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General Information

Plant Care Instructions By Rhonda Hayes

Swamp milkweed, Asclepias incarnata is a resilient, adaptable native plant for perennial gardens, butterfly gardens and rain gardens. This milkweed prefers medium to wet soils. It grows from 3-4 feet tall in part to full sun. The beautiful pink flower clusters appear in June to July and continue until early fall. Swamp milkweed is a valuable larval plant host for the Monarch butterfly.

Is Indoor Plant?

No

These month by month plant care tasks are for plants in the following zones :
Sunset Zones :
USDA Zones : 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b
Web Link - For more information

Plant Care Instruction

  • Scroll down or click on any month for plant care instructions
    • February
    • March
    • April
    • May
    • June
    • July
    • August
    • September
    • October
    February
    1. Sow Seeds

    To start by seed outdoors requires pre-chilling. Refrigerate for 3 weeks prior to sowing. Barely cover with soil and keep moist.
    March
    1. Buy

    Container grown Swamp Milkweed becomes available when garden center perennial stock appears.
    2. Plant

    Swamp milkweed can be planted in early spring when a light frost is expected, and then through spring to early summer.
    3. Sow Seeds

    To start by seed outdoors requires pre-chilling. Refrigerate for 3 weeks prior to sowing. Barely cover with soil and keep moist.
    April
    1. Buy

    Container grown Swamp Milkweed becomes available when garden center perennial stock appears.
    2. Plant

    Swamp milkweed can be planted in early spring when a light frost is expected, and then through spring to early summer.
    3. Sow Seeds

    To start by seed outdoors requires pre-chilling. Refrigerate for 3 weeks prior to sowing. Barely cover with soil and keep moist.
    4. Prune

    For bushier plants, pinch plant tips. This technique can be used to keep plants shorter and more manageable. Note that pinching more than once can delay bloom.
    May
    1. Buy

    Container grown Swamp Milkweed becomes available when garden center perennial stock appears.
    2. Plant

    Swamp milkweed can still be planted in late spring and then through early summer. Take care to water regularly until plant is established.
    3. Fertilize

    Swamp milkweed requires little fertilizer, if any. When grown in beds with other perennials, some fertilizer will not harm the plant.
    4. Water

    Water well until established. Established plants can withstand dry spells, but the plant will do best with moist to wet soils.
    5. Prune

    For bushier plants, pinch plant tips. This technique can be used to keep plants shorter and more manageable. Note that pinching more than once can delay bloom.
    June
    1. Buy

    Container grown Swamp Milkweed becomes available when garden center perennial stock appears.
    2. Plant

    Swamp milkweed can still be planted in late spring and then through early summer. Take care to water regularly until plant is established.
    3. Fertilize

    Swamp milkweed requires little fertilizer, if any. When grown in beds with other perennials, some fertilizer will not harm the plant.
    4. Water

    Water well until established. Established plants can withstand dry spells, but the plant will do best with moist to wet soils.
    5. Mulch

    Mulch during these months to help to conserve soil moisture that swamp milkweed prefers.
    6. Pest/Disease Inspection

    Watch out for aphids. Otherwise swamp milkweed is relatively pest-free.
    July
    1. Fertilize

    Swamp milkweed requires little fertilizer, if any. When grown in beds with other perennials, some fertilizer will not harm the plant.
    2. Water

    Provide adequate water through hot weather.
    3. Mulch

    Mulch during these months to help to conserve soil moisture that swamp milkweed prefers.
    4. Pest/Disease Inspection

    Watch out for aphids. Otherwise swamp milkweed is relatively pest-free.
    5. Treat for Pest/Disease

    Direct a strong hose spray towards aphids. You may want to use soapy water or horticultural soap if problem persists.
    6. Propagate

    Division is not recommended due to delicate tap root. Root cuttings can be made, but propagation by seed is preferable.
    August
    1. Water

    Provide adequate water through hot weather.
    2. Mulch

    Mulch during these months to help to conserve soil moisture that swamp milkweed prefers.
    3. Pest/Disease Inspection

    Watch out for aphids. Otherwise swamp milkweed is relatively pest-free.
    4. Treat for Pest/Disease

    Direct a strong hose spray towards aphids. You may want to use soapy water or horticultural soap if problem persists.
    5. Transplant

    Transplanting is not recommended due to the delicate tap root.
    6. Propagate

    Division is not recommended due to delicate tap root. Root cuttings can be made, but propagation by seed is preferable.
    7. Special requirements

    Swamp milkweed can proliferate by wind-blown seeds, remove seed heads to avoid re-seeding problems.
    September
    1. Plant

    Swamp milkweed can be planted in early autumn before freezing temperatures. Take care to water regularly until ground freezes.
    2. Sow Seeds

    Sow seeds outdoors before first frost. Barley cover with soil and keep moist until ground freezes. Swamp milkweed is slow to appear in spring, for this reason, mark the place well. Be patient and keep soil moist through germination and seedling growth.
    3. Transplant

    Transplanting is not recommended due to the delicate tap root.
    4. Propagate

    Division is not recommended due to delicate tap root. Root cuttings can be made, but propagation by seed is preferable.
    5. Special requirements

    Swamp milkweed can proliferate by wind-blown seeds, remove seed heads to avoid re-seeding problems.
    October
    1. Plant

    Swamp milkweed can be planted in early autumn before freezing temperatures. Take care to water regularly until ground freezes.
    2. Sow Seeds

    Sow seeds outdoors before first frost. Barley cover with soil and keep moist until ground freezes. Swamp milkweed is slow to appear in spring, for this reason, mark the place well. Be patient and keep soil moist through germination and seedling growth.
    3. Special requirements

    Swamp milkweed can proliferate by wind-blown seeds, remove seed heads to avoid re-seeding problems.
  • Buy

    When's the best time to buy this plant? When can you buy these from seed (if you can)? When is it usually available? What are things to look for when you're buying it? Or anything other tidbit of information you can share!

    March

    Container grown Swamp Milkweed becomes available when garden center perennial stock appears.

    April

    Container grown Swamp Milkweed becomes available when garden center perennial stock appears.

    May

    Container grown Swamp Milkweed becomes available when garden center perennial stock appears.

    June

    Container grown Swamp Milkweed becomes available when garden center perennial stock appears.

    Plant

    When's a good time to plant this plant or bulb? Any special planting instructions?

    March

    Swamp milkweed can be planted in early spring when a light frost is expected, and then through spring to early summer.

    April

    Swamp milkweed can be planted in early spring when a light frost is expected, and then through spring to early summer.

    May

    Swamp milkweed can still be planted in late spring and then through early summer. Take care to water regularly until plant is established.

    June

    Swamp milkweed can still be planted in late spring and then through early summer. Take care to water regularly until plant is established.

    September

    Swamp milkweed can be planted in early autumn before freezing temperatures. Take care to water regularly until ground freezes.

    October

    Swamp milkweed can be planted in early autumn before freezing temperatures. Take care to water regularly until ground freezes.

    Sow Seeds

    When can you plant these seeds? When's the best time? Can you start them indoors and move them out? Do they have any special requirements?

    February

    To start by seed outdoors requires pre-chilling. Refrigerate for 3 weeks prior to sowing. Barely cover with soil and keep moist.

    March

    To start by seed outdoors requires pre-chilling. Refrigerate for 3 weeks prior to sowing. Barely cover with soil and keep moist.

    April

    To start by seed outdoors requires pre-chilling. Refrigerate for 3 weeks prior to sowing. Barely cover with soil and keep moist.

    September

    Sow seeds outdoors before first frost. Barley cover with soil and keep moist until ground freezes. Swamp milkweed is slow to appear in spring, for this reason, mark the place well. Be patient and keep soil moist through germination and seedling growth.

    October

    Sow seeds outdoors before first frost. Barley cover with soil and keep moist until ground freezes. Swamp milkweed is slow to appear in spring, for this reason, mark the place well. Be patient and keep soil moist through germination and seedling growth.

    Fertilize

    When should you fertilize this plant? Which kind of fertilizer do you recommend? Should you use different fertilizers at different times of year?

    May

    Swamp milkweed requires little fertilizer, if any. When grown in beds with other perennials, some fertilizer will not harm the plant.

    June

    Swamp milkweed requires little fertilizer, if any. When grown in beds with other perennials, some fertilizer will not harm the plant.

    July

    Swamp milkweed requires little fertilizer, if any. When grown in beds with other perennials, some fertilizer will not harm the plant.

    Water

    Is there a time to reduce or increase watering? Any special requirements? Things to avoid during certain times of the year?

    May

    Water well until established. Established plants can withstand dry spells, but the plant will do best with moist to wet soils.

    June

    Water well until established. Established plants can withstand dry spells, but the plant will do best with moist to wet soils.

    July

    Provide adequate water through hot weather.

    August

    Provide adequate water through hot weather.

    Prune

    When's a good time to prune this plant? How about deadheading, pinching back, trimming or any other grooming? Any special requirements?

    April

    For bushier plants, pinch plant tips. This technique can be used to keep plants shorter and more manageable. Note that pinching more than once can delay bloom.

    May

    For bushier plants, pinch plant tips. This technique can be used to keep plants shorter and more manageable. Note that pinching more than once can delay bloom.

    Mulch

    Does this plant need to be mulched? Are there specific types of Mulch which are better for this plant? How much?

    June

    Mulch during these months to help to conserve soil moisture that swamp milkweed prefers.

    July

    Mulch during these months to help to conserve soil moisture that swamp milkweed prefers.

    August

    Mulch during these months to help to conserve soil moisture that swamp milkweed prefers.

    Pest/Disease Inspection

    What are the common problems this plant will face and when should you look for them to appear?

    June

    Watch out for aphids. Otherwise swamp milkweed is relatively pest-free.

    July

    Watch out for aphids. Otherwise swamp milkweed is relatively pest-free.

    August

    Watch out for aphids. Otherwise swamp milkweed is relatively pest-free.

    Treat for Pest/Disease

    How do you treat the common problems for this plant? What products or concoctions or natural means do you use? Any special requirements?

    July

    Direct a strong hose spray towards aphids. You may want to use soapy water or horticultural soap if problem persists.

    August

    Direct a strong hose spray towards aphids. You may want to use soapy water or horticultural soap if problem persists.

    Transplant

    When's the best time to dig up and transplant this from one spot to another? (This is different than planting). Any special requirements?

    August

    Transplanting is not recommended due to the delicate tap root.

    September

    Transplanting is not recommended due to the delicate tap root.

    Propagate

    When's a good time to divide, take cuttings, layer or propagate this plant. Any special requirements?

    July

    Division is not recommended due to delicate tap root. Root cuttings can be made, but propagation by seed is preferable.

    August

    Division is not recommended due to delicate tap root. Root cuttings can be made, but propagation by seed is preferable.

    September

    Division is not recommended due to delicate tap root. Root cuttings can be made, but propagation by seed is preferable.

    Special requirements

    Any other requirement for this plant? Is there anything that doesn't fit into the other care categories?

    August

    Swamp milkweed can proliferate by wind-blown seeds, remove seed heads to avoid re-seeding problems.

    September

    Swamp milkweed can proliferate by wind-blown seeds, remove seed heads to avoid re-seeding problems.

    October

    Swamp milkweed can proliferate by wind-blown seeds, remove seed heads to avoid re-seeding problems.

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