Also known as sandhill or purple milkweed, pinewoods milkweed is a robust perennial wildflower, with large, thick leaves and a somewhat sprawling growth habit. Its distinct flowers are pinkish-white to pale purple and are born in terminal umbels. Individual flowers have reflexed corollas and an upright corona — a characteristic typical of milkweed flowers. Leaves are grayish-green with conspicuous pink to lavender veins; the leaf color darkens to almost purple as the plant matures. Leaves are clasping, elliptic to ovate, and can grow up to 6″ long and 3-4″ wide. Leaf arrangement is opposite. The plant’s many stems may be prostrate or ascending and grow in various directions. Like other milkweeds, it contains milky sap. Seeds are born in erect follicles that dry and split open as the fruit matures. Each seed is attached to a white silky pappus that catches the wind and aids in dispersal. Pinewoods milkweed occurs naturally in sandhills, scrub and dry, ruderal areas. It blooms in spring and summer, attracting many pollinators including wasps and butterflies. Pinewoods milkweed is a larval host plant of monarch and queen butterflies.
Growing Instructions for the Sandhill Milkweed
- Put a mixture of potting soil and sand or perlite into a pot with drainage holes in the base. The soil should be moist and well-drained. Grows best in light, rich, evenly moist, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates some light shade. Tolerates some soil dryness. 2. Sow the seeds on the soil. 3. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil. 4. Water the seeds. Keep the soil moist but not wet. 5. When the plants are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.