Plant types and subtypes: Perennials
Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade
Water Use: low, medium
Soil Moisture: dry, moist, wet
Soil Description: average, poor, loam, clay, gravel/rock
Bloom Time: May, June, July, August
Bloom Color: purple, pink, lilac
Leaf Color: green
Hardiness Zone: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Additional Tags: attracts bees, attracts butterflies, attracts hummingbirds, clumping, colonizing, cottage garden plant, deer resistant, drought tolerant, medicinal, naturalizing, poisonous, pond margin plant, rock garden plant, stream margin plant
Pricing & Availability
Asclepias purpurascensAlso known as:
Similar to the common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), purple milkweed has deeper colored flowers ranging from pink to purple. The flower structure is typical of other mikweeds, producing terminal, large, well rounded umbels. These will give way to large (oblong, 6" long by 1" across) seed pods, that burst open when ripe, releasing an abundance of tufted seeds that will disperse in the wind. The leaves are also large (up to 8" long by 3" across), oblong with slightly pubescent undersides, ranging in color from deep green to yellow-green, depending on sun exposure and soil moisture. The plant's central stem is robust, slightly pubescent, and usually grows to a height of 3", occasionally taller.
This species of milkweed is very easy to grow, and low maintenance. It is adapted to full sun, but will tolerate more shade than most other milkweeds. It is not particular about soil; moist, well-drained is best, but will tolerate wet conditions in full sun and dry conditions in part shade. Its long taproot makes it quite resistant to drought, though both bloom time and esthetics will be affected. It spreads via rhizomes to form dense clumps, and naturalizes by seed, though less aggressively than the common milkweed. Purple milkweed will bloom for a month between late spring and late summer (depending on geographic location). Bloom time can be extended by dead-heading so as to prevent the plant from going to seed. Zones 4-8
Propagate by division or root cuttings in early spring, or fall before the plant enters dormancy. Collected seeds will require a period of stratification before sowing. Plants propagated from seed will take two to three years to become mature enough to produce flowers.
Asclepias purpurascens is an ideal species for anyone planning a butterfly garden. Its nectar is also attractive to a variety of bees, and the occasional hummingbird. Its milky sap has been used to remove warts. All parts of the plant should be considered toxic if ingested in large quantities. This mild toxicity also keeps browsing mammals at bay.
Native Range & Classification
Recorded County Distribution: USDA data
AR, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SD, TN, TX, VA, WI, WV
USDA Endangered Status:
- Endangered: MA, WI
- Historical: RI
- Special Concern: CT, TN
|Species||Asclepias purpurascens||purple milkweed|