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Swan Plant Milkweed, Tennis Ball Bush
Gomphocarpus fruticosus

Family: Apocynaceae (a-pos-ih-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Gomphocarpus (gom-fo-KAR-pus) (Info)
Species: fruticosus (froo-tih-KOH-sus) (Info)
Synonym:Asclepias fruticosa

Category:

Shrubs

Height:

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

Spacing:

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Cream/Tan

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Foliage:

Deciduous

Other details:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Tempe, Arizona

North Little Rock, Arkansas

Carlsbad, California

Long Beach, California

San Diego, California

Solana Beach, California

Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Barbourville, Kentucky

New Milford, New Jersey

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Austin, Texas (2 reports)

Alexandria, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

4
positives
0
neutrals
0
negatives
RatingContent
Positive

On Jul 20, 2014, Alittlepatchofheaven from Port Saint Lucie, FL wrote:

This is an amazing plant and I can not figure out why it is not available in nurseries! It has deep roots and petite white/purple flowers! It grows quite tall (mine are as tall as 5 feet), likes full sun, tolerates FL heat, and is relatively drought tolerant. I have a garden just for monarchs and this is my favorite milkweed! Monarchs and Queens love to lay eggs on the leaves and munch on it! So much that I have not had any of the seed pods develop yet. I just ordered more seeds online because I want more of this milkweed!!!!

I started my plants from seed from one of my generous neighbors and it was very easy. I have had them for about 18 months.

Positive

On Oct 23, 2012, fulxmom from Long Beach, CA wrote:

So glad to find this picture. I have this plant and it had been mislabeld as Swamp Milkweed. The ball shaped seed pods create lots of interest as people walk past my front yard. I did let it get a little too tall but need to wait til this growing season is over to begin a cut-back. Grows quickly

Positive

On Sep 18, 2006, CaptMicha from Brookeville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

So far, so VERY good.

It seemed that every single seed that touched the soil germinated. I don't think I lost any seedlings to drying out, dampening off, repotting, etc.

I hope these hardy little plants will survive the winter in a sunny window so I'll have more to comment on next year.

*Note* Pinch the tops otherwise they'll grow very tall without many branches.

Positive

On Jun 12, 2002, Ulrich from Manhattan Beach, CA (Zone 11) wrote:

Easily raised form seed. Matures within two years. Fruits are about 2.5 inches diameter and light as air.