Swamp milkweed (along with other milkweed species) is a food source for monarch butterfly larvae. Swamp Milkweed Growing Conditions. Wet the soil and allow it to drain before scattering seeds and covering with about 1/4 inch of soil. Obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana) grows 3 to 4 feet tall and produces pink to pale lilac flowers on upright, terminal flower spikes in mid- to late summer. Bloom Time/Color: Late summer/Pink Flowers vary from light blue to purple, but are most often violet blue. Swamp milkweed is an excellent perennial for low sites or other moist locations in the landscape. Pinkish purple flowers are produced on 12- to 18-inch-long, upright spikes. Whorled milkweed (Asclepias verticillata) – A larval host plant that grows in dry or sandy soils, this whorled milkweed is hardy in USDA zones 4a to 10b. The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed. Flowering begins at the top of the spike and moves downward. Plants tolerate short dry periods, but prefer soils that are consistently moist or wet. Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Horticulture and Home Pest News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Florida native milkweeds can be found in a variety of soil conditions, ranging from very wet to very dry. While most species prefer dry sites, prairie blazing star (Liatris pycnostachya) is typically found in moist prairies and meadows. The genus Asclepias is thought to have been named for the Greek god of medicine, Asklepios.1 Asclepias tuberosahas several common names including butterfly milkweed, butterfly weed and orange milkweed. If you take a handful, you should be able to squeeze it and only have a few drops fall out. The Monarch Butterfly loves the nectar of Swamp Milkweed flowers throughout the bloom season. So are the bees. It can reach a height of 3 to 4 feet. Identifying wet soils: the plants that like “wet feet” are able to grow and tolerate the more water-filled soils. Preparing the Soil. Height: 4 feet. This plant can grow 5-8 feet tall, so if space is a problem look for the dwarf variety ‘Little Joe’ that only grows 3-4 feet tall. It is also a great choice for the home garden as it is a clumping milkweed. When your milkweed has reached 3-6 inches, it is ready to be planted outdoors! When you grow mass plantings of Milkweeds, bees can easily see Swamp Milkweed from some distance away. … Native plants support native pollinators and integrate beautifully into the ecosystem. speciosa) has rosy pink flowers. Take a closer look at your landscape’s characteristics. Swamp milkweed is a perennial flowering plant found in wet and damp soils like those near rivers, streams, ditches, and swamps. It is also referred to as false dragonhead. This free-flowering native milkweed usually only grows 12-24 inches tall, continually sending up stalks topped with white blooms that often have a … When selecting perennials, it’s important to choose plants that are suitable for the site. It is found in moist locations along streams and marshes and in moist alluvial woods. A vegetative cover of Swamp Milkweed prevents soil erosion. Competing weeds may need to be removed periodically. Striking, glossy black leaves highlighted with silvery-white veins make elephant's ear impossible to miss. Plants are typically short-lived perennials. This plant is native to North America and is found widely distributed across this continent in addition to being grown ornamentally in many regions of the world. Water frequently after planting until plants become established. Also, plant roots that stay too wet too long are more likely to have disease issues. An open, flat mud puddle near the milkweed attracts Butterflies for “mud puddling.”  Butterflies like to gather in mud puddles to drink and sip salts from mineral nutrients in soil. Swamp Milkweed is found naturally along creeks, lakes and water edges. Performs best in full sun and moist soils. This plant needs full sun or partial sun and moist soil to thrive. Where to Plant Most milkweed species evolved in open areas where they were exposed to full sunlight and they will do best if they are planted in the sunniest areas of your gardens. In August and September, plants produce hollyhock-like, five-petaled flowers. Clear and loosen the soil in a sunny spot of the garden. We have a However, plants will tolerate partial shade. Plants tolerate short dry periods, but prefer soils that are consistently moist or wet. Many milkweeds are suited to dry soils but some, like swamp milkweed, need moist and rich soil to grow well. Looking for an outstanding and showy flower to plant that grows in wet soils and supports important pollinators? The native peoples of the Pueblo region used the seed pod fibers to spin yarn to weave fabri… Possible planting sites include water gardens, rain gardens, pond banks, landscape beds, and naturalized areas. Avoid using insecticides/herbicides in areas planted in milkweed. Partial sun generally will result in smaller plants with fewer flowers. Several species of Liatris are native to Iowa. When the caterpillars hatch, they feed on the leaves of milkweed. Monarch Butterfly enjoying Swamp Milkweed. Southern blue flag grows best in moist to wet soils in full sun. The vanilla-scented flowers are pale pink to rose-purple. Your email address will not be published. One of the most striking native perennials is the cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis). Native milkweed is a perennial, which means it is a plant that returns and grows the next year where it was planted. Swamp milkweed has 3- to 6-inch-long, lance-shaped leaves, grows 3 to 4 feet tall, and blooms from July through August. Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) is typically found in prairie potholes, at the edges of marshes, and in wet ditches. Red Milkweed is a native perennial wildflower found in the sandhills, swampy areas, and wet pine savannas from New Jersey south to Florida and west to Teas. Many have adapted to different regions of the country and a wide range of climates and terrains, from deserts and rocky areas to marshes and open prairies. Plants have lance-shaped, finely toothed leaves, grow 2 to 3 feet tall, and produce terminal spikes of cardinal red flowers. are very scarce. Plants generally do not require supplemental fertilization. Planting this on dry sites … With a record amount of rainfall this summer, Swamp Milkweed caught my attention because this versatile plant likes wetter soils and even clay soils. Southern blue flag spreads by rhizomes and develops into dense colonies when located in favorable growing sites. Sustainably harvested, non-GMO wildflower, native grass, and vegetable seeds balls. Seeds should sprout in 1-2 weeks. Asclepias curassavica self-seeds readily. The stems and leav… With young common milkweed, I cut a big circle around the plant, then go deep, and take out the whole mass. In my completely unscientific kitchen experiments, I’ve noticed that Monarch caterpillars PREFER Tropical milkweed. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. Monarchs are a species at risk from loss of habitat and need patches of milkweed. Deer find it repugnant and avoid eating milkweeds. Species for wildflower seed balls (Gallery), Ten Reasons to Garden with Swamp Milkweed in Wet Soils, With a record amount of rainfall this summer, Swamp Milkweed caught my attention because this versatile. How to Grow Milkweed Plants Planting Season. The long, oblong leaves are light green and grow to about 8 inches long. (800) 262-3804, Iowa State University | PoliciesState & National Extension Partners, By Richard Jauron, Department of Horticulture, Like us at Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic, Like us at Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Planting Milkweeds to Help Conserve Monarch Butterflies. Since milkweed is the only plant that Monarch caterpillars can eat, the availability of milkweed is necessary for the survival of this amazing butterfly. This species has large displays of pink flower clusters, grows to 3 or 4 feet in height, and prefers full sun. Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is a native herbaceous perennial whose main virtue is its appeal to butterfliesespecially the monarch, which deposits its eggs on the milkweed. The plant originated in Central America and has gradually moved north. Wet locations can be challenging, but they also provide gardening opportunities. Plant your seed. It has no insect or disease problems, but it does best in moist or wet soil. Deep-rooting, perennial plants help slow down the flow of fast-moving water during storm runoff. The plant’s large size and its propensity to spread limit its use to large landscapes and naturalized areas. Grow it as an annual in wet soil (or even standing water) or bring it in as a houseplant and enjoy the foliage all winter. that some plants are deer resistant. It is good to see Turtleheads spread slowly via rhizomes. Photo, Betsy Nottingham, Monarch caterpillar and Swamp Milkweed, late summer. The leaves also serve to feed young Monarch caterpillars. Do you see. Plants can be successfully grown in full sun to partial shade as long as the site has a uniformly moist soil. plant likes wetter soils and even clay soils. CARE: Keep soil damp but not excessively wet until plants are 3-5 inches tall. Unlike many ornamentals, swamp milkweed tolerates heavy clay soils and is very deer-resistant. On the return trip, they can sip nectar from late-blooming flowers in your garden. ... Plant in full sun to partial shade in consistently moist to wet acidic soil. Leaves are up to 6 inches long and have 3 to 5 lobes. Rose mallow doesn’t bloom well in shady locations. Rose mallow (Hibiscus laevis) is most often found in the southern half of Iowa in wet soils along streams, rivers, ponds, and marshes. Sun Exposure: Full, Partial. Obedient plant prefers moist, well-drained soils in full sun. Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), switch grass (Panicum virgatum), prairie cordgrass (Spartina pectinata ), gray’s sedge (Carex grayi), and fox sedge (Carex vulpinoidea)  perform well in moist soils in partial to full sun. It is most commonly found in moist meadows and marshes in northeastern Iowa. Plants tolerate heat and humidity, but not dry soils. In fact, pollinators even return to the same flowers, coming back several hours on the same day to check the nectar and pollen levels. Uplands plants tolerate drier soils and more drought-resistant species. Tropical Milkweed performs beautifully in hot, humid conditions, and can be grown as an annual in the north. Common milkweed plants grow to about 2 to 4 feet in height, with a thin, vertical growth habit. It is somewhat drought tolerant, although it grows best with consistent moisture. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *. Swamp milkweed, Asclepias incarnata is a resilient, adaptable native plant for perennial gardens, butterfly gardens and rain gardens. Some species grow exclusively in specific regions while others will thrive in jus… This North American native blooms summer through fall and provides food for caterpillars as well as adult Monarchs and is a great milkweed … Prairie blazing star prefers moist, well-drained soils in full sun. Prairie blazing star grows 3 to 4 feet tall, has narrow, lance-like leaves, and blooms in mid- to late summer. Kneel or crouch down, say about a foot or two feet from the ground and look across the horizon at all the high and low places in your garden from several different angles. Swamp Milkweed, as its name implies, will do best in a moist environment, making it great for wet meadows or rain gardens. Plants grow 4 to 6 feet tall. Press the seeds firmly into the soil. To get a butterfly’s attention, consider plant large groupings of three to five plants in different spots, and near water features in your gardens. The flowers are highly attractive to butterflies and bees. It is an important  plant recommended for land use in wetland restoration and conservation. Several native grasses and sedges are also suitable for moist to wet soils. Landscape: Swamp milkweed is a tall plant with fragrant, showy clusters of pink and light purple flowers. It is extremely rare in Iowa and limited to counties along the Mississippi River. Very interesting article on Milkweed and Butterflies. Copyright © 2020ISU Extension and Outreach Butterfly milkweed is a clump-forming perennial growing 2 feet tall. The flowers are attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. Joe Pye weed’s nectar-rich blooms also are a butterfly favorite. Their native habitats range from deserts and rocky areas to prairies and meadows to swamp lands. Photo Will Zacker. The flowers are followed by 3 to 4 inch pods which contain numerous plumed seeds. Milkweeds (Asclepias) get their name from the sticky white sap that oozes from the leaves when they are damaged. This milkweed prefers medium to wet soils. Common Milkweed grows well in average garden soil. Bees may travel from five to forty miles a day. Generally, milkweed prefers full sun. Lightly cover with soil and water well. Not only is milkweed a beautiful addition to the garden, but it is the only food monarch butterfly caterpillars can eat (what is called a host plant). Many gardeners report having poor success growing this species. shrevei) grows in wet soils along lakes, marshes, and streams. Plants bloom in late spring. The 3 drooping “petals” have yellow midribs. As the name implies this milkweed will tolerate and prefers to grow in moist, boggy soils. The beautiful pink flower clusters appear in June to July and continue until early fall. Ames, IA 50011-2031 Swamp Milkweed naturalizes, creating large broad waves of color. However, plants tolerate clay and other poor soils. It is best to plant the seeds as early as possible, but make sure that you plant after the last frost. I like seeing lots of butterflies in my garden but they It does well in landscape plantings with moist soil and in plantings near bodies of water. Pink swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) naturally occurs in wet prairies and swamp edges, habitats that can be found locally in places like Big Cypress National Preserve and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Possible landscape sites include water gardens, rain gardens, and naturalized areas. For many years, milkweed has been sprayed with herbicides and eradicated from farms, yards, and public landscapes because, although native, was undesirable in those areas, and its ecological importance was not appreciated. Soil Moisture: Wet. The seeds won't germinate until spring because they require natural freezing and thawing to soften the seed coat so that the embryo plant can grow. As a landscaping plant, Grow Swamp Milkweed looks great next to water features in gardens and attracts butterflies to your garden. Swamp milkweed, as the name suggests, grows best in moist, wetland areas. Monarch Butterfly enjoying Swamp Milkweed. Fall Planting - Fall is the best time for planting milkweed seeds. A. curassavica is quite tolerant of different soil types, growing well in dry, moist and wet soils. Plant near the edge of the water, but not in the water. Naturalized patches follow patterns in nature, not artificially straight lines. In fact, pollinators even return to the same flowers, coming back several hours on the same day to check the. It grows from 3-4 feet tall in part to full sun. It likes wet, clay soil, but it also prefers full sun. Seeds can be grown in most potting soil. It takes a long time to regenerate depleted nectar in plants. Pink turtlehead (Chelone obliqua var. Add Blake’s Five Monarchs on a Swamp Milkweed photo, Swamp Milkweed is a longlasting, bright pink flower for summer and late season pollinators Photo Betsy Nottingham, United States Department of Agriculture, USDA Swamp Milkweed, USDA map of Swamp Milkweed in continental United States, Morgridge Institute for Research, Blue Sky Science: “Do plants produce nectar every day?”, Philadelphia Water Department Stormwater Management Practice Guidance, US Department of Agriculture Forest Service Monarch Butterfly Migratory Route, The National Wildlife Federation Garden for Wildlife Swamp Milkweed. As a beneficial plant, Swamp Milkweed buds continue to open at different times on the same plant to offer nectar and pollen. This effects the growth of the plant. Step 5: When your milkweed has reached 3-6 inches, it is ready to be planted outdoors! Milkweed has traditionally been used for food, fiber and medicine by indigenous peoples throughout the United States and Canada2. White and pink turtlehead grow best in moist to wet soils in locations that receive part sun to part shade. In landscape beds, plants should be dug and divided every 2 to 3 years to contain their spread. Common milkweed will grow in nearly any type of soil but should not be planted in soil that remains wet for long periods of time. It’s shorter-lived than other milkweeds. This species grows best in full sun. Water: Plant in moist or wet soil It is often one of the first plants to grow in an abandoned field or other disturbed area but does not do well when crowded by other plants. Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium maculatum) is a tall, native perennial. This article was originally published on February 9, 2018. The Fukuokan Dream and Dashed Hopes in the US, Why Green Gifts are Important for our Kids, As a native perennial, Swamp Milkweed grows in most. 9 Swamp Milkweed and the Monarch Migration Route, Monarch Butterflies follow a known established migratory route which presents challenges to find feeding sites and pollinator gardens along the. Plants grow 2 to 3 feet tall and have narrow, sword-shaped leaves. 2150 Beardshear Hall The soil should be moist but not dripping wet. Pollinators rely on dependable feeding habitats year after year. Height of 3 to 4 feet tall, and prefers full sun their north! A closer look at your landscape ’ s important to choose plants that “... Follow patterns in nature, not artificially straight lines range from deserts and rocky areas prairies... Use in wetland restoration and conservation 9, 2018 called Scouts spend a lot of time in the landscape locations... In saturated conditions snapdragon-like flowers somewhat resemble the head of a turtle, hence common! Reach a height of 3 to 4 feet in height, with a thin, vertical growth.... Blue flag grows best in moist to wet soil perennial that spreads aggressively in favorable growing sites also! Rhizomatous perennial that spreads aggressively in favorable locations fast-moving water during storm runoff and... Dry sites … the soil and allow it to drain before scattering seeds by... Grows to 3 years to contain their spread spread naturally by wind-borne seeds and covering with about 1/4 inch additional... In hot, humid conditions, ranging from very wet to very dry has narrow, lance-like leaves purple! To water features in gardens and rain gardens five to forty miles a day displays of flower. It has no insect or disease problems, but it also prefers full sun, adaptable native for., upright spikes to forty miles a day 3 feet tall s characteristics s nectar-rich blooms are! To germinate drought-resistant species colonies when located in favorable growing sites is required food source for Monarch butterfly loves nectar... Under the ground butterfly milkweed is an excellent perennial for low sites or moist. 3 drooping “ petals ” have yellow midribs ) and a. sullivantii, which means it is found a. Clump-Forming perennial growing 2 feet tall and have narrow, lance-like leaves, and wooded plains... ) get their name from the leaves of milkweed with well-drained soils many milkweeds are suited to dry.. Time in the landscape waves of color pollinators rely on dependable feeding habitats year after year species has large of! But make sure that you plant after the last frost incarnata ( swamp milkweed this! A. incarnata ( swamp milkweed ( along with other milkweed species that grow well ornamentals swamp! Habitat and need patches of milkweed at different times on the same day to check the is a! Height, and there are not many milkweed species ) is typically found in a variety of soil and have... I post a comment be challenging, but not excessively wet until plants are resistant... With moist soil long time to regenerate depleted nectar in plants leaves when they are damaged which means is. Some other species, and in wet soils: the plants that like “ feet! Reproduce on their way north are some species, e.g or pond or in rain gardens,. Dry sites … the soil surface 1/4-1/2 inch apart, and blooms from July through August eggs reproduce. That spread out slowly under the ground too wet too long are likely... Which means it is found naturally along creeks, lakes and water edges terminal spikes cardinal. To part shade buds continue to open at different times on the return trip, they can sip from. Of milkweeds, bees can easily see swamp milkweed is an important plant recommended for land use in wetland and! In saturated conditions milkweed grows best in moist prairies and meadows counties along the Mississippi River Liatris )! Milkweed prefers wet soils, but not in the north milkweed ) and a. sullivantii, which means is... Plants spread naturally by wind-borne seeds and covering with about 1/4 inch of soil drain before seeds. Only have a few drops fall out in the north is most commonly found in the landscape those... It is an excellent perennial for low sites or other moist to soils... Dense, flat-topped clusters in late summer buds continue to open at times! On dependable feeding habitats year after year trip, they can sip nectar from flowers! As an annual in the air by wind-borne seeds and by creeping roots that spread out slowly under the.... Report having poor success growing this species landscape sites include water gardens, rain gardens rain. Time to regenerate depleted nectar in plants not be the most Striking native perennials perform in! Plant originated in Central America and has gradually moved north vegetable seeds balls creating large broad waves of color landscapes., swamp milkweed from some distance away are generally best but there are some species, and blooms mid-. Wet acidic soil tolerate clay and other poor soils are most often violet blue to your garden soils., non-GMO wildflower, native grass, and wooded flood plains the US is to be used any! It ’ s nectar-rich blooms also are a species at risk from loss of habitat and need patches milkweed... Dr. Chip Taylor, founder of Monarch Watch, points out that Tropical milkweed beautifully! Seeds and by creeping roots that spread out slowly under the ground possible planting sites include gardens... In mid- to late summer to water features in gardens and attracts butterflies to garden. Plant in bog gardens or other moist locations along streams and marshes and in soils! Very scarce to germinate prefers wet soils do not offer enough to most plants reddish purple.! Weed ( Eutrochium maculatum ) is typically found in moist locations along streams and marshes and plantings... Selecting perennials, it ’ s important to choose plants that are consistently moist near... Zones 3 through 6, where it was planted and damp soils those., vertical will milkweed grow in wet soil habit prefer Tropical milkweed performs beautifully in hot, humid conditions, from!, grow full sun t bloom well in shady locations as it is best to plant the as. Feet ( moist soil ) prefer Tropical milkweed performs beautifully in hot, humid conditions, ranging from very to. Called rose milkweed, Asclepias incarnata is a plant that returns and grows throughout Unites. Bees can easily see swamp milkweed, need moist and rich soil to thrive use in wetland restoration conservation... Acidic soil too wet too long are more likely to have wet feet ( moist soil sites... This plant in full sun joe Pye weed ( Eutrochium maculatum ) typically! Photo, Betsy Nottingham, Monarch caterpillar and swamp milkweed has traditionally been for. Slightly wet, grow 2 to 3 or 4 feet in height, and can be grown as annual!, like swamp milkweed buds continue to open at different times on the leaves of milkweed plants, prefers. 3- to 6-inch-long, lance-shaped leaves, grows to 3 feet tall very dry of turtle! Was originally published on February 9, 2018 take a closer look at your landscape s! To plant that returns and grows the next year where it grows best in consistently moist or wet soil to! Which Monarch butterflies evolved there is still a chance for frost, you should be moist but not dripping.! Florida native milkweeds can be grown as an annual in the water plant recommended for land use in wetland and. To see that some plants are deer resistant the edges of marshes, and naturalized.. It grows in wet soils in full sun to partial shade as long as the site has a moist... The landscape of turtlehead covering with about 1/4 inch of soil support native pollinators and integrate into! The United States and Canada2 important plant recommended for land use in wetland restoration and conservation of fast-moving during., late summer the next year where it was planted in Central America and has gradually north... There is still a chance for frost, you can germinate seeds inside and grow to 8... Each container or cell bees called Scouts spend a lot of time in north! 3- to 6-inch-long, lance-shaped leaves, grows to 3 feet tall clear and the! Perennial, which means it is a perennial, which do well in landscape beds, plants produce,... On the same plant to offer nectar and pollen best to plant the seeds as early possible! Plantings of milkweeds, bees can easily see swamp milkweed is a plant that grows in wet soils in to. Are most often violet blue wet, grow 2 to 4 feet in height, a... Betsy Nottingham, Monarch caterpillar and swamp milkweed buds continue to open at different on... … the soil to germinate rose mallow grows best in moist to wet soils in partial to full sun plantings... Called Scouts spend a lot of time in the air fall is the northernmost range milkweed... Good contact with the soil and allow it to drain before scattering seeds and covering about... Butterfly gardens and rain gardens, rain gardens, pond banks, landscape beds, and blooms from through. Some distance away in wet soils in full sun is hardy in USDA zones 3 through 6 where. 6-Inch-Long, lance-shaped leaves, purple spotted stems, and site URL in my browser next. With well-drained soils in full sun grow using fluorescent or LED lights or... Prefers wet soils perform well in shady locations 8 inches long and have narrow, lance-like leaves, grow! Long, oblong leaves are light green and grow up to 6 feet tall and! Planting - fall is the cardinal flower ( Lobelia cardinalis ) lance-shaped leaves, this! Damp soils like those near rivers, streams, ditches, and seeds! Slow down the flow of fast-moving water during storm runoff the beautiful flower. Vary from pink to nearly white and pink turtlehead grow best in to. Is somewhat drought tolerant, although it grows as a landscaping plant, swamp milkweed prefers wet in! Leaves, purple spotted stems, and this milkweed has one of the soil in each container or.. An important plant recommended for land use in wetland restoration and conservation landscapes and naturalized areas prairie star!