Tall Green Milkweed (Asclepias hirtella) Quick Facts:
Host and nectar plant to Monarch Butterflies
Native in Central US
Hardy in zones 4-9
Prefers full sun, may tolerate partial shade
Needs well-drained soil, dry to medium moisture
White flowers with green tinges bloom mid summer
Grows up to 4 feet tall
Space 1 1/2 – 2 feet apart
Seeds need 30 day cold stratification or sow in fall/winter
Bursting with Floral Fireworks
With more blossoms per plant than most of the milkweeds, Tall Green Milkweed plants boast 2-10 umbels (floral clusters) per stem–and each of these umbels is made of 30-100 green-tinged white flowers. Each umbel is an extravagant, large (2 inches or so) globe. Tinges of deep purple toward the tips of each small flower in the orb enhance the “starburst” effect.
MId-summer (June, July, and August) is when these showstoppers emerge, and monarchs are among the butterfly varieties that have been spotted sipping nectar from the blossoms.
The long, lance-shaped leaves (up to 6 inches long, but no more than a half-inch across) further enhance the Tall Green Milkweed and they beckon monarchs to lay eggs on them, allowing emerging caterpillars to eat their fill of the bountiful foliage.
Uncommonly Lovely and Uncommon
The Tall Green Milkweed plant, with its elegant, elongated (up to four feet tall) ways will be a star wherever it appears–perhaps in the back of your garden bed? It is hardy in USDA zones 4-9 and although native in the central/eastern US and eastern Canada, is no longer considered “common” in most of its natural home. It loves full sun and hot, dry soil (think sandy or gravelly loam) best, but will also perform in well-drained moist areas and partial shade.
Look for this sun-lover in abandoned fields and near old country roads and unused railroad rights-of-way. If you’re lucky enough to spot this milkweed, please don’t transplant it. A long, vigorous tap root that makes the Tall Green Milkweed drought tolerant also makes the move likely to be too stressful for success. The plant self-seeds to a degree, but is not considered invasive. Space the plants 18-24 inches apart to allow for its 2-3-foot spread.
The Tall Green Milkweed Beckoning Butterflies Beautifully
With its enviable flower to plant ratio and gorgeous globes of blossoming beauty, the Tall Green Milkweed is certainly worthy of inclusion in your butterfly garden. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to acquire some of these graceful gems today!