Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa

Showy Milkweed

Asclepias speciosa

Sun Shade:
Bloom Time: Summer
Zones: 3, 4, 5
Soil Conditions: Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil Moisture: Moist, Dry, Medium
Color: Pink, Lavender
Fragrance: Yes
Height: 2 - 4 feet
Spacing: 2 - 3 feet


Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) is a rough, weedy perennial which commonly occurs on dry slopes, open woodland areas, roadsides, waste areas and along streams. It typically grows 2-4 feet tall on stout, upright stems with velvety, broad-oblong to broad-ovate, gray-green leaves (to 8 inches long) with conspicuous veining. Globular clusters (umbels to 3" across) of fragrant, pinkish-white to pinkish-purple, star-like flowers appear mostly in the upper leaf axils over a long bloom period from late spring well into summer. Stems and leaves exude a milky sap when cut or bruised. Flowers give way to prominent, rough seed pods (2-3 inches long) which split open when ripe releasing their numerous silky-tailed seeds for dispersal by the wind. Seed pods are valued in dried flower arrangements.

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Drought tolerant. Does well in poor, dryish, gravelly soils. Easily grown from seed, and may self-seed in the landscape if seed pods are not removed prior to splitting open. Once established, it is best to leave plants undisturbed because they develop deep taproots which make transplanting difficult.

Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  Somewhat weedy in appearance. Easy to start from seeds.
  Sweet fragrant blossoms
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