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Products > Asclepias speciosa
Asclepias speciosa - Showy Milkweed

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Perennial
Family: Apocynaceae (Dogbanes & Milkweeds)
Origin: Northwest (U.S.) (North America)
Flower Color: Pink
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Height: 2-3 feet
Width: Running
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: < 0 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Asclepias speciosa (Showy Milkweed) - An erect stout perennial to 3 feet tall and spreading slowly by rhizomes to form an open clump. It has hairy broad oval gray-green 5 inch long leaves that are arranged in opposite pairs along the stem and topped in late spring through early summer with lightly fragrant large tight spherical clusters (umbels) of pale pinkish purple star shaped flowers that have reflexes calyces. Plant out in the open in full sun in most any soil and irrigate only occasionally to very little once established - this is a drought tolerant plant and is very hardy in its deciduous state, tolerating winter temperatures well below zero and useful down to USDA zone 4. This plant is very showy in bloom and was long used by the indigenous native American peoples for medicinal purposes and as a food source (it is considered one of the least toxic of the milkweeds). It is a food and habitat plant for the Monarch Butterfly and the flowers are attractive to hummingbirds. Showy Milkweed is native through much of western North America and in California from northern central California to the borders with Nevada and Oregon, where is grows in open clearings in mixed-evergreen and Yellow Pine forests. The name for the genus was one that Carl Linnaeus ascribed after Asklepios, the Greek god of healing, for the many medicinal uses of milkweed plants. The specific epithet is the Latin word for "beautiful" or "showy" in reference to this plants attractive flowers. Our plants from seed purchased from Seed Hunt as is the image of the plant on this page.  The information on this page is based on our research conducted in our nursery library, from online sources, as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery containers, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens where we have observed it. We will also incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing  Asclepias speciosa.