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Native Plant of the Week: Purple Milkweed

Updated: Jul 6

Family: Apocynaceae


Name: Asclepias purpurascens


Bloom Time: May-July


Flower: Purple to rose pink


Soil Condition: dry. moist


Light: Sun, partial sun


Height/Width: 2-3' tall by 1-3' wide


Native Range: Eastern and Central US including Long Island


Zone: 3-8

Photos (KMS Native Plants) flower and spicebush swallowtail nectaring on the flower


This is one of our earliest blooming milkweeds, which is great for early summer butterflies. Although not an aggressive spreader, it can form a colony, so it is not recommended for small gardens. Its growth habit makes it a great plant for erosion control. Its height of 3' makes it great for the middle of a border.


Maintenance: To control self sowing remove the seed heads.


Benefits: Host plant for monarch caterpillars and several moth and insect species. Nectar and pollen source. Attracts hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, specialized bees, and predatory insects. Drought tolerant.


Fun Facts: Milky sap may cause a rash and eye irritation. If eaten, it can cause stomach upset, nausea, weakness, and abdominal pain. Sap contains a cardiac glycoside but it's a low poison plant.


Companion Plants: Monarda punctata (spotted bee balm), Echinacea purpurea (purple coneflower), Pycnanthemum tenuifolium (threadleaf mountain mint), Coreopsis verticillata (threadleaf tickseed), Rudbeckia fulgida var fulgida (orange coneflower)


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