Free shipping on ALL plant orders!

Asclepias purpurascens

purple milkweed add to wishlist

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

Height: 1.5'-3'

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

Asclepias purpurascens (purple milkweed)
  • Asclepias purpurascens (purple milkweed)
  • Asclepias purpurascens (purple milkweed)
  • Asclepias purpurascens (purple milkweed)

Pricing & Availability

Description

Asclepias purpurascens

Also known as:

purple milkweed

,

Scientific Synonyms:

Description

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.

Cultivation

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

Propagation

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.

Additional Notes

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

Native Range:
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

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Asteridae
Order Gentianales
Family Asclepiadaceae Milkweed family
Genus Asclepias milkweed
Species Asclepias purpurascens purple milkweed