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:

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • 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.)

Resources:

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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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