Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: 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

8 members have or want this plant for trade.


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

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

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer


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

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

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

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to view:

By kennedyh
Thumbnail #1 of Gomphocarpus fruticosus by kennedyh

By kennedyh
Thumbnail #2 of Gomphocarpus fruticosus by kennedyh

By Ulrich
Thumbnail #3 of Gomphocarpus fruticosus by Ulrich

By kennedyh
Thumbnail #4 of Gomphocarpus fruticosus by kennedyh

By planter64
Thumbnail #5 of Gomphocarpus fruticosus by planter64

By merrin
Thumbnail #6 of Gomphocarpus fruticosus by merrin

By CaptMicha
Thumbnail #7 of Gomphocarpus fruticosus by CaptMicha

There are a total of 10 photos.
Click here to view them all!


4 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Alittlepatchofheaven 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 fulxmom 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 CaptMicha 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 Ulrich 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.


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

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