Milkweed (Asclepias) lifespan

Chip Taylor chip at
Wed Jun 4 18:08:55 EDT 1997

Asclepias incarnata is relatively short lived. Most plants peak in the
second or third year and then decline with few persisting for 4-5 years.
Tuberosa can persist as a perennial for long periods (10's of years?) in
the wild but often declines in gardens after a few years as well. Some
other species of Asclepias appear to be very long lived, eg. the endangered
A.meadii, which may live 100 plus years. For photos of some common
milkweeds see the Monarch Watch web site We have seeds of several species
including curassavica and "silky gold" curassavica.  Chip

>Approximately 5 years ago I planted a section of my butterfly garden
>in Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed) and another section in
>Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed). Both sections limped through
>their first year and had banner blooms in their 2nd and 3rd years. By
>the 4th year they were fading and now this summer I have no incarnata
>and a 'slim picking' of tuberosa.
>I have not read anywhere that this is normal for these plants to be
>short-lived. Other plants planted at the same time have continued to
>thrive: monarda, coneflower, rudbeckia, liatris, asters, etc. I
>believe tuberosa doesn't like wet roots in the winter but I would have
>thought that the incarnata a small distance away (downhill) would
>I would appreciate hearing about other's experiences with these plants
>as I plan to keep them even if I must grow some from seed every 2-3
>PS: anyone have a source of seed for Asclepias curassavica?
>Ron Lane
>RL7329 at
>Central NJ, USA

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