Showy Milkweed

Asclepias speciosa Torr.

Plant Details:

Plant Type: Perennial
Plant Family: Asclepiadaceae
Plant Description: Showy Milkweed is a common native wildflower that serves as a host plant for Monarch butterflies. The caterpillars feed on the large oval leaves while the mature butterflies drink the nectar from the flowers. Due to a substance in the plants, Monarchs become toxic to their predators. In late spring and early summer, the flowers form interesting spiky spheres in shades of pink. In the fall, large seed pods break open to release clouds of fluffy seeds. Spreads easily by underground rhizomes and from seed; here in the Garden it is confined to certain areas so as not to invade the rest of the Garden.


Maintenance Type: Perennial - Herbaceous
Plant Care: Perennial - Herbaceous (soft-stemmed plants that die back in winter and regrow in spring): Remove spent blooms to promote rebloom later. Some plants tend to flop over after the first bloom and attempt to regrow from the base; in these cases, the old stems can be cut away in summer. As plants become dormant in the fall, remove dead leaves and stems.

Plant Attributes:

Mature Size: 18-36" tall x 24-36" wide
Utah Native: Yes
Plant Select: No
Pollinator Friendly: Yes
Localscapes: Infill Plant, Foundation Plant, Perimeter Plant
Foliage Interest: No
Foliage Colors: Green
Bloom Colors: Pink
Bloom Seasons: Early Summer, Late Spring
Bloom Period: May - Jul

Growing Conditions:

Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9
Light Requirement: Full Sun (6+ hrs sun), Part Shade (4-6 hrs morning sun), Part Sun (4-6 hrs afternoon sun)
Irrigation Requirement:     Very Low (Water to Establish)
Salt Tolerant: Unknown
Deer Resistant: Unknown

Garden Location:

  • Commercial Concepts
    • South Property Line
  • Irrigation Path
    • Mountain to Tap
  • Maintenance Path
    • Rain Gardening
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Fall
  • Winter