|Photo credit: Wikiwand.com Butterfly Gardening|
Have you ever wondered which milkweed is really recommended for our home landscapes? There are only a 100 species across the United States to select, but the best is Asclepias speciosa or Showy milkweed. One word of caution is that Showy milkweed does need space because it is considered one of the tillering species of Asclepias.
Showy milkweed grows one and a half feet to three feet tall with blue-green pubescent or hairy leaves producing flower clusters or umbels of star-like rose colored to purple flowers in the upper axils of the stem. It grows best in full sun with moist, well-drained soil that can be course, medium or fine. Its native habitat ranges from dry to moist savannas, prairies, roadsides, old fields, and meadows according to Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. The plant has a milky sap when you break the stem, or the stem is injured in some way. This milky sap is a latex and except for Asclepias tuberosa is found as a characteristic of milkweeds. This sap containing toxins is a defense mechanism for the plant to make the leaves unpalatable. This plant serves as a host for monarchs while hummingbirds and other butterflies feed off the nectar.
Other milkweeds to add to your home landscape can be those with NON-Aggressive root systems which are as follows: