by David Salman
Introducing Three New, Uncommon Milkweed Varieties
In an effort to assist gardeners planting more native plants and to help feed Monarch butterfly populations, High Country Gardens is excited to be adding three new milkweed species to our spring 2018 offerings.
Any milkweed species will attract adult butterflies to their flowers for a sip of nectar, but the regal Monarch is more selective when it comes to choosing milkweed plants on which their caterpillars will feed.
In general, when planting milkweed to provide caterpillar food, it's best to plant a milkweed species that are native to your region of the US. This is due to the fact that Monarchs from your region will seek out species that they have fed upon before.
Narrow Leaf Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis)
Hardy in zones 6-10
Narrow Leaf Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis) is a western native species has large clusters of white flowers and distinctive long, narrow leaves that make this native perennial a desirable landscape plant. It grows readily in all types of soil including clay and appreciates full sun exposure. And Narrow Leaf Milkweed can grow in both dry and moist growing conditions.
Their flowers are a magnet for all types of adult butterflies, not just Monarchs. So, it's a great choice for habitat gardens and meadow plantings. Some bird species, like Orioles, use the dead stems for nest building.
Recommend Growing Areas:
- As a garden ornamental, this species can be planted across most of the western US.
- To feed Monarch caterpillars, it is best planted in WA, OR, ID, CA and NV. Reference this USDA map to see where it is native and of most value to Monarchs.
Purple Milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens)
Hardy in zones 3-8
Purple Milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens) is an uncommon milkweed species that has large dark rose-pink flowers that are very showy and full of nectar to attract adult Monarchs and other butterfly species. Purple Milkweed spreads by reseeding and underground roots (rhizomes) and can establish large colonies in suitable habitat, so it's best planted in less used areas of your property, not in your prime flower beds.
It grows in most soil types, even dry clay and likes full sun.Purple Milkweed is xeric (water-wise) once established but appreciates additional water in drier climates.
Recommend Growing Areas:
- As a garden ornamental, this species can be planted across much of the US, but needs supplemental irrigation in areas receiving less than 25 inches of annual precipitation.
- To feed Monarch catterpillars, find your state on this USDA map that shows where the plant is native.
Davis Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa 'Davis')
Hardy in zones 4-9
A selection of the widespread western native species, Davis Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa 'Davis') is native to inland central CA. It has huge, fragrant 4 to 5 inch diameter light pink flower heads and large, highly ornamental silver leaves held on sturdy upright stems.
Davis Showy Milkweed grows as a clump-forming perennial and doesn't spread, making it invaluable as a well behaved plant for your perennial beds. And of course, it's a larval food plant for western Monarch populations.
Xeric (waterwise) once established, it grows well in a wide range of soils including clay and likes full sun conditions. Avoid planting it in low, water-collecting parts of your landscape as Davis Showy Milkweed doesn't like wet soils like its eastern relatives, A. syriaca and A. purpurescens.
Recommend Growing Areas:
- As a garden ornamental,'Davis' is suitable for use in much of the western US.
- To feed Monarch caterpillars, plant it in non-coastal CA, OR and WA.
Most Asclepias species are late to wake up in the spring, and will often be shipped as dormant plants.
Don't despair if your potted milkweed is asleep above ground. The white roots and woody crown are alive just waiting for consistently warm weather to wake up and begin to grow.
Go ahead and plant the dormant plants.
- Don't up-pot them to hold for later planting.
- Prepare the soil, plant them, mulch, water thoroughly and wait.
- Once the weather warms and the plants begin to grow, water thoroughly but infrequently (once every week to 10 days)
- Use our root stimulator combo pack (liquid seaweed and SuperThrive) when you water during the first few months in the ground.
- Avoid fertilizing new transplants, especially with water-soluble chemical fertilizers. Good soil preparation and root stimulator is all they need for their first year.
Often times, Milkweeds won't grow much their first season in the ground, so be patient. They are establishing their root system and crown. By the second growing season, the plants will begin to get bigger and look more robust.
Asclepias species are an odd bunch and don't behave like many other more familiar perennials. So be patient and accept their quirky nature.
Asclepias incarnata ‚Rose‚ (Swamp Milkweed) is a showy pink blooming Asclepias species that is a food plant for Monarch butterfly caterpillars and a nectar source for ad...Learn MoreRose Swamp Milkweed Rose Swamp Milkweed Asclepias incarnataAs low as $13.99 Sale $12.59Per Plant - 5" Deep PotAsclepias incarnata 'Rose' (Swamp Milkweed) is a showy pink blooming Asclepias species that is a food plant for Monarch butterfly caterpillars and a nectar source for adult butterflies. Also known as Swamp Milkweed, it grows best in moist or wet soils.
Asclepias incarnata ‚Ice Ballet‚ (Swamp Milkweed) lights up the mid-summer garden with vanilla scented, pillowy clusters of snow-white flowers. Deep green foliage and whi...Learn MoreIce Ballet Swamp Milkweed Ice Ballet Swamp Milkweed Asclepias incarnata Ice Ballet$13.99 Sale $11.89Sale Price I Save 15%Per Plant - 5" Deep PotAsclepias incarnata 'Ice Ballet' (Swamp Milkweed) lights up the mid-summer garden with vanilla scented, pillowy clusters of snow-white flowers. Deep green foliage and white flowers that bloom from mid-summer to fall are the perfect backdrop for brightly colored butterflies that visit each summer. A pollinator-favorite, especially for Monarch butterflies, this easy-care milkweed is happy in a sunny spot with moist soil.
Asclepias incarnata ‚Soulmate‚ (Swamp Milkweed) lights up the mid-to-late summer garden with clusters of pink petals surrounding a white heart. This native star attracts ...Learn MoreSoulmate Swamp Milkweed Soulmate Swamp Milkweed Asclepias incarnata Soulmate$13.99 Sale $11.19Sale Price I Save 20%Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
Asclepias incarnata 'Soulmate' (Swamp Milkweed) lights up the mid-to-late summer garden with clusters of pink petals surrounding a white heart. This native star attracts and nourishes hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, and pollinators of many shapes and sizes – especially Monarch butterflies. With a sweet vanilla scent, it’s deer and rabbit resistant. This easy-care plant brings as much pleasure to the gardener as it does to the pollinators in sunny borders and meadows with average-to-moist soil.
Our ‘Swamp Milkweed Collection’ is the perfect start to your butterfly garden, rain garden, stream bed, or anywhere you want to see beautiful flowers and pollinators in w...Learn MoreSwamp Milkweed Collection Swamp Milkweed Collection Asclepias incarnata Collection$36.99 Sale $33.29Sale Price I Save 10%Per Collection of 3Our ‘Swamp Milkweed Collection’ is the perfect start to your butterfly garden, rain garden, stream bed, or anywhere you want to see beautiful flowers and pollinators in wet soil. Pink and white flowers on tall stems with lovely long green leaves look beautiful in large plantings, or paired with other tall perennials. In fall, look for plentiful silky-haired seeds. Asclepias incarnata (also known as Rose Milkweed) is a native perennial, and the sole host plant of Monarch Butterflies. In time, this deer resistant plants will spread and naturalize to help your pollinator garden grow! Collection of 3 plants.
Asclepias syriaca ‚Common Milkweed‚ is a gorgeous plant that produces purple/pink flower clusters that wildflower gardeners love and spreads quickly. This native perennia...Learn MoreCommon Milkweed Common Milkweed Asclepias syriacaAs low as $13.99 Sale $12.59Per Plant - 5" Deep PotAsclepias syriaca 'Common Milkweed' is a gorgeous plant that produces purple/pink flower clusters that wildflower gardeners love and spreads quickly. This native perennial is a primary food source for the Monarch butterfly providing large leaves for caterpillars and big pink globe-like flowers that provide nectar for the adult butterflies. Planting it will help to support Monarch populations. Perennial.
Asclepias tuberosa ‚Prairie Gold‚ (Butterfly Weed) is a beautiful golden-yellow form of this popular native wildflower. This selection is grown from seed collected from a...Learn MorePrairie Gold Butterfly Weed Prairie Gold Butterfly Weed Asclepias tuberosa 'Prairie Gold'$14.99Per Plant - 2.5" PotAsclepias tuberosa 'Prairie Gold' (Butterfly Weed) is a beautiful golden-yellow form of this popular native wildflower. This selection is grown from seed collected from a wild population in its Indiana habitat. Grow this special native cultivar to add unexpected color and an interesting conversation starter to your pollinator garden. A 2021 High Country Gardens Introduction.
Asclepias tuberosa ‚Hello Yellow‚ (Butterfly Weed) is a native, pollinator-friendly knock-out with cheerful butter-yellow flower clusters. Flowers will bloom in summer, a...Learn MoreHello Yellow Butterfly Weed Hello Yellow Butterfly Milkweed Asclepias tuberosa Hello Yellow$11.99 Sale $9.59Sale Price I Save 20%Per Plant - 2.5" PotAsclepias tuberosa 'Hello Yellow' (Butterfly Weed) is a native, pollinator-friendly knock-out with cheerful butter-yellow flower clusters. Flowers will bloom in summer, and the rich green foliage is the perfect complement to the flowers. This low-maintenance perennial is drought tolerant once established, making it the perfect waterwise addition to a perennial garden border, meadow, or pollinator garden. Butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds all love butterfly weed, but deer stay away. Make your butterfly garden a destination with ‘Hello Yellow’!
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