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$8.00 - quart

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available October 2014

 

Purple Milkweed

Asclepias purpurascens

 

Asclepias purpurascens (Purple Milkweed) flowering in early May at Growing Wild Nursery

Purple Milkweed is an adaptable native perennial, with dark purple flowers that bloom over several weeks in late spring. Plants grow 2 ft. tall in well drained soils, and 3 to 4 ft. tall in moist fertile soils, where it can spread to form small colonies. Hardy from zones 6 through 8.

 

How to grow

Plant Purple Milkweed in sun to part shade, and well drained 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

Purple Milkweed is at home in wildlife habitat gardens and flower beds, where its leaves provide monarch caterpillars with an abundant food source.

 

Wildlife attracted

Purple Milkweed is a larval host plant for the monarch, queen, and milkweed tussock caterpillars, and many pollinators, including butterflies and hummingbirds, are attracted to the flowers.

 

Where found in the wild

In the coastal plain, Asclepias purpurascens occurs at the edges of swamp forests, from New Hampshire south into North Carolina. In the 2002 we discovered two undocumented plants in Pender and Jones counties, south of their current range. Purple Milkweed is very rare in southeast North Carolina.

 

Source and origin

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

 

Comments

Our plants are from one of the most southern populations of the species, and will be more heat tolerant than sources from further north.

 

Propagation

Viable seed sown and exposed over the winter to a moist, cool period should germinate in the spring. Pencil thick pieces of root dug up in late winter and potted will slowly form roots and develop into a new plant.