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Asclepias speciosa


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Asclepias speciosa New!
Time to think about Fall Planting
This plant is
Ideal for Fall Planting
Degree of Difficulty
Challenging
Degree of Difficulty
This plant is can be challenging to grow in conditions outside those in which it is found in the wild.
Blue Tag Xeric
Blue Tag Plant
This plant is sensitive to overwatering.
Best of Class
Best of Class
We believe this to be the best hardy butterfly plants.

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Description

(Showy Milkweed) Milkweeds (Asclepias spp. ) are must-have, nectar-rich plants in the butterfly garden. They're the only genus on which the endangered Monarch butterfly lays eggs. It is urgent that we offer this pretty, fragrant wildflower.

In spring 2013, The New York Times reported a precipitous decline in the Monarch butterfly migration due to various causes, including North America’s plummeting supply of Milkweed. The species normally grows wild in agricultural fields. However, the increasing use of seed genetically modified to withstand herbicides has eliminated at least 120 million acres of Monarch habitat, according to The New York Times.

Backyard gardeners can help reverse this trend by growing plants, such as Showy Milkweed, which keep the Monarch migration alive and feed other species of butterflies as well.

Butterflies need flowers on which they can easily perch while sipping nectar. Plants with globe-shaped flower heads, such as those of Milkweeds, meet this need. The roughness of Showy Milkweed's long, fuzzy, gray-green leaves make it easy for eggs and chrysalises to connect. Powerful chemicals in the foliage are consumed by Monarch caterpillars and make them off limits -- as babies and adult butterflies -- to predators that can’t consume those substances.

Showy Milkweed features globes of tiny, star-shaped flowers that are pale, creamy pink. It isn’t very big for such a powerful plant, growing only 24 to 36 inches tall and 24 inches wide. Although it can tolerate a bit of partial shade, this plant prefers full sun. It likes droughty conditions as well as gravelly ground. Any kind of soil will do as long as it drains well.

This cold-tolerant species grows well in USDA Zones 4 to 9 where it looks pretty in perennial borders or massed with other Lepidoptera favorites in butterfly gardens. It is particularly well adapted to dry gardens. Milkweeds are native to a large swath of North America, so they are also good choices for native gardens.

To control the plant’s tendency to naturalize in parts of the yard where you don’t want to grow it, simply snip off the seedpods before they ripen and pop open.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  What you will recieve is a very well established root system.  The foliege will not be cosmetically perfect, and it is only in the second year, once planted out in the ground, that this species will attain its full potential.  In the wild this species often exhibits summer dormancy. There is generally very little above ground activity in the year in which this is planted.

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Common name  
Showy Milkweed
USDA Zones  
4 - 9
Size (h/w/fh)  
24"/24"/36"
Exposure  
Full sun
Soil type  
Well drained
Water needs  
Drought resistant
Pot size  
3 1/2 inch deep pot
Container plant?  
No
Our price
10.50
Quantity Price
6+ Items 8.50
*Note:

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Here are some guidelines for success with this plant in your garden.
Click on an individual icon for more detailed information.

Exposure

Full sun
Full sun
Heat tolerant
Heat tolerant

Growing Habit

4 - 9
4 - 9
24 inches tall
24 inches tall
24 inches wide
24 inches wide
Perennial
Perennial

Water Needs

Drought resistant
Drought resistant

Blooming Season

Fall blooming
Fall blooming
Summer blooming
Summer blooming

Wildlife

Butterflies
Butterflies
Deer resistant
Deer resistant
  • California Drought Action Pack

    (California Drought Action Pack) The drought in California is a real challenge to gardeners and to the wildlife that depends increasingly on us for survival. We want to help.

    This package consists of Salvias, Agastache, Kniphofia, Asclepias and other wildlife-friendly & drought resistant plants that will grow, bloom and be happy in dry gardens. We will personally select three each of four different plants, taking into account your particular climate and location. These are some of our top sellers, offered as a discounted group.  We can't promise any specific plant, but you'll be excited when you unpack your box!

    We're all concerned about the declining habitats and food sources for hummingbirds, butterflies and bees - and by planting these in your garden you will be doing a great service to our animal friends that being stressed by the lack of flowers. Because of the large number of suitable varieties we grow, we'll plan to send along a balanced, long blooming mix. You can plant now and enjoy these beauties for years to come, even if the drought continues.

    Some of the plants in this package
    Some of the plants



    We also include a detailed Planting Guide, to insure your success.

    We offer this for the Fall planting season only with free shipping anywhere in California.   You can choose your desired shipping date during checkout.

    Please let us know in the "Customer Notes" section of the shopping cart if you have any color preferences or blooming season restrictions. We guarantee to pick out some of the very best drought tolerant varieties we grow for you. Please, this is for California residents only.

    129.00

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Kniphofia 'Mango Popsicle'

    (Mango Popsicle Hot Poker) This genus has become very popular in the last few years - for good reason. They feed hummingbirds & honeybees, and attract butterflies. And this superior variety from Oregon's TerraNova Nurseries is compact, free blooming and amazingly hardy.

    In 2011 and 2012 we grew dozens of the new Kniphofia varieties, and only a few stood out from the pack. This is absolutely our favorite. One of our nursery friends in Portland, Oregon said that it continued to bloom through January, even though the foliage was covered with a foot of snow.

    We don't grow many non-Salvias, and when we do it has to be special. This is one of those very, very good new plants. A must have plant.

    11.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Kniphofia 'Pineapple Popsicle'

    (Pineapple Popsicle Hot Poker) This genus has become very popular in the last few years - for good reason. They feed hummingbirds and butterflies. And this superior variety from Oregon's TerraNova Nurseries is compact, free blooming and amazingly hardy.

    In 2011 and 2012 we grew dozens of the new Kniphofia varieties, and only a few stood out from the pack. We love this one for its bright, neutral color that goes with anything. One of our nursery friends in Portland, Oregon said that it continued to bloom through January, even though the foliage was covered with a foot of snow.

    We don't grow many non-Salvias, and when we do it has to be special. This is one of those very, very good new plants. A must have plant.

    11.50
  • Salvia apiana x clevelandii 'Vicki Romo'

    (Vicki Romo White Sage) A hybrid of two, top Californian natives, Vicki Romo has foliage very much like that of White Sage (Salvia apiana) and darker lavender flowers than those of Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii).

    Vicki Romo is from the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden where it was named after a graduate student intern. It has bigger, more pronounced flowers that bloom from spring into summer and is a bit less fragrant than its parent plants. Similar to White Sage, it can grow up to 5 feet tall. However, unlike both of its smaller parents, Vicki Romo can spread up to 5 feet. This makes it economical as a border screen or tall groundcover.

    This heat-resistant, drought-tolerant shrub requires good drainage and full sun. Both parents have a dry-summer/wet-winter range and often grow on rocky, south slopes.  Little water is needed once it becomes established.

    We love everything about this sage, especially how it attractst honeybees and hummingbirds but not deer.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia clevelandii 'Deer Springs Silver'

    (Silver Cleveland Sage or California Silver-Blue Sage) Unlike other Cleveland Sages, this drought-tolerant, violet-flowered evergreen blooms in summer. This compact, aromatic shrub has distinctive silver-grey foliage. It was discovered in Northern San Diego County.

    We have grown this heat-tolerant, full-sun sage successfully without watering during the summer, so it's ideal for a dry, native plant garden. The strongly scented flowers attract honeybees and hummingbirds in abundance. Butterflies also love it, but deer don't.

    Due to its silvery leaves, this cultivar stands out in a mixed planting of Cleveland Sages. Plant it in a border or cut-flower garden. It also forms an attractive screen.
    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia clevelandii 'Winnifred Gilman'

    (Cleveland Sage or California Blue Sage) This drought-tolerant, evergreen, California native is a compact, aromatic shrub with electric blue-purple flowers that bloom in summer. Discovered in a Berkeley, California, garden, Winnifred Gilman is a fine variety of the species.

