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Once upon a time, there was a beautiful Milkweed Spirit named Cinderella. She was tall and graceful and had fascinating rosy pink blossoms in early summer. In late summer, her blooms became interesting seedpods filled with fluffy parachutes that sailed away on the breeze. Everyone was in love with her—the hummingbirds, the butterflies, and every sort of pollinating creature. You will love her, too. This endearing Spirit will not only bring lively blooms to your landscape, but it also serves as a valuable host plant for our incredible native monarch butterflies. Help bring struggling monarch populations back to what they used to be with Cinderella Swamp Milkweed.
- Hardiness Zone: 3-9
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The story of the monarch butterfly is almost too amazing to be true. When it gets late in the year, most eastern monarchs migrate to an overwintering site in Mexico—despite the fact that none of them have ever been there, and they have to travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to get there! In spring, they head north again, making it as far as Texas or Oklahoma. Females lay eggs, and future generations carry on the journey from there. Milkweed is vitally important in the process, as it is the ONLY plant that monarch caterpillars can eat. Witness this miracle first-hand in your own backyard with Cinderella Swamp Milkweed!
Keep an eye out for monarch caterpillars on your Cinderella Swamp Milkweed. They’re covered in white, yellow, and black stripes and are unmistakable. Once a cat reaches full size, it will crawl away from its food source and begin the next stage of its life. Like a pumpkin turning into a fancy carriage, the chubby caterpillar will turn into a jade-green chrysalis with metallic gold spangles. Soon—somehow—a perfect monarch butterfly will emerge.
How to Grow
Grow Cinderella Swamp Milkweed in full sun for best results and irrigate regularly. Do not let it dry out. Plants will be tall and lush in wet soil, a bit shorter and more compact in average conditions. One problem that may affect Cinderella is aphids feeding on the new growth. Simply knock them off with a jet of water from the hose. Do not use pesticides on or near this monarch butterfly host plant! Cut plants back in late fall or any time before new growth appears in the spring. Swamp Milkweed is late to emerge, and it’s a good idea to mark its location before it goes dormant for the winter, so you remember where it is.
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