Last year we were looking for an interesting tall perennial that would do well in a fairly sunny and pretty wet place. We found an 4 – 5 ft tall herbaceous perennial – Swampy milkweed also known as Asclepias incarnata. The name Swampy milkweed doesn’t give this plant a very sophisticated aire but it really has some great qualities.
It is known as a favorite of butterflies. You can always have more butterflies.
They are attracted to the pretty pink clusters of fragrant flowers that bloom in midsummer. The buds look like clusters of bright pink beads.
The leaves are long and slender with veining that looks almost silvery. The leaf arrangement is opposite. Swampy weed grows tall 4 – 5 feet tall and slender eventually becoming a 2 – 3 feet wide clump. A lot of tall and slender perennials get tall and floppy, but the milkweed is self supporting and most of it has remained upright even through some pretty strong wind gusts.
They are hardy is USDA zones 3 – 6. I love the fact that they will thrive in places other plants would be very unhappy. We are planning to let ours naturalize where they are. They would also be great along the edge of a pond or in a rain garden. Clay soil and wet soil are all well tolerated. Deer, elk and bunnies just pass them by. Gotta love that!
Last year we left the seed heads on the plants all season. They dropped onto the ground below and several new plants are growing. I’m leaving them in place and will let the seed heads mature again this year. Hopefully we will milkweed to share next year.