Grower: Landscape Gardening and Natural Design
Price: $1.99 ( 10,seeds)
%> Available (Exact): 5
Showy Milkweed is a stout, well-branched plant, airy and beautifully textured. The blue-green leaves are thick and slightly hairy, topped by glorious rosy-pink starbursts fully 4 to 5 inches wide from late spring into early fall. You will seldom find it out of bloom for 4 to 5 months at a stretch! And the blooms have that distinctive licorice aroma so beloved of Hummingbird Mint. Butterflies aren't the only pollinators to visit these blooms. Honeybees and bumblebees find the nectar irresistible too! Be sure to site Showy Milkweed in a fully sunny spot, in well-drained soil. This is not a container plant; it grows a long taproot, so try to plant it where you know you want it to grow, because transplanting is very difficult. Some Asclepias species (not the cultivated varieties, but the wild species) can be invasive, but Showy Milkweed is far more restrained. It will self-sow, so if you don't want volunteers, simply remove the last blooms before they set seed. Or let the handsome seedpods form, cut them off, and share the rewards with friends who lack Showy Milkweed in their gardens! Because Milkweed is a food source for Monarch caterpillars, you may find some nibbled foliage. In fact, you should! That means that the caterpillars have fed and are ready for the chrysalis stage. And if you look very closely under the stems, you may see semi-transparent chrysalises containing beautiful folded-up butterflies, just waiting to break open and fly! It's an amazing sight, and one that every gardener should experience! Here are just a few of the butterflies you can look for on your Showy Milkweed: • checkerspots • hairstreaks • painted ladies • pale swallowtails • queens • tiger swallowtails • variegated fritillaries • Monarchs When your seeds arrive, they need about a month of chill time. If you have room in your fridge, pop the seeds into the Bio Dome and put the whole Dome (or just the bottom tray, covered with plastic) into the fridge. But that takes up space, so another method is to place the seeds onto a moistened paper towel, fold the towel over them, and place it in a plastic bag. Put the bag in the fridge where it won't be disturbed for a month. Either way, once the seeds have gone through their chill time, you can sow and grow them indoors until they have at least 2 sets of true leaves. Hardy from one end of the country to another, easy to grow, and ready to self-sow if you want more plants, Showy Milkweed is a treasure. Make it part of your permanent landscape this season!