Common Name: Milkweed, Swamp Milkweed
Botanical Name: Asclepias (incarnata, tuberosa)
Sizes Available: 12 count Quart flats and Gallons
Season of Interest: Spring and Summer
It is finally Pollinator Week 2017! Yippy! The time is now to think about pollination planting and all the critters that make life for us possible. Did you know about 75% of plant species need the help of animals and insects to move pollen for fertilization? An estimated 1/3 of foods and beverages are made possible by pollinators.
While Honeybees are the superstars of Pollination, there are so many other beneficial animals that will, hopefully, continue to pollinate our environments. If you see these creatures, make sure to be friendly:
- Various species of Bees
- Various birds, including Hummingbirds
- Some small mammals
How can you entice these little friends into your space? By planting pollinator, and native species in your landscapes. There is one guaranteed way to attract various species to your garden, and that is to plant some Asclepias! Multiple variations on this herbaceous perennial are perfect for attracting winged friends, and for bringing bright colors into your space. Plantworks Nursery carries the following varieties:
- Asclepias Tuberosa (milkweed)- Orange (Traditional) and “Hello Yellow”
- Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed)- Milkmaid, Cinderella, and Ice Ballet
While we have grown Asclepias incarnata for a number of years, 2017 will be the first time we have Tuberosa available. This has been great news to our friends who have been begging us for this brightly colored, pollinator attractor. (Also, being named the Perennial Plant of the Year 2017 doesn’t hurt any plants cause!) These native plants are right at home in North Carolina, and will fit perfectly into almost any planting project. Non invasive and easy to manage, they are practically a perfect perennial.
Here are some brief points to know about both:
Tuberosa- Milkweed- Butterfly Weed
Grows to around 1-3 feet tall. Clustered orange or yellow flowers from early Summer into the Fall season. Lanceolate leaves. Prefers dry, sandy, or gravel soil. They need full sun to thrive. Butterflies love this plant because of the colors and the mass amount of nectar it provides. The major pollinator point to remember is that this plant is the larval host for the Monarch butterfly. Common names include “Butterfly weed,” “Indian Paintbrush,” and “Orange Milkweed.” Best propagated through seed, and most commonly found in fields.
Incarnata- Swamp Milkweed
Herbaceous, perennial native to North America. Prefers damp to wet soils, with good drainage. Like most Milkweeds, it produces a toxic sap that repels herbivorous animals and infectious insects, leaving room to attract pollinators of all types. Upright, growing to around 59 inches in height with fleshly white roots. The blooms emerge in late Spring. Pink/mauve, or white, colored blooms in summer. Full sun is needed for best performance. Found naturally growing by stems, lakes, and low-lying areas. This type of Asclepias is also a Monarch butterfly host.
So, make sure to consider the bees and butterflies all year around, but especially this week in particular while we celebrate their contributions to our lives. Tune into the little things around you that make life amazing, and realize we are all a part of an interlocking machine that works together to move forward. Yay Pollination!
*All plant highlights reflect plants grown by Plantworks Nursery. If you are interested in availability, please contact us for information. (firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-732-6594)