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Asclepias syriaca

Common milkweed

When most people think of milkweed, this is the one that comes to mind. Fragrant flowers bloom on tall, sturdy stems in mid-summer. Monarch butterflies need milkweed to because it is the only plant their caterpillars can eat. This is an easy perennial to grow in full sun. Best planted in an area where it has room to spread. Lovely planted with ornamental grasses. They also attract native bees and a wide variety of other butterflies including; buckeyes, eastern tiger swallowtails, fritillaries, hairstreaks, painted lady butterflies, red admirals, spicebush swallowtails and queens. They also attract humming birds and hummingbird moths.

Benefits

  • A nectar source for many butterflies, especially Monarchs
  • Monarchs only lay their eggs on milkweed plants
  • Seed pods are used in dried flower arrangements
  • Easy to grow, drought tolerant once established
  • Deer and rabbit resistant

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Drought tolerant once established. Perfect for butterfly gardens, prairies and natural settings. Give them plenty of room, they will spread.


Height
3-4 ft

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Spread
10-12 in

USDA Hardiness Zone 3-9

Native Range

Found in old fields, roadsides, and disturbed sites.

Native Trivia

Monarch caterpillars can only eat the leaves from milkweed plants. They are a voracious eaters, that can consume an entire milkweed leaf in less than five minutes. They will gain about 2700 times their original weight before they turn into butterflies.

Characteristics & Attributes

Sun
Beneficial insects
Butterflies
Deer Resistant
Low Water Use
Plan Sub Group
Medium to Tall Perennials
Soil
Well-drained
Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
Average
Dry
Attracts Wildlife
Hummingbirds
Bloom Time
Late Spring / Early Summer
Summer
Critter Resistance
Rabbit Resistant
Habitat Collection
Butterfly
Native Habitat
Grassland
Foliage Color
Light Green
Uses
Border
Cut or dried flower
Drought tolerant
Fragrant
Meadow
Naturalizes
Ornamental fruit
Native to
Alabama
Arkansas
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Georgia
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Vermont
Virginia
West Virginia
Wisconsin