How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Swamp Milkweed

Are you looking for a pollinator-friendly, low-maintenance pop of pink for your garden? Look no further than Swamp milkweed! Join organic farmer Jenna Rich as she discusses how to plant, grow, and care for this marsh-loving flowering perennial.

Close-up of a bee feeding on the nectar of a Swamp Milkweed plant (Asclepias incarnata) against a blurred green background. The lance-shaped leaves, arranged alternately along sturdy stems, exhibit a lush green color and a smooth texture. The plant produces striking clusters of star-shaped blossoms in bright pink.


The fluffy silks of various milkweeds floating around in the fall breeze are a sure sign of the imminent season change. I always wonder where the seeds landed after parachuting around and how many will successfully pop up across our town and beyond next season. Even after snow arrives, I find something lovely about the brown and desiccated pods on a winter landscape. 

Sometimes thought of as an obnoxious weed, milkweed gets a bad rap. Cultivating milkweed is a great way to attract native bees, birds, and butterflies, adding a creative, wild look to gardens. Let’s discuss how to plant, grow, and care for swamp milkweed.


Up close, Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) buds exhibit a fascinating and intricate structure, made of small round peas of bright pink color. As the buds open, they give way to a cluster of exquisite star-shaped flowers, each with five elegantly curved petals.
Botanical Name  Asclepias incarnata L.
Plant Type  Flowering, herbaceous perennial herb
Family Apocynaceae (dogbanes); formerly Asclepiadaceae (milkweeds)
Genus Asclepias
Native Area  Eastern Canada and most of the United States except those with a Pacific coastline
Alternate Name Pink Milkweed, Rose milkweed, rose milkweed, rose milkflower, swamp silkwood, and white Indian hemp
Exposure Full sun to partial shade
Height  3-5 feet 
Watering Requirements  High
Soil Type  Moist clay preferred
Pests  Tussock moth caterpillars, Oleander aphids, thrips, slugs, Milkweed leaf miners, Milkweed bugs, Milkweed beetles 
Disease Leaf Spot, Root Rot, Verticillium Wilt
Maintenance Low 
Hardiness Zones 3-9
Bloom Time June to September 

What Is It?

Swamp milkweed is a flowering, herbaceous perennial herb known for attracting native Monarch butterflies, bees, and birds and its ability to grow in marshy, wet regions. 

Brief History

Close-up of a flowering Swamp Milkweed plant against a blurred background of green foliage in a sunny garden. The Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) produces clusters of delicate and intricate florets. Each floret consists of a small, five-petaled blossom with a subtle pink hue, forming compact umbels.
Milkweed thrives in moist areas and is named for its milky sap and love of moisture.

Milkweeds love moisture and swampy marshlands, so their name is a nod to this love and the milky sap that comes out when broken open. The genus name Asclepias is for the Greek god of medicine, Asklepios

Botanists always knew the milkweed and dogbane families were related, and recently, milkweed was shifted into the dogbane family as a unique, flowering subfamily. 

Importance in Nature

Close-up of Monarch butterfly feeding on the blossoms of a swamp milkweed plant in a sunny garden. The Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is a breathtaking creature characterized by its vibrant orange wings adorned with black veins and borders. The swamp milkweed plant produces bright green lance-shaped leaves and intricate pink star-shaped flowers that form umbels at the top of the stems.
This native plant attracts bees, Monarch butterflies, and other beneficial insects.

Swamp milkweed is a valuable food source for native bee species, bumblebees, honeybees, and the Monarch and Queen Monarch caterpillars. Adult Monarch butterflies sip the nectar from flowers and lay tiny eggs on the underside of leaves so the caterpillars have immediate access to food when hatched. If you see eggs on a milkweed leaf, leave it be. Monarchs can’t survive without it!

Other butterflies, hummingbirds, milkweed bugs, and tussock moths flock to the flowers for their delicious nectar. It does not seem to be poisonous to deer and rabbits, who like to nibble on it. In the fall, silks emerge from the mature pod to spread its seeds. Native birds use the silks for building soft, cozy nests. 

Did you know? Milkweed sap contains cardiac glycosides that are toxic to some creatures, but Monarch butterflies have evolved to be unaffected by them. These compounds disrupt molecular functions and can be sensed by natural predators, making the larvae unpalatable. Nature is amazing!


Close-up of a flowering Swamp Milkweed plant with a bee. The clusters of small, five-petaled blossoms exhibit shades ranging from soft pink to mauve, creating a visually pleasing palette. These blossoms form in compact umbels, and each petal gracefully curves backward, framing the central corona with its unique crown-like structure.
Identify this type by its upward flower clusters, vanilla scent, and narrow, stiff leaves.

One of the ways to distinguish this milkweed from others is by its flower positioning. Their mauve to bright pink flower clusters, or umbels, sit atop the stalks rather than shooting out from the sides of the main stem and are much more compact.

The lightly vanilla-fragranced flowers comprise five little cup-shaped petals surrounding a central horn-like stigma, with tiny stamens surrounding it bedecked with pollen. Each time a pollinator feeds on the nectar, it inevitably slips on the stigma, coating it with pollen from the stamens. That pollen then makes its way to the stigma as the pollinator moves, fertilizing the flower.

The smooth, dark green leaves are much narrower and stiffer than other milkweeds and grow in pairs from the tall, sturdy main stem. The leaves may turn purple in late summer or fall, which is normal. They’ll return to green in the spring. Like common milkweed, a milky sap oozes when cut or broken open.

Native Area/Habitat

Close-up of a flowering Swamp Milkweed plant against a blurred background of green foliage. The plant produces delightful clusters of pink, star-shaped flowers. These blossoms form in compact umbels, and each petal gracefully curves backward, framing the central corona of a delicate pink color.
The native range includes eastern Canada and the U.S..

Swamp milkweed is native to eastern Canada and the United States, except those along the Pacific coastline. 

Check out the Xerces Society milkweed finder to determine if it naturally occurs in your area and see how you can be a part of protecting the Monarchs. 

How to Grow

This plant grows in bogs, marshes, swamps, and in moist, bottomland areas, including in ditches or along ponds and banks. They thrive in marshy, wet soil in areas with lots of sun. 


Close-up of Hummingbird Moth (hemaris thysbe) clearwing feeding on rose milkweed flowers. Resembling a miniature hummingbird in flight, it possesses a plump, streamlined body and narrow, elongated wings that beat rapidly, allowing it to hover in front of flowers while feeding. The milkweed plant has beautiful clusters of many densely growing small, star-shaped pink flowers.
Provide full sun for optimal growth.

While they will tolerate partial shade, swamp milkweed plants prefer an area with full sun. Young seedlings especially need this light to develop. Without enough light, seedlings will etiolate, stretching towards the nearest light source and weakening. Ideally, these plants require 6-8 hours of sunlight per day for best growth.


Close-up of a gardener's hand with a hose spraying water on plants in a garden. The hose has a spray nozzle with adjustable jet power.
This milkweed thrives without extra watering in marshy areas, becoming drought-resistant when established.

When grown in marshy wetland areas, supplemental watering is not needed. Swamp milkweed is a great option if your growing area is particularly wet. Interestingly, these plants become drought-resistant once established. 


Top view of a gardener's hands full of fresh soil on a blurred background of soil in the garden. The soil is dark brown, dry, and has a loose texture.
Swamp milkweed prefers slightly acidic, moderately moist clay soil.

Moderately moist clay soil is preferred. Your standard soil mix can be used if grown in a backyard garden. Don’t let it dry out; give it extra TLC in the first year or two as it establishes. Soil should be neutral to slightly acidic (6.0-7.0)

Temperature and Humidity 

Close-up of flowering Swamp Milkweed plants (Asclepias incarnata) against the backdrop of flowering False Sunflowers (Heliopsis helianthoides) in a sunny garden. Asclepias incarnata boasts sturdy, upright stems with lance-shaped leaves arranged alternately along the stem. Swamp Milkweed produces striking clusters of small, star-shaped flowers in shades ranging from pink to mauve.
Grow plants at 65-75° to avoid fungal issues.

The temperature for germination should be below 85°. Any higher, and rates decrease. Plants prefer temperatures to be between 65-75° when growing. High humidity welcomes fungal diseases


Close-up of flowering plants Swamp Milkweed with small butterfly feeding on it. The plants have vertical, strong stems covered with many elongated, lance-shaped green leaves. Swamp Milkweed produces eye-catching clusters of small, star-shaped flowers known as umbels.
No fertilizer is needed, but an annual spring compost or slow-release fertilizer provides benefits.

No fertilizer is required, but an annual spring feeding of compost or a slow-release general fertilizer doesn’t hurt. Mix this into the soil when establishing new plants and top or side-dress established plants. 


Close-up of a woman's hand with blue pruning shears against a blurred background of a flowering Swamp Milkweed plant in the garden. The plant has a large cluster of many small star-shaped flowers of bright pink color.
Prune in late fall or winter and remove mature seed pods to control spreading.

Pruning during the growing season is not necessary. Cut back the stalks to about 6 inches above the ground in the late fall or winter. Do so after the plant has produced mature seed pods and has had a chance to spread. Swamp milkweed may slowly emerge in the spring, so use tags or markers to indicate where they are. 

Pro tip: If you want to save seeds or do not want your plants to spread their seeds, simply snip off the seed pods once they fully mature. You’ll know by their dark brown shade when you cut a pod open. You could also share these with friends or use their shells for crafting.


A close-up of wilted clusters of a Swamp Milkweed plant against a backdrop of large, green, lance-shaped leaves. The plant has a cluster of wilted, drooping, star-shaped flowers of pink color.
Deadhead once after initial flowering for a second flush.

Deadhead after the first flush of flowers to encourage a second flush. Only do this once, though, if you want your plant to reproduce. Use gloves as the sap can be irritating to human skin. 


Top view, close-up of a young Swamp Milkweed plant against mulched soil in the garden. Its robust stems bear lance-shaped leaves with a deep green hue. The leaves are arranged alternately along the stems.
Mulching aids moisture retention for milkweed in dry regions.

Milkweed is just fine without mulch, but if you live in a particularly dry region, mulching may help retain the moisture in the soil, which your milkweed will appreciate. 


Swamp milkweed can be started easily from seed or propagated by division, rhizome spreading, or stem cuttings. It’s slower to spread than its cousin, common milkweed, and typically doesn’t become invasive when grown in its native areas. 

Growing From Seed

Close-up of Swamp milkweed sprouted seeds in a turf pot. The seeds are small, teardrop-shaped, flattened and brown in color. Sprouted shoots are small, short, and green.
Winter sow for natural stratification or refrigerate for spring planting.

Collecting seeds in late fall, around October and November, can be a fun annual activity. Give the pods a quick squeeze. If they pop and the innards are exposed, peek inside and confirm the seeds are medium brown. If they’re any lighter, leave them for a bit longer to mature.

Once you have collected mature pods and opened them, release the seeds from the follicle using your fingernail as a rake, going with the grain. Collect them into a paper bag or box to avoid mold. Let them dry out before storing them in paper envelopes. 

Try winter sowing the seeds to provide them with the natural cold stratification cycle needed for successful germination, which can take 10-14 days. Sow them in milk jugs or pots and keep them outdoors for the winter.

Protect them from critters and harsh winds. They’ll germinate when the snow melts and spring signals it’s time to wake up. Alternatively, you can store the seeds in your refrigerator until the spring and sow as you would normally. 

Growing From Cuttings

Close-up of young Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) plants in a sunny garden against a blurred background. The plant is characterized by slender, upright stems and lance-shaped leaves. The stems are reddish-green and have a slightly pubescent texture. The leaves are arranged oppositely along the stem and have a vibrant green color.
Start new plants by taking stem cuttings: cut, use rooting hormone, pot, and keep moist.

Taking stem cuttings is a way to start new plants without the hassle of seed-starting or digging up rhizomes. When the stem is at least ⅓ inch in diameter, cut the stem using clean, sharp shears. Dip the bottom in rooting hormone and then pot it up into fresh, moist soil. Keep it moist

You can transplant this new plant in six to ten weeks or allow it to grow in a pot for a season or two as it establishes, stepping up the size container as needed. Don’t let the soil dry out; protect the pot from freezing. 

Rhizome Division

Close-up of a flowering Swamp Milkweed plant (Asclepias incarnata) growing by the river. The plant has a bushy growth habit, producing vertical, branched stems covered with narrow, elongated, spear-shaped green leaves. At the tops of the stems, iconic clusters of delicate, star-shaped flowers of bright pink color are formed.
Prevent swamp milkweed from spreading excessively by dividing its slow-growing rhizomatous roots every few years.

The root system is slow-growing and rhizomatous, which lends itself well to division every few years. This will prevent it from getting out of control. 

You can divide this plant. However, since it develops a strong, deep taproot and does not like root disturbance, dividing with hopes of starting a new plant is not always a successful venture. 

To divide, use a sharp spade or shovel, dig down around the base of the plant, and locate the clump of rhizomes. Divide the clump of rhizomes with your tool to include one or two buds each. This should be done when the plant is dormant, around October. Replant them right away so they can establish roots before winter.

Ample irrigation for the first year will give them their best shot at surviving. Remember, they won’t bloom for one to two years while they work to establish a healthy root system. 

Natural Seed Spread 

Close-up of Swamp milkweed sprouting in flower garden with mulched soil. The plants produce upright, short, stout pink-burgundy stems with a few true leaves. These leaves have a lance shape, smooth edges and a bright green color.
For a carefree approach, let seeds naturally disperse by wind from pods in the fall.

Seeds easily blow out from the seed pods in the fall, allowing them to spread naturally. This is a fun route if you don’t mind where the seeds land. 


Swamp milkweed is sensitive to root disturbance, so transplanting takes patience. Get the timing right to avoid transplant shock


Close-up of a gardener's hand touching freshly planted Milkweed seedlings in the garden. Plants produce upright stems with lance-shaped leaves of bright green color with smooth edges.
Swamp milkweed forms a spreading clump, so plant it closely and thin it out annually.

Swamp milkweed will form a rhizomatous clump about 36” wide and naturally spread. Plant them close and plan to thin each year or so to give them at least 36” each. 


Close-up of three small peat pots with tiny seedlings growing. These seedlings are tiny, short, pinkish stems with two pairs of small, lance-shaped, smooth-edged green leaves.
Transplant seedlings when they reach at least three inches with true leaves.

To prevent transplant shock, transplant seedlings when they’re about three inches tall and have at least one set of true leaves. They could lose their leaves from the inevitable shock, but it’s ok! The plant just focuses its energy under the soil surface on the root system. When it’s ready, it will produce new leaves. 

Many growers suggest starting seeds in peat pots to avoid this issue altogether. Milkweed is extremely sensitive to root disturbance, so placing a peat pot into the garden will allow the seedling to settle in without much trauma. If you decide to start in regular pots, use ones that are large enough that will not allow the plant to become rootbound. 

Transplant in the spring after the risk of frost has passed and when the soil temperature is around 60° or above or in late fall. Dig a hole about the same depth as the root system and double the width. Place your plant in the hole and backfill the native soil, tamping down as you go. You may choose to fertilize lightly at this time, but swamp milkweed performs just fine in poor soil. 


Close-up of blooming  plants against a background of flowering Echinacea plants. The sturdy, upright stems are covered in lance-shaped leaves and captivating flowers. The flowers form intricate clusters known as umbels at the top of the stems. Each umbel consists of numerous small, star-shaped flowers with shades ranging from pink to mauve.
Ideal in wet areas, swamp milkweed thrives in full sun, avoiding dryness.

Soggy meadows, rain gardens, and lowlands are ideal locations. You can grow it in backyard garden soil. Just don’t let it dry out, especially in the first year. Plant it in a place that’s guaranteed full sun. It will spread, so don’t plant it somewhere it will interrupt your other garden perennials’ growth. 


Close-up of a flowering Asclepias incarnata plant against a blurred background of green foliage., Clusters of small, intricate blossoms collectively form captivating umbels. These blooms are bright pink, and the individual flowers have a distinct star-shaped structure, with five petals that curve elegantly backward.
In the first year, swamp milkweed focuses on roots, delaying blooms.

During its first year, while building roots and getting established, swamp milkweed won’t bloom. It may take another season or two before you see blooms. But remember, the strong root system will help it survive our ever-fluctuating climate, making it more resilient to drought, flooding, and extended cold and hot weather periods. 

Swamp milkweed can be grown if you’re looking to attract native moths, butterflies, and Monarchs. However, many have been bred for landscaping and offer slightly different fragrances. 


Close-up of 'Soulmate' flowering plant in the garden. This is a captivating perennial plant that features dense clusters of deep rose-pink flowers that form intricate, domed umbels. The lance-shaped leaves are lush green and provide an attractive backdrop to the vibrant blooms.
The ‘Soulmate’ cultivar features blooms with pink petals and a small white center.

This cultivar has lovely pink petals surrounding a tiny white heart. ‘Soulmate’ matures at just 3-3 ½ feet tall and blooms from mid to late summer. Its sweet vanilla scent lures in hummingbirds and other pollinators. 

‘Ice Ballet’

Close-up of a flowering 'Ice Ballet' plant against a blurred green background. This cultivar boasts clusters of pristine, creamy-white flowers arranged in domed umbels.
This unique, white-flowered cultivar complements colorful gardens and emits a vanilla fragrance.

This unique cultivar features vibrantly white flowers. It is a great backdrop to a showy, colorful garden and highlights the bright wings of Monarchs and bees feeding on their nectar. It will mature to 3-3 ½ feet tall and 2- 2 ½ wide. Plant it somewhere near a window to take advantage of its vanilla perfume. 


Close-up of a flowering 'Cinderella' plant (Asclepias incarnata 'Cinderella') against a blurred green background. This cultivar showcases clusters of soft, blush-pink flowers arranged in rounded umbels. 'Cinderella' is complemented by lance-shaped, green foliage.
‘Cinderella’ blooms in Barbie pink, with dense, vanilla-scented clusters from midsummer to early fall.

More of a Barbie pink, ‘Cinderella’ blooms consistently from midsummer to early fall. Its clusters are full, dense, and vanilla-scented. It typically grows to three to four feet tall but has been known to reach five feet. Try using their silks in dried flower arrangements or wreaths in the fall. 

Common Problems

Few pests or diseases affect swamp milkweed to the extent of demise. Most are more of an annoyance and can be easily avoided and controlled. 


Tussock moth caterpillars (Euchaetes egle)

The Euchaetes egle, commonly known as the Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillar, boasts a distinctive and striking appearance. With its bold coloration, the caterpillar features tufts of black, orange, and white bristle-like hairs arranged in distinct clusters along its body.
Tiger milkweed moth caterpillars are fond of common milkweed but are usually harmless.

Lovingly nicknamed the tiger milkweed moth, this fluffy striped orange, back, and white caterpillar prefers common milkweed but can be found feeding on different varieties. Natural predators help control their populations and keep them from destroying your milkweed patch, and its small populations are usually harmless. We only mention it because it’s another moth species you will likely see snacking on your milkweed!

Oleander aphids (Aphis nerii)

Close-up of Swamp Milkweed covered in aphids in a sunny garden. The plant has a vertical stem covered with elongated, narrow, bright green leaves with pointed tips. Aphids are tiny yellowish-green insects with soft, pear-shaped bodies.
Common aphid pests in milkweed affect plant health and seed germination.

Aphids are a common pest among milkweed and occur all across North America. They make your plant just unhealthy enough to affect the viability and germination rates of next season’s seeds by sucking out its juices.

They can be controlled by gently rubbing them off between your fingers, hosing them down, introducing natural predators, and planting onions or marigolds nearby to repel aphids.

Thrips (Thysanoptera order)

Close-up of Thysanoptera order on a green leaf. This insect is characterized by a small and slender body with distinctive fringed wings that are long and narrow. The fringes along the edges of the wings are hair-like. His body is elongated and range in color from pale yellow or brown to black.
Control thrips, or freckle bugs, with a hose, natural predators, or insecticidal soap only if needed.

Thrips, or freckle bugs, nicknamed for the freckling effect they give plants after feeding on them, don’t typically cause an issue. However, if you see them, they can be controlled with a strong jet stream from your garden hose.

Ladybugs and lacewings in a healthy ecosystem should take care of them for you. You can also use insecticidal soap, but as it has risks to your butterfly and moth species, limit it to only when needed.


Close-up of a large snail on a green wet leaf in the garden. The snail is a gastropod mollusk characterized by its distinctive spiral-shaped shell, which provides protection and serves as a mobile home. The shell is brown in color and has a dark brown spotted pattern. The soft body of the snail peeks out from the opening of the shell and features a large, muscular foot that aids in locomotion.
Combat slugs with an iron phosphate bait safe for plants and wildlife.

As you may know, slugs come out to feed at night, so catching them in the act is hard. An organic slug and snail bait made from iron phosphate will kill them once ingested but does not affect other wildlife. Sprinkle the pellets at the base of the plant.

Milkweed leaf miners (Liriomyza asclepiadis)

Close-up of a leafminer affected leaf. Leaf green in color, has distinctive serpentine mines or tunnels made by the larva. The affected leaves exhibit winding trails of pale discoloration caused by the feeding activity of the larvae within the leaf tissue.
Eliminate milkweed leaf miners by removing affected leaves.

The larvae of milkweed leaf miners feed on the in-between leaf layers, removing all the nourishment Monarch caterpillars need. Remove affected leaves to rid your plant of this problem. 

Milkweed bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus)

Close-up of a Milkweed Bug on a Milkweed leaf with a blurred background. The Milkweed Bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus) is a distinctive insect known for its striking black and orange coloration. Its body is elongated and shield-shaped.
Hand-pick milkweed bugs off plants when discovered.

These guys will help milkweed from spreading, so if you don’t want it to reproduce and you see them, leave them be. They eat some, but not all, of the flowers and seeds. They’re also good for your local ecosystem, so removing them if they’re not doing too much damage could be harmful.

However, females can lay up to 2000 eggs per month, so if an infestation overtakes your milkweed patch, hand-pick them into soapy water. Insecticidal spray should be avoided. It may prevent Monarchs from laying their eggs there if residue remains on the plant.

Milkweed beetles (Tetraopes tetrophthalamus)

Close-up of Tetraopes tetrophthalmus, commonly known as the Red Milkweed Beetle, on a green leaf. This insect has a vivid red and black coloration. With a slender and elongated body, this beetle features bright red elytra adorned with four distinctive black spots. The head, antennae, and legs also display contrasting shades of black.
Leave beetles unless causing they’re causing significant damage.

These beetles are usually harmless and should be left alone unless they are wreaking havoc. These beetles can be controlled by hand-picking or tossing them in soapy water. Their larva hide in the soil and sometimes burrow into the stems, so they’re often missed when gardeners are scouting their plants for pests. 


Leaf Spot

close-up of a green leaf affected by Leaf Spot against a blurred background. The leaf is elongated, oval in shape, bright green. The surface of the leaf is covered with small irregular spots of a brownish-rusty hue.
Leaf spot, common in wet regions, results from airborne fungus, causing colored spots.

More common in areas with long stretches of rainfall and moist environments, leaf spot is caused by an air or waterborne fungus. Spots are brown, black, or red and may coalesce into one larger spot. If the infection is severe enough, leaves may drop off. Trim the affected areas off and dispose of them in an area where spores cannot spread back into your garden.

Root Rot

Close-up of plant roots affected by root rot on a white background. The roots are slightly twisted among themselves, slightly thickened, brownish in color, soft, rotting.
Overwatering leads to root rot in plants; ensure good drainage for swamp milkweed.

Root rot is usually caused by overwatering your plants. The roots cannot breathe and are drowning. Although the swamp milkweed prefers swampy areas, when cultivating and growing them at home, do not overwater them. Ensure good soil drainage and aeration to avoid soggy soil.

Verticillium Wilt

Close-up of dry milkweed bushes affected by a fungal disease. The plants have vertical stems covered with dry, curled leaves of a light brown hue.
California faces widespread Verticillium disease in milkweed, causing yellowing, wilting, and death.

This disease is caused by two related fungi, Verticillium dahliae and V. albo-atrum, which are widespread in California and can take out an entire patch of milkweed. Common symptoms are yellowing of leaves, extreme wilting, and death. Once a plant is infected, there’s no way to get rid of the fungus, which can live in the soil for years.

To rid the soil of the fungus, it must be sterilized. Soil solarization may be effective, but this can take a while, so if you encounter these fungal pathogens, plant your milkweed in another area as you remedy the situation. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I overwinter swamp milkweed? 

Yes! They’re hardy down to zone 3 and won’t need any protection when grown in the ground. If they are being stored in pots, the roots may freeze, so either bring them indoors into a semi-heated garage or basement or insulate them for the coldest parts of winter.

Why isn’t my swamp milkweed blooming? 

It may simply be too young. If it’s in its first year or two, just give it another season, and you should have blooms the following year. Otherwise, test your soil for excess nitrogen that could cause this. Also, as with many other flowering plants, stress from heat and drought conditions could put it into survival mode, causing it not to flower.

Final Thoughts

I hope this gave you the confidence to try cultivating some of your own swamp milkweed. It’s an interesting landscaping idea that attracts lots of beneficial insects, and milkweed is the primary food for Monarch butterfly larvae. If you have a hard-to-fill area in a wet backyard and want something low-maintenance, give swamp milkweed a shot. 

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