General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Wet Mesic
Mesic
Dry Mesic
Dry
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9b
Plant Height: 24 - 48 inches
Plant Spread: 12 - 18 inches
Fruit: Showy
Flowers: Showy
Fragrant
Flower Color: Pink
Purple
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Late spring or early summer
Summer
Underground structures: Rhizome
Uses: Vegetable
Will Naturalize
Edible Parts: Stem
Fruit
Flowers
Eating Methods: Cooked
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Butterflies
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Rabbit Resistant
Humidity tolerant
Drