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Swan Plant Gomphocarpus physocarpa

Previously known as:

  • Asclepias physocarpa
Phonetic Spelling
gom-fo-KAR-pus fy-so-KAR-puh
Description

Ballon Plant is a shrubby herbaceous perennial that is native to South Africa in the milkweed family. It is a perennial in zones 8-10 but can be grown as an annual elsewhere. The white flowers are not particularly showy and occur in drooping clusters. They are only pollinated by vespid wasps and hornets. The follicles are the most ornamental feature. They are soft inflated round yellowish-green seed pods that mature to release seeds with silky tufts in fall.

Plant in moderately moist well-drained sandy soil in full sun. Drought and heat tolerant. Use in the back of the annual garden or in containers. The stems and follicles are often used in floral arrangements.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#drought tolerant#showy fruits#deer resistant#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#drought tolerant#showy fruits#deer resistant#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Gomphocarpus
    Species:
    physocarpa
    Family:
    Apocynaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southern Africa
    Wildlife Value:
    Host plant for Danaus butterflies, including the monarch butterfly. Flowers attract butterflies.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 4 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Vase
  • Cultural Conditions:
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Fruit Type:
    Follicle
    Fruit Description:
    Round greenish-yellow follicle up to 3 inches across covered with hair-like spines. Matures to tan and releases seeds with silky tufts.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Description:
    Pendulous clusters of small, waxy white with pink flowers with a faint vanilla scent are borne in leaf axils primarily in summer. Each flower is about ½ inch across, with five strongly reflexed petals.
  • Leaves:
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are light green, linear to lanceolate and 3 to 4 inches long and .4 inch wide.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses