To grow swamp milkweed, start by planting the seeds in early spring. You can either sow them directly in the ground or start them indoors. If you start them indoors, plant the seeds in peat pots and keep them moist until they germinate.
Once the seedlings appear, thin them out so that only the strongest plants remain. When the plants are big enough to handle, transplant them into your garden. Swamp milkweed prefers full sun and moist soil, so make sure to plant it in an area that meets those requirements.
Water regularly and fertilize monthly during the growing season. In late summer or fall, cut back the plants to encourage new growth.
- Obtain swamp milkweed seeds or plants
- You can purchase these from a nursery, online, or gather them from the wild
- Choose a planting site
- Swamp milkweed prefers full sun and moist soils
- If you are growing milkweed from seed, start them indoors six to eight weeks before your region’s last frost date
- Prepare the planting site by clearing away any debris and loosening the soil with a shovel or rake
- If you are starting with seeds, sow them on the surface of the soil and press them gently into place
- Do not cover them with soil as they need light to germinate
- Water your plants regularly, keeping the soil moist but not soggy wet
- Fertilize monthly with a general-purpose fertilizer during their first growing season to help encourage robust growth
- 5 As your swamp milkweed plants mature, they will produce clusters of pinkish-white flowers that attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators
Swamp Milkweed – Asclepias Incarnata. Facts, Grow & Care
How to Grow Swamp Milkweed from Seed
Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) is a beautiful native wildflower that is beloved by bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. Growing swamp milkweed from seed is easy and rewarding. Here are some tips on how to successfully grow swamp milkweed from seed:
1. Start with fresh seeds. Swamp milkweed seeds lose viability quickly, so it’s best to start with fresh seeds. You can purchase fresh seeds online or gather them yourself from mature plants in the late summer or fall.
2. Sow the seeds indoors in early spring. Swamp milkweed seeds need a period of cold stratification in order to germinate, so sow them indoors on top of moistened potting mix in early spring. Keep the pots in a cool location (around 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit) until you see germination, which usually takes place within 2-3 weeks.
3. Transplant the seedlings outdoors after all danger of frost has passed. Once your swamp milkweed seedlings have developed their first set of true leaves, they’re ready to be transplanted outdoors into your garden beds or containers. Be sure to harden them off first by gradually acclimating them to outdoor conditions over a 7-10 day period before planting them out permanently.
With just a little bit of care, you can easily grow your own swamp milkweed plants from seed!
Is Swamp Milkweed Easy to Grow?
Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) is a beautiful native wildflower that attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. It’s easy to grow from seed, and it tolerates wet soil conditions better than other milkweeds. You can often find swamp milkweed growing in marshes or along streambanks.
Swamp milkweed seeds germinate best if they are stratified (subjected to cold, moist conditions for a period of time) before planting. To stratify swamp milkweed seeds, mix them with moist sand and store them in the refrigerator for four weeks before planting. Once the seeds have been stratified, you can plant them indoors about six weeks before the last frost date in your area.
Or, you can direct sow the seeds outdoors after the last frost date. If you live in an area with very hot summers, it’s best to start the seeds indoors so that they don’t get scorched by the heat when they are transplanted outdoors. Swamp milkweed prefers full sun but will tolerate light shade.
It grows best in rich, moist soils but will also do well in average garden soils as long as they are not allowed to dry out completely. Once established, swamp milkweed is quite drought tolerant. To encourage bushier growth, pinch back the tips of young plants when they are about 6 inches tall.
This will cause them to branch out and produce more leaves and flowers. Swamp milkweed blooms from midsummer through early fall with clusters of small pink or purple flowers atop 3-foot-tall stalks.
Does Swamp Milkweed Come Back Every Year?
Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) is a perennial plant that typically grows in wetland areas. It gets its name from the milky sap that is exuded from its stems when they are cut. This sap contains a variety of chemicals, including latex, which can cause skin irritation in some people.
Swamp milkweed can reach up to six feet in height and produces clusters of pink or white flowers from June to September. The flowers are an important source of nectar for many types of insects, especially bees and butterflies. The leaves of swamp milkweed are opposite each other on the stem and are broadly oval-shaped with smooth margins.
They are dark green in color with a pale midrib running down the center. The undersides of the leaves may be covered with fine hairs. Swamp milkweed is a food source for several types of caterpillars, including the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus).
This plant spreads by sending out runners (stolons) that take root at the nodes, forming new plants. It can also spread by seed dispersal; the seeds have tufts of silky hairs that help them float on water or be carried by the wind to new locations. Swamp milkweed is native to North America but has been introduced to Europe and Asia where it is often considered an invasive species.
How Do You Start a Swamp Milkweed?
If you want to start a swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) from seed, it’s best to do it in the fall. Sow the seeds on the surface of a moistened, well-drained seed-starting mix and press them gently into the mix. Then cover the seeds with plastic wrap or a clear dome to help retain moisture and keep them warm.
Place the seed tray in a spot that stays between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit until germination, which usually takes about two weeks. Once the seedlings appear, remove the covering and move the tray to a sunny location. Keep the soil moist but not soggy as they grow.
Swamp milkweed is best started from divisions taken from an existing plant in early spring just as new growth begins to appear. To divide swamp milkweed, dig up an entire plant and carefully pull it apart into several pieces making sure each piece has at least one good root system attached. Replant each division immediately in rich moist soil in full sun to partial shade keeping the crown of leaves above ground level.
Water well after planting until new growth appears.
When Should Swamp Milkweed Be Planted?
Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) is a beautiful native wildflower that blooms from June to August. It grows best in full sun and moist to wet soils. It is tolerant of clay soils.
Swamp milkweed prefers sunny locations with some afternoon shade in hot summer climates. Swamp milkweed can be propagated by seed or division. Seeds should be collected in the fall after the pods have dried and opened.
Sow seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date or outdoors after last frost date. Division can be done in the spring or fall. Swamp milkweed plants are very attractive to butterflies, especially monarchs.
The nectar rich flowers attract a variety of other insects as well.
If you want to attract monarch butterflies to your garden, planting swamp milkweed is a great way to do it. These beautiful insects are drawn to the plant’s large, pink flowers, and they will lay their eggs on the leaves. Swamp milkweed is easy to grow from seed, and it tolerates wet conditions well.
Just make sure to give it full sun and plenty of room to spread out.