All About Growing the Showy Milkweed

The showy milkweed is known botanically by either the name Ascepias speciosa or Asclepias giffordii. It is from the milkweed family of plants and is native to the United States.

Showy Milkweed Description

Growing one-and-a-half to three feet high, this perennial has large leaves and clusters of flowers. The leaves are blue-green, oval, and large while the flowers are showy, rose-colored, and on tops of the stems. Some blooms can be pink, green, or purple. It has a gray overtone to it and feels velvet-like to the touch. Stems are erect and it has a milky sap. Bloom season for the showy milkweed is between May and September.

Growing Guide

The showy milkweed prefers to grow in full sun and moist soils. It can be propagated by seed and by root cuttings. Root cuttings should be done in spring or fall and seed can be sown fresh in the fall or after two months of moist stratification in the spring.


This native is found through the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. It is in meadows, fields, and prairies.

Wildlife Attracted

It attracts hummingbirds to the landscape as well as butterflies. It is a larval host plant to the Monarch butterfly.


All milkweeds have a poisonous nature, but this is one of the least toxic of the milkweed family. It should not be ingested. The sap may cause some irritation in sensitive individuals.

Source: NPIN

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