    We have grown it successfully without watering during the summer. The strongly scented flowers attract honeybees and hummingbirds in abundance.

    As far as we know -- and there is a great deal of anecdotal information about this variety -- this is a true S. clevlelandii, unlike the popular Alan Chickering' or Whirly Blue varieties. Winnifred Gilman is denser in it's growth than either of these cultivars and has darker flowers. A mid-height Salvia, it is attractive as a screen or border shrub and also is a good addition to a cut-flower garden.
    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia lavanduloides

    (Lavender Leaf Sage) It's easy to confuse this sage from Southern Mexico with a Lavender bush. The bluish-lavender flower spikes make it look like a Lavandula species as does the foliage, which is similar in size, shape and color.

    However, unlike Lavender, which blooms from spring into fall, this gray herbaceous perennial sage follows an opposite pattern. It begins blooming in fall and continues into spring if not deterred by frost.

    Although it doesn't grow quickly, heat-tolerant Salvia lavanduloides is tough when given full sun, good air circulation and well-drained soil. It is a fragrant groundcover, border or container plant and is highly recommended by honeybees and butterflies. Humans like it too, which explains why it is often in short supply.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia pachyphylla 'Blue Flame'

    (Giant Purple Desert Sage) It’s best to plant this flamboyant native of the Southwest in spring or summer. However, once established, it tolerates winters from USDA Zones 5 to 9. Purple tubular flowers and burgundy bracts flare up its 10-inch flower spikes like flames on this softly rounded shrub.

    Fragrant, drought resistant and heat tolerant, this is a sage that isn’t particular about soils as long as they drain well. Give this shrub lots of sunshine and little water for best performance.  We have learned by experience that this species grows best where there are definite seasons, and where the winters are not particularly wet.  They thrive in Denver, and languish in Los Angeles.

    Blue Flame’s improbably lush flowers are offset by mid-green foliage. It does well in dry, gravelly gardens as a groundcover, border or pathway edging and is just right for a native garden focusing on the Southwest or a wide variety of American native species.

    Expect Blue Flame to grow up to 36 inches tall and 24 inches wide and to flower from summer to fall. Expect to fall in love with it; certainly butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds do. Luckily, deer avoid it.

    Thanks for the beautiful photo go to high-altitude plant expert Panayoti Kelaidis, senior curator and director of outreach at Denver Botanic Gardens.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia reptans

    (West Texas Grass Sage) Small clusters of true blue blossoms are spaced widely along the grass-like stems of this willowy West Texas mountain sage. Like so many American native plants, it is a key food source for honeybees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

    The scientific appellation repens refers to its creeping roots that spread like a mat-forming grass. This densely clumping, heat-resistant sage is spectactular during bloom time in late summer and fall. It is also cold tolerant and grows well in USDA Zones 5 to 9.

    As a stand-alone accent plant, West Texas Grass Sage is nothing short of spectacular. It also works well in perennial borders with its 4-foot-long flower spikes poking out amidst sages with denser foliage and floral displays.

    This sage grows best in full sun but is adaptable to afternoon shade. It prefers average watering based on local conditions, but also does well in dry gardens.
    10.50
  • Salvia texana

    (Texas Blue Sage) This is a cutie and a tough customer once established. It even grows well in caliche soils. Although Salvia texana typically blooms only during spring in Texas, it has a longer season stretching into fall up north.

    Flower colors are in the blue range and include purple and violet. Our strain could be described as having the violet of Scarlet O’Hara eyes as well as pronounced white beelines. Its deep green, oblong leaves and bracts are covered with silky hairs so long that they look like eyelashes.

    Although short at 12 to 24 inches tall, Texas Blue Sage is so charming that we like to crouch down to get a closer look. In Northern California, it thrives in full sun, but in Texas, it appreciates a bit of shade on the hottest days. This drought resistant Texas perennial does well in a dry garden, but also accepts regular watering in well drained soils.

