With large clusters of spikey pink flowers, Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) really lives up to the name! Pale pink, star-shaped flowers are arranged in globe-like clusters, blooming on top of upright stems. The blooms are heavily laden with fragrance and nectar, attracting a wide variety of pollinators to the garden. In the fall, flowers give way to large seed pods that are filled with fluffy, wind-dispersed seeds. Showy Milkweed isn't quite as aggressive as others, making it easy to control in the garden.
Milkweeds, including Showy Milkweed, are essential for the Monarch lifecycle. Their relationship includes more than just swapping nectar for pollination. Caterpillars exclusively feed on their leaves, which are filled with cardenolides. Cardenolides are stored in the bodies of Monarch caterpillars and butterflies as a defense against predators. Without Milkweed, we wouldn't have Monarchs!
Plant size: 3' tall x 1.5' wide
Light: full sun (6+ hrs/day)
Hardiness: USDA zone 3-9 (Find your hardiness zone)
Pollinator value: attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, and is the host plant for Monarchs
Notable features: fragrant, great cut flowers, long-blooming, deer resistant, multiple seasons of interest, low maintenance
Pot size: one quart
Plant name: Asclepias speciosa