Sunday, February 7, 2010

Purple Milkweed - Asclepias humistrata

Purple milkweed (Asclepias humistrata) is native to the northern two-thirds of Florida and resident to habitats with excessively well-drained sands and full sun. It is a multi-stemmed deciduous perennial which dies back each fall and emerges in the early spring. Purple milkweed is a robust, but sprawling plant which sends its stems in all directions across the ground. At maturity, these stems may be more than two feet long. Its common name comes from the color of its large arrow-shaped leaves. They are a purplish green with pink-purple veins throughout. Purple milkweed blooms in early summer at the ends of each stem. The flowers themselves are a dull pinkish white and they occur in large rounded heads which are held about one foot off the ground. Purple milkweed is not the most beautiful of our native milkweeds, but its variegated foliage and large flower masses make it an interesting addition to a large planting area. Do not attempt it in small spaces as it will overwhelm them. This is a difficult species to maintain in containers and the landscape. It will rot quickly if planted in soils that stay too moist, but if you have excessively well-drained sands in a sunny location and a bit of space, purple milkweed provides a great many benefits to a mixed wildflower planting.

14 comments:

  1. Hi Craig. Do you currently have this milkweed available for purchase?

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  2. Yes, but they are still quite small. I would want to get them a bit larger before selling them. Ask me again in the spring - hopefully, they will be ready by ~April.

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  3. Do you offer these for sale anymore? I'm in central Florida and would like a new food source for my caterpillars.

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  4. I have seed which I will be starting any day. Seedlings would be ready by the fall plant sales I will be at - hopefully. This is not an "easy" plant.

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  5. I am interested in buying some plants to add to my butterfly garden in central Florida. annie.grewe@gmail.com

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  6. Wondering if you have seeds or plants of this species? Our botanical gardens is working on a collection for Asclepias species.

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  7. Perhaps later this summer - too early right now. Check with me via email in a few weeks.

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  8. I am a Monarch waystation, #6204 and am trying to add several native milkweed species to my garden. Please let me know if I may purchase a few seeds. I start my own seedlings in my summer and winter greenhouse. Thak you.

    Deanne Murphy

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  9. Much as I want to, I rarely have seed for sale - as I use what I have to propagate plants for my nursery and I try not to collect more than I need. Most of my seed comes from my plants. And.... I never have extra milkweed seed, always never enough.

    Hoping the purple milkweed in my garden produces a pod this year, but it is a rare occurrence.

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  10. I have what is turning out to be a 5 acre purple milkweed patch! Hoping this means lots of butterflies out here. I am willing to share plants if someone wants to make a swap!

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    1. If you collect seed from them later this summer, I would trade plants, seed or $$ for them.

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  11. You have a butterfly gold mine! Asclepias humistrata does not transplant well because it has a long tap root, so collect the seed pods to sell instead of the plants and save yourself some work. Along with Mr. Hawthorn Hill I am extremely interested and have been searching for a source of this particular milkweed. Email me at "pkells@comcast.net" so we can make arrangements.

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  12. I, as well, am interested in purchasing seeds. These beauties thrive in sandy soil and the colors are magnificent. Please contact me if you plan on selling at tjatnb@gmail.com. Thank you in advance. Trisha

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