    It can be temperamental outside its native range, so please take special care with this species.  Not a good plant for moist or humid parts of he country.

    Grow it as a groundcover or in borders, native plant gardens and prairie-type landscapes. We agree with the butterflies, hummingbirds and honeybees that visit this beauty: What’s not to love about it.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia x 'Celestial Blue'

    (Celestial Blue Sage) Fast growing and adaptable, this sage is a chance hybrid between Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii) -- also called California Blue Sage -- and California Rose Sage (Salvia pachyphylla). It may also be related to California Purple Sage (Salvia leucophylla).

    Celestial Blue has lovely royal blue flowers and purple bracts. Sun-loving, heat tolerant and drought resistant, it was discovered at Las Pilitas Native Plant Nursery in Southern California.

    This fragrant sage blooms and blooms throughout the heat of summer. Tolerant of everything but wet feet during summer, it withstands winter temperatures as low as 10 degrees F for a short time as well as lows in the 20-degree range for days. 

    Use this pretty plant in tough soils, on banks and in areas where watering is difficult or undesirable.  Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds love it, but deer leave it alone. This cultivar is one of the best Salvias for cut-flower arrangements.

    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

  • Salvia x 'Pozo Blue'

    (Grey Musk Sage) Lavender flowered, this is a fast-growing, chance hybrid of California Blue Sage (Salvia clevelandii) and California Purple Sage (Salvia leucophylla).

    Found at Las Pilitas Native Plant Nursery in Southern California, Pozo Blue is tolerant of almost any soil and tolerates both heat and drought. It usually begins its long bloomtime by showing off for a full month in spring.

    If you are looking for a tough, fragrant California native shrub, you've found it. Pozo Blue loves full sun and dry conditions.  Its well-branched stems are covered with richly scented leaves that are so fuzzy with hairs they look white. The hairs help the plant conserve moisture.

    Tolerant of everything but wet feet in the summer, this sage withstands temperatures as low as 5 degrees F for a short time and lows in the 20s for days. 

    Use Pozo Blue in tough soils, on banks and in areas where watering is difficult or undesirable. It is a tall, effective groundcover that also doubles as an excellent cut-flower garden choice. We display the flowers in our kitchen whenever Blue Pozo is in bloom.
    10.50

    OUT OF STOCK

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Salvias Down South: Southern California Butterfly Favorites

Salvias Down South: Southern California Butterfly Favorites


Category: Butterflies in the Garden
Posted: Feb 19, 2016 10:29 AM
Synopsis: Wildscaping a butterfly-friendly garden in Southern California is an act of kindness, especially toward imperiled species. Gardeners from Santa Barbara southward may want to group coastal sage and chaparral plants in their butterfly gardens, because those are among favorite sources of nectar for adult butterflies and host plants for caterpillars. Sages are popular nectar choices. Plants, such as Milkweeds and Impatiens, that work well both as nectar providers and caterpillar hosts are important additions.
New at FBTS: Rosy Drought-Resistant Butterfly Sun Mix

New at FBTS: Rosy Drought-Resistant Butterfly Sun Mix


Category: New at FBTS
Posted: Jun 30, 2015 03:58 PM
Synopsis: When gardening in a dry climate, especially during drought, careful selection of plants that tolerate low-water conditions is essential to success. Flowers by the Sea Farm and Online Nursery grows many drought-tolerant salvias and companion plants, including pre-planned plant collections to make garden planning easier and help you save money. The new Rosy Drought-Resistant Sun Mix combines the creamy pink flowers of Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) and Indian Milkweed (Asclepias eriocarpa) with the deep lavender rose of Sonoran Sunset® Anise Hyssop (Agastache cana 'Sinning').
Growing Habitat: Three Tough Milkweeds to Help Monarchs

Growing Habitat: Three Tough Milkweeds to Help Monarchs


Category: Butterflies in the Garden
Posted: Jun 11, 2015 06:12 PM
Synopsis: Flowers by the Sea Farm and Online Plant Nursery is serious about wildlife gardening and grows a number of milkweed species considered among the best for supporting Monarch butterflies. Three of the nursery's toughest, loveliest milkweeds are Indian Milkweed (Asclepias eriocarpa), Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) and Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). Read about the history of milkweeds and the reasons why Monarch butterflies are threatened due to a shortage of these tough yet lovely plants caused by herbicides.  Learn how herbicides and pesticides harm Monarchs and other milkweed-loving pollinators.
Sage Words About Wildlife: Threats to Monarch Butterfly Migration

Sage Words About Wildlife: Threats to Monarch Butterfly Migration


Category: Sage Words About Wildlife
Posted: Oct 31, 2013 08:22 AM
Synopsis:

Worries about declining numbers of the Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) emerged several times this past year in newspapers and on wildlife websites. Yet this isn't a new problem. Due to research by organizations such as Monarch Watch as well as tracking efforts by the Mexican government, we now know about the dramatic ups and downs the species has experienced in the past 20 years. We have a clearer picture of how Monarch migration is endangered. You can aid the miracle of migration by Monarchs and other butterflies by planting butterfly gardens containing both nectar and host plants. At Flowers by the Sea, we grow a wide range of butterfly favorites.

Fall Planting: 10 Top Butterfly and Hummingbird Favorites

Fall Planting: 10 Top Butterfly and Hummingbird Favorites


Category: Hummingbirds in the Garden
Posted: Oct 3, 2013 11:35 AM
Synopsis: Flowers that butterflies and hummingbirds favor are rich sources of nectar. But not all nectar-rich butterfly favorites are easy to access with long hummingbird beaks. Conversely, many flowers designed by nature to attract hummingbirds don't have the structure necessary for feeding butterflies or providing a perch. Here are ten Salvias and companion plants for backyard wildlife habitat that both butterflies and hummingbirds will enjoy.
Creating a Butterfly Garden with Delectable Salvias and Milkweeds

Creating a Butterfly Garden with Delectable Salvias and Milkweeds


Category: Butterflies in the Garden
Posted: Jul 2, 2013 04:06 PM
Synopsis: Creating a butterfly garden is like creating a teen-friendly home. You need to offer tasty snacks, healthy beverages, and comfortable accommodations that aren't too tidy. Like the teens that fill your basement and backyard, butterflies will keep coming back if you give them what they need. The variety of plants in your yard is the main reason why butterflies do or don’t visit. Salvias are among the popular plants for adult butterflies that love nectar.

 

Leaving the Light on for Butterflies at the Leaf Litter Motel & Wood Pile Lodge

Leaving the Light on for Butterflies at the Leaf Litter Motel & Wood Pile Lodge


Category: Butterflies in the Garden
Posted: Oct 31, 2012 09:30 AM
Synopsis: If you want to invite butterflies to lodge in your backyard overnight or during winter, building pretty butterfly houses won't succeed. They need all kinds of messy hangouts to ride out a rain storm, sleep through the night safely and endure winter in your garden. You can build a butterfly hostel without hammer and nails.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly

Fragrance as well as color attracts butterflies. However, they don't have noses. Instead, butterflies smell and taste with their antennas and feet. Here are some ways to attract them:


  1. Plant sages with platform-type blossoms. Unlike hummingbirds, butterflies can't hover while feeding. Sages with large lower lips and short nectar tubes, such as those in the Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii) and Mountain Sage (S. microphylla) group, give butterflies a place to stand while gathering nectar and pollen.
  2. Provide lots of color and sunlight. Butterflies need to stay warm and are attracted to a broad range of flower colors.
  3. Include native species. Insects and plants have co-evolved to meet each other's needs within their native regions. Butterflies prefer feeding on their local, native perennials and shrubs.
  4. Grow Caterpillar Host Plants. Butterflies need baby nurseries. Some are extremely picky about the plants on which they lay eggs, such as Monarchs, which need milkweeds (Asclepias spp.). The North American Butterfly Association is a good source of information about host plants.
  5. Don't use pesticides. They kill many beneficial insects, including butterflies.
  6. Keep your garden blooming. Plant a variety of Salvias based on bloom times as well as color and shape. Many flower from spring into fall. Others are prolific fountains of nectar for shorter seasons.
  7. Provide puddles. Butterflies stay hydrated by splashing in puddles located in sunny spots on the ground or raised up in shallow birdbaths. Include rocks for basking; butterflies need to dry and warm their wings.
  8. Plant butterfly gardens near shelter. Butterflies need to be able to flee into trees, shrubbery and woodpiles when predators appear and when windy or rainy weather occurs.
  9. Supplement plantings with rotten fruit. Some butterflies love the juice of rotting fruit even more than nectar.
  10. Read more. Our Everything Salvias Blog offers a number of articles about butterflies.

Hey, got any greens?

If you live in suburbs or rural areas where deer plunder gardens, Salvias (sages) can be part of your plan for discouraging these hungry visitors. Here are some tips.


  1. Mask smells that deer like with aromatic sages. Deer and other members of the Cervidae family, such as elk, mostly leave Salvias alone. One theory is that they don't like the fragrance or taste of sage chemicals. Strategically planting sages near vegetable gardens or fruit trees -- elixir to deer -- may prevent consumption.
  2. Grow hedges including Salvias. Prickly hedges, including hairy-leafed Salvias and exceptionally thorny roses, can discourage deer from entering your yard. They don't like the mouth-feel of those textures. Tall hedges also hide strawberry beds and other yummy plantings from view.
  3. Don't overplant one species. Grow a variety of Salvias in case local deer take an unexpected liking to one species of sage.
  4. Fence deer out. Install electric fences or 8-foot wood or metal fences around particularly vulnerable areas. Make sure electric fencing is turned on during the peak feeding seasons of early spring and late fall.
  5. Use motion-detection tools. Install outdoor lighting that is activated by movement.
  6. Let the dogs out. Deer are especially wary of large dogs.
  7. Surround and cover. Wrap tough plastic around the trunks of trees that have tasty bark and cover foliage with bird netting when trees and bushes are fruiting.
  8. Change yard ornaments periodically. Objects such as scarecrows, statuary and cordons of monofilament string with strips of shiny foil attached cause deer to shy away.
  9. Make safe choices. Research repellants you plan to use to make sure they aren't poisonous.
  10. Be flexible and ready to share a bit. There is no such thing as a completely deer-resistant garden.
It's dry out there

Xeric plants are excellent for water conservation. They grow well in dry gardens with little to no supplemental watering once established. In fact, overwatering can harm these plants, which are native to dry environments such as deserts and chaparral.

At Flowers by the Sea, we identify all xeric plants with a blue plant marker that warns against overwatering. Here are some tips for growing and understanding our xeric, or blue tag, plants:

1) In a humid region, you may find it difficult to grow plants native to semi-arid and arid environments. Yet xeric plants may succeed if you have a persistently dry area, such as under a roof overhang or in the shelter of a tree.

2) Xeric plants are excellent for locations far from garden hoses, such as along sidewalks -- areas often referred to as "hellstrips."

3) Shipping is hard on xeric plants, which suffer from confinement in small containers as well as boxes. You may see some mold, spots on leaves or withered foliage when they arrive. But xeric plants perk up with proper care while hardening off in partial shade before planting.

4) When amending soil before planting, remember that xeric plants not only need excellent drainage but also flower better in low fertility soil. Fertilize sparingly and use a mix with more phosphorous than nitrogen to encourage flowering and discourage lax overgrowth of foliage.

5) Organic matter, such as compost, is an excellent soil amendment for xeric plants, because it keeps their roots healthy by improving aeration and drainage.

6) When your xeric plants are established, water infrequently to encourage deep root growth and to avoid fungal problems. However, it's a good idea to gently spray dust off foliage about once a week.