Swamp Milkweed, the Pollinator Seducer!

There is much talk about getting more milkweed plants in our landscapes to support the monarch population. But milkweed supports and offers much to other pollinators as well. In this post, I am highlighting the Swamp or Marsh Milkweed plant (Asclepias incarnata). Don’t get me wrong. Adult monarchs are all about this plant and have been busy going after its nectar supply. The monarch caterpillars have been eating the leaves, evidence the adults have been laying their eggs on this plant as well. But Swamp Milkweed is a favorite of other pollinators such as moths, Red Admiral and Great Spangled Fritillary butterflies, skippers, hairstreaks, sulphurs and whites, beetles, oodles of bees, wasps, flies, and also others who prey on these pollinators, such as mantises. Hummingbirds are frequent visitors of this milkweed, possibly for nectar and insects. Some of these pollinators are predators of each other. Swamp Milkweed thrives in wet to average soil conditions, sunny to light shade. It has a “landing-pad” flowerhead arrangement, providing an easy way for pollinators of all shapes and sizes to nectar and gather pollen. Plants get to about 4-5 feet tall and a foot wide with pink flowers atop. Put some of this in your landscape and, with a little patience, watch for an uptick in life buzzing around your yard.

About the author