We are currently growing two species of Asclepias – Swamp Milkweed (A. incarnata) and Butterfly Weed (A. tuberosa). A. incarnata ‘Ice Ballet‘ is a beautiful variety of the Swamp Milkweed that is also attractive to the pollinators like the rosy-pink species seen here, but with clusters of pure white flowers – they have a sweet fragrance, too. Both will grow between 3 and 4’ (‘Ice Ballet’ being slightly more compact) and bloom between July and August. They are naturally found along streams or in wet meadows, but are also tolerant of average soil which makes it a real good choice for rain gardens.
The orange flowering Butterfly Weed is a shorter grower (15-30″) that’s typically found along roadsides and tree lines in average soil. They have a tuberous tap root that makes them difficult to transplant, but as you may know, they re-seed easily and will appear in other areas of the landscape – which may be great or may not be, depending on how formal the garden is. But the Monarchs don’t mind – they love it! You can control the re-seeding by trimming off those cool seedpods before the seeds take flight. They are perhaps most at home in a meadow, field or cottage garden.