Swamp Milkweed

Asclepias incarnata

Swamp Milkweed, scientifically known as Asclepias incarnata, is a captivating perennial plant native to North America. Its elegant clusters of pinkish-mauve flowers and its importance as a host plant for monarch butterflies make it a cherished addition to gardens. It thrives in moist to wet soils, making it an excellent choice for rain gardens, pond edges, and marshy areas.

Flowers: J F M A M J J A S O N D
Origin: This plant is native to North America and can be found in regions from southern Canada to Florida and as far west as Texas.
Family: Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)
Size: 3′-5′
Sun: Prefers full sun but can tolerate light shade. It benefits from at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight daily.
Watering: Consistent moisture is crucial, especially during the growing season. Mulching around the base of the plant can help retain moisture.
Growth Rate:
Soil: Well-drained, moderately fertile soil is ideal. However, it is adaptable to a range of soil types, including clay and sandy soils.
Pruning: Deadheading spent flowers can encourage continuous blooming.
Disease and Pests:
Uses: Swamp Milkweed is a vital host plant for Monarch and Queen butterflies, providing a food source and a place for them to lay their eggs. The nectar-rich flowers attract a wide variety of pollinators, including hummingbirds, bees and butterflies, making it an excellent addition to wildlife-friendly gardens.
Notes: The juice of this wetland milkweed is less milky than that of other species. Blooms can be pink, purple or white. All parts are toxic in large quantities.


Springtime Sanctuaries: The Importance of Leaving Stems for Pollinators

In the delicate dance of spring’s arrival, our gardens hold secrets of renewal. Among them, the steadfast sentinels of last year’s growth stand tall – the perennial and grass stems. While their outward appearance may suggest dormancy, within their midst lies a bustling ecosystem.

Many insects, including beneficial ones like bees, butterflies, and ladybugs, overwinter in the hollow stems of perennials and grasses. These stems provide shelter from harsh winter conditions, protecting them until spring.

The uncut perennial and grass stems also serve as valuable nesting material for various bird species. Birds, especially those that build cup-shaped nests, such as finches and sparrows, often seek out these stems. They will gather and weave them into their nests, providing a secure and insulated environment for their eggs and fledglings.

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