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Audubon® Swamp Milkweed
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You probably know about the link between milkweed and monarch butterflies, but did you know milkweed is good for birds, too? Swamp Milkweed is one garden-worthy species that serves our feathered friends in important ways. This stately native Spirit attracts many insects—not just monarchs—that in turn attract insectivorous birds. Swamp Milkweed in particular draws aphids, which is not at all a bad thing if you’re a warbler, finch, sparrow, or chickadee! In addition, hummingbirds may sip from the flowers, and all sorts of birds use the downy-soft “silk” to line their nests. A boon to wildlife on six legs AND on two!
May Benefit & Attract: Chickadees & titmice, orioles, sparrows, vireos, waxwings, wood warblers, and wrens.
Take Birds Under Your Wing
New! Introducing our bird-friendly collection of Audubon® Native Plants & Trees
- Better for Birds, 100% Neonic-Free
- Not Available in non-native regions, states or counties (see Native Regions map)
Bower & Branch is proud to grow Audubon® Native Plants for Birds in partnership with the National Audubon Society to help birds and other wildlife thrive.
- The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow
- This bird-friendly native plant provides food and shelter for local and migrating birds and other wildlife
- Your purchase and planting of this native flora directly supports Audubon’s conservation mission and impact
- Learn how you can help birds in your home and community through Audubon’s Plants for Birds program
- Audubon Native Plants & Trees are free of neonicotinoids and exclusively grown by Bower & Branch
Audubon® is a licensed and registered trademark of the National Audubon Society. All rights reserved.
- Hardiness Zone: 3-9
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Milkweed was a hero in World War II. When Japan occupied the Indonesian island of Java, the Allies lost their access to tropical Kapok Trees, which provided the buoyant stuffing for life preservers. Resourceful engineers looked to the Common Milkweed and the Swamp Milkweed instead, which produce little silky floss parachutes to carry their seeds through the air. The floss served as an excellent substitute for Kapok fibers, and American schoolchildren were recruited to gather Milkweed pods for the war effort. It is estimated that 11 million pounds of Milkweed were gathered for the troops!
As you may have guessed by the name, Swamp Milkweed enjoys a site where it can receive plenty of moisture. It’s perfect for a rain garden or for that low spot in your yard that always seems to stay soggy. However, it does just fine in regular garden conditions, too.
How to Grow
Grow 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 Swamp Milkweed 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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