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Asclepias curassavica ‘Silky Gold’ (photo courtesy of Laura Dunkin-Hubby)
Asclepias curassavica ‘Silky Gold’ (photo courtesy of Laura Dunkin-Hubby)

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Zone
Zones 1-24
Full Sun
Full
Minimal Water
Minimal
Toxicity
All parts are poisonous if ingested

Asclepias speciosa

Showy Milkweed
Apocynaceae
Perennials, Flowers

ASCLEPIAS

Though some include the word “weed” in their common name, the plants listed here are anything but weeds—they’re showy, easy-to-grow garden plants. All bloom in summer, typically bearing many small, starlike flowers in broad, flattened clusters at or near the branch tips. Their inflated seedpods split open to reveal silky seeds and milky sap. Their nectar attracts butterflies.

Asclepias speciosa ‘Davis’ (photo courtesy of Annie’s Annuals & Perennials)
Asclepias speciosa ‘Davis’ (photo courtesy of Annie’s Annuals & Perennials)

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Asclepias speciosa

Native to western and central North America. This striking perennial grows 2–4 ft. tall and not quite as wide; may spread by underground stems to form colonies. Thick, upright stems hold big, softly hairy leaves of gray; summer flowers are 3-in.-wide balls of fragrant, purplish pink. Long winter dormancy; new shoots may not appear until midspring. Needs only occasional water once established.

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