The showy milkweed is a perennial, native to the western United States and Canada. The plants do best in full-sun, and are an excellent choice for gardeners looking for a low-maintenance, native plant that is very attractive to pollinators. Showy milkweed is known for its attractiveness to the monarch butterfly, which utilizes the plant for habitat, as well as a larval host plant and adult nectar source. The monarch butterfly is not alone in its use of the showy milkweed. Eleven other species of Lepidoptera are known to reproduce on milkweeds, and the flowers are frequented by many species of bees and hummingbirds. The flowers are an appealing addition to the garden from an aesthetic perspective as well, featuring large, dense umbels of pink star-shaped flowers from May through September . The stems can reach heights of up to five feet and have oppositely spaced, elongate leaves that are gray-green in color and covered in small hairs. At the end of the season, the flowers form interestingly shaped fruit pods packed with seeds whose silky white hairs are specially adapted for wind dispersal. Plants will spread by rhizomes.