Asclepias Incarnata

Swamp Milkweed for Monarch Butterflies
and Caterpillars

Asclepias incarnata: Swamp milkweed, Swamp silkweed, Rose milkweed, White Indian hemp

Swamp Milkweed Flowers
Swamp Beauty

Plant Specs:


  • Takes over for fading common milkweed in summer
  • Popular nectar source for monarchs and other pollinators
  • Plays well with others, not an aggressive spreader
  • Easy to start from milkweed seeds
  • Sweet but subtle vanilla scent
  • Makes a great cut flower with its long lasting blooms
  • can use stem cuttings to raise monarch butterflies
Monarch Egg on Red Swamp Milkweed Buds
Swamp Egg


  • Another milkweed species that aphids adore
  • Needs more moisture than other milkweed
  • Tiny pollinators buzzing around this can get annoying…however, this isn’t really a con since they’re pollinating your milkweed
  • Leaves are thin and dry out quickly when picked to feed monarch caterpillars

Plant Propagation:

  • Sow seeds directly in fall or spring
  • Start seeds indoors 2 months before final frost- cold stratification required
  • Winter sow for a natural cold stratification

Swamp Growing Tips:

  • Slow release fertilizer is optional. Over-fertilization can inhibit flowering
  • Cut off milkweed pods to prevent fall seeding
  • or bind them shut with twist ties or rubber bands if you want to collect asclepias incarnata seeds
A male monarch spends his golden years on swamp milkweed
Attract More Monarchs with Swamp Milkweed

Pollinator Plus:

Asclepias incarnata also attracts buckeyes, bumblebees, eastern tiger swallowtails, fritillaries, hairstreaks, honey bees, hummingbird moths, hummingbirds, skippers, spicebush swallowtails, and more… (If you know of others, please comment below.)




The link above also includes popular cultivars like ‘ice ballet’ (white), ‘Cinderella’, and ‘soul mate’. These have all been reported to attract monarchs too.

18+ Milkweed Plants for North American Butterfly Gardens

Please post below if you have any questions or comments about growing Swamp Milkweed in your butterfly garden:
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  1. Steff Mandarino says

    I live in the Atlanta area and planted asclepias incarnata in my garden about 5 years ago, right next to my asclepias tuberosa. The tuberosa blooms prolifically– the incarnata has never bloomed. Is it because the site is too dry?

    • says

      Incarnata typically blooms its second year. We grow ours in partial shade and this allows the soil to retain more moisture. If it’s planted in a dry area of your garden, I would try moving it…you’ve got nothing to lose if it hasn’t bloomed for 5 years. Good luck!

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