The Asclepias Incarnata (Rose Milkweed) Full Care Guide

The Rose Milkweed, otherwise known as the Asclepias Incarnata or Swamp Milkweed, Pink Milkweed, is a somewhat well known perennial plant native to the Northeast, Rocky Mountains, Southeast, Pacific Northwest, and the Southwest of the United States.

Best known for its low maintenance and fast growth, this perennial will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

This is why all the topics you need to know in order to achieve this will be covered in this Rose Milkweed Care Guide. Ready? Let’s go!

In order to take proper care of your Rose Milkweed you’ll need to keep in mind the following guidelines:

  • Water: The Rose Milkweed grows best with regular watering to keep the soil moist during the dry season. Reduce watering once the plant is established.
  • Light: Keep your Asclepias Incarnata in an environment where it can receive full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Rose Milkweed in soil moist but with well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of loam and clay.

And that’s practically it! If you keep these three factors in check, your Rose Milkweed will likely have all it needs for it to survive and even thrive.

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Rose Milkweed belongs to the Apocynaceae family, the genus Asclepias and the species Incarnata, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Asclepias Incarnata (as-KLE-pee-us in-kar-NAH-tuh).

As with other Asclepias’s, the Rose Milkweed is a herbaceous plant, which means it will die back to the ground every year. 

Growing Region

The Rose Milkweed is a plant native to Canada and the United States. This is why the Asclepias Incarnata is used to growing in specific regions such as the states in the Northeast, Rocky Mountains, Southeast, Pacific Northwest, and the Southwest of the United States.

As a rule of thumb, we recommend to always keep in mind your plants’ native region and environment, since these are the conditions that your Rose Milkweed is most accustomed to, thus where it can most favorably.

With this in mind, the Asclepias Incarnata will be most used to regions where the plant hardiness level falls between 3b, 3a, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a.

Growth and Size


In terms of size and growth, the Rose Milkweed is a relatively fast grower, which makes things tricky for any plant enthusiast.


But what exactly does this mean for your Rose Milkweed? How large a pot should you consider, how tall, how wide can it get? Let’s jump in…

The Asclepias Incarnata can grow up to 4′ – 5′ (120cm – 150cm) in 4′ – 5′ (120cm – 150cm) and 2′ – 3′ (60cm – 90cm) in 2′ – 3′ (60cm – 90cm).

These dimensions make the Rose Milkweed a relatively medium perennial compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 36″ (90cm) free so the Rose Milkweed can spread to its best extent.


In terms of watering, the Rose Milkweed is a fairly complicated plant to take care of. This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Asclepias Incarnata grows best with regular watering to keep the soil moist during the dry season. Reduce watering once the plant is established.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

As a rule of thumb, you can keep your Rose Milkweed in soil with poorly draining, to moist but well-draining, to even moisture-retentive characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage, moist, and occasionally wet properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times

However, in our experience, the best solution to knowing the right amount of water for your Rose Milkweed is with the ‘thumb’ technique. Basically, you insert your finger into the soil, and based if you feel the soil moist or dry, you determine if it needs any water, which is the most appropriate way to go about watering your leafy friend.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Rose Milkweed prefers to have soil with good drainage, moist, and occasionally wet properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of loam and clay.

This is why most experts agree that the Rose Milkweed requires soil with clay, high organic matter, and loam (silt), which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably alkaline, acid or neutral soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Rose Milkweed requires full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this perennial will do well as long as you keep it in full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Asclepias Incarnata in little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to full and direct sun (more 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).


Being a herbaceous plant, the Rose Milkweed will die back to the ground every year. But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the summer (mid, late).


You can expect your Rose Milkweed to flower around the summer months from July to September (summer).

In particular, this perennial is well known for its fragrant, flowers for cutting and showy flowers around the plant enthusiast community.

The Rose Milkweed produces some beautiful pink and white flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Rose Milkweed have a beautiful green color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a simple arrangement with a opposite organization in its leaves. You can expect the leaves from your Asclepias Incarnata to be around (3-6 inches) in size.

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Rose Milkweed is well known for being able to attract hummingbirds and butterflies, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.

Additionally, it has a special tolerance for clay soil, wet soil and animals like deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Asclepias Incarnata will be fine.


Now, let’s talk garden and how your Rose Milkweed will look best in it.

Most Asclepias Incarnata owners agree that this perennial will look great in most cottage and rustic gardens of all types. Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of informal and cottage styles. 

In particular, the Rose Milkweed’s best location within your garden is in beds and borders, and in ponds and streams, others use it for landscaping in a water garden, very wet areas, urban garden, mass planting, cutting garden, container, border, or a wildlife garden.

Companion Plants

Rose Milkweed species do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Monarda, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Hemerocallis will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!


And we’ve come to an end. Fortunately, that’s everything you need to know about your Rose Milkweed to keep it safe and sound in your garden or home. Enjoy planting!

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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