Asclepias syriaca - Common Milkweed
The hallmark species of an effective butterfly garden. The common milkweed has nectar-rich flowers and is a critical species for the monarch butterfly life cycle.
The milkweed family (Asclepias) is the only vegetation that can act as a host plant for the monarch butterfly. Here at the farm, the common milkweed is the most frequently selected member of the milkweed family by adult females for laying their eggs. Monarch caterpillars have a particular interest in younger plants with softer, smaller leaves.
Aesthetically, the milkweed boasts of domed, slightly drooping umbels of fragrant pinkish-purple flowers. The flowers are a great nectar source for many pollinators, thus cementing its importance in the a successful butterfly garden with even greater emphasis. It’s functional, it’s beautiful and it’s a great host!
Height : 2 – 3 feet (60-90cm) Spread : 1-3 feet (30-90cm)
Bloom Period : June – August
Light : Full Sun
Water: Medium to Dry
Soil : Sand, loam, clay
Zone : 3 to 9
Tolerate : Deer, drought, erosion, dry soil
Native Habitat: Fields, open woods and corridors
Landscape Uses : Butterfly gardens, pollinator gardens, wet meadows and naturalized areas
Monarch Caterpillar Host Plant: Yes