Growing Grow Asclepias or Swamp Milkweed

Growing Asclepias or Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) is easy and once established, will naturalize on your pond banks. 


It is a tough perennial, growing in zones three to six and will be hardy throughout Northeast North America.

How to Grow

This plant grows four to 5 feet tall and two to 3 feet wide.

Grow this plant in the full sunshine, it will not be happy in the shade.  Gardeners living south of zone six can try to grow this plant in part shade to counter excessive heat.


Swamp milkweed blooms in mid to late summer during July and August.  The native plant color range is white through pink and mauve.

Recent Selections

Recent selections now available at garden centers include plants such as 'Ice Ballet' that has clusters of white vanilla-scented flowers.  Another selection, 'Cinderella', is a tall up right clump with rosy pink flowers in mid-summer.

Uses in the Landscape

Besides growing in damp soils, these plants are butterfly magnets as well as making excellent cut flowers.  The fragrance of vanilla is strong and clear with this plant.

This plant is also deer and rabbit resistant.

Caution: this plant is toxic and should not be eaten.


Seeds of this plant are easily started, but young seedlings need to be handled very carefully as they resent root disturbance.

Older plants, once established in the garden have deep tap roots, but can be moved relatively easily.

Click here to ask about growing Asclepias or other pond perennial questions.

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