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Asclepias incarnata

Swamp Milkweed /

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One of the most beautiful native perennials with clusters of upturned pink flowers on 4-5’ stems in June and July. The leaves of the red milkweed are a preferred food source of Monarch caterpillars. Preferring moist soils, this is a great plant for naturalizing and for use in rain gardens. No butterfly garden is complete without milkweed!


  • Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds
  • Host and nectar plant for monarch butterflies
  • Lovely vanilla fragrance
  • Thrives in sun in average or moist soil
  • Deer resistant

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Easily grown in medium to wet soils in full sun but is surprisingly tolerant of average, well-drained soils in cultivatio. Plants have deep taproots and are best left undisturbed once established. Have patience the leaves are slow to emerge in spring.

3-4 Feet


2-3 Feet

USDA Hardiness Zone 3-8

Native Range

Swamps and low meadows; Nova Scotia to Saskatoon, south to Utah, New Mexico and Florida.

Distribution Maps by State and County

Native Trivia

Plants in the milkweed family produce pods with fluffy seeds that are used by birds to build nests. Some birds, such as Baltimore orioles, also use the stem fibers for nesting material.

"Milkweeds provide loads of nectar and serve as a food source for monarch caterpillars."

Good Companions
Rose Mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos), Turtlehead (Chelone glabra), New England Aster (Aster novae-angliae), Dwarf Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium dubium), Lyre-leaved Sage (Salvia lyrata)

Characteristics & Attributes

Plan Sub Group
  • Medium to Tall Perennials
  • Filtered Shade
  • Sun
  • Well-drained
  • Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
  • Average
  • Moist
  • Moist but well-drained
  • Wet
Attracts Wildlife
  • Beneficial insects
  • Butterflies
  • Hummingbirds
Bloom Time
  • Late Summer
  • Summer
Critter Resistance
  • Deer Resistant
Habitat Collection
  • Butterfly
  • Wet Sun
Native Habitat
  • Riparian, wetland
Foliage Color
  • Green
  • Bog, water garden
  • Fragrant
  • Meadow
  • Naturalizes
Native to
  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming