Refreshing white flowers and very narrow whorled leaves give Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata) a delicate appeal in the landscape. But don't let its looks fool you. It's a powerful pollinator plant with clusters of flowers boasting a sweet fragrance and rich nectar. Narrow seed pods emerge in fall and release silky seeds, which means it may spread a bit in your garden. We never mind a few extra flowers to support pollinators.
Milkweeds, including Whorled 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: 2.5' tall x 2' wide at maturity
Light: full sun (6+ hrs/day)
Hardiness: USDA zone 4-9 (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 verticillata
They’re off to a very slow start. We will see what happens
The plants arrived very well-packaged and healthy. They settled right in and began putting on vegetative growth. This is their first season in the garden, so there aren't too many flowers yet, but I am not worried about that. They are no doubt putting on strong roots for the coming years, and the foliage is lovely -- a good contrast to the zinnias and sedums they are planted with. This is a great plant for bringing butterflies to the garden and can be slotted easily into the border because of its relatively vertical growth habit and medium size.