to plant

  • Informal flower beds
  • Wildlife habitat gardens
  • Rain gardens
  • Damp meadows
  • Wildlife

    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

  • Grows at the edges of swamp forests growing along streambanks and in swamps
  • New Hampshire to North Carolina, where uncommon to rare throughout its range
  • Source and origin

    Plants are grown from root cuttings at the nursery. Original source came from seeds collected off a population growing on the edge of bottomland forest in Pender County, North Carolina.


    Our plants are from one of the most southern populations of Purple Milkweed and should be more adaptable to southern regions than plants from northern sources.


    Viable seed sown and exposed over the winter to a moist, cool period should germinate in the spring. Here is an article we wrote on growing milkweed from seed. Pencil thick pieces of root dug up in late winter and potted will slowly form roots and develop into a new plant.