Showy Milkweed

Showy Milkweed


(Asclepias speciosa)

A beautiful, spreading, perennial wildflower with wide, blue-grey-green leaves. When mature the plants can grow up to 5 feet tall in the right conditions and they produce abundant globes of enchanting, pink, fragrant, star-shaped flowers from summer into fall. Those flowers provide nectar and pollen for a broad spectrum of butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, and other pollinators.

Showy milkweed is also an important host plant to Monarch butterflies like Common milkweed, Swamp milkweed and other species. The caterpillars eat the leaves, pods and tender shoots of the plants; as they eat they concentrate distasteful alkaloids from the milky sap of the plants that makes them bad-tasting and toxic to would-be predators.

Showy milkweed has many gifts; it is less toxic than many of its cousins, the young pods are tender and edible when pickled or cooked, the latex (milky sap) has been used historically to treat warts topically, and the fluff from the seedpods has been used to line footwear among other uses.

Showy milkweed thrives in moist soils but its deep taproot allow it to tolerate drought well. Grow the plants in a sunny spot for flowers and you can expect to see a large patch develop over time. Best to provide ample space and avoid planting next to plants that don’t like competition. A Native plant from Western and Central Canada all the way to Mexico.

Seeds should be sown in the fall or winter, or cold stratify in the refrigerator 1-2 months to direct sow in spring or start seeds indoors.

Packet: 30 seeds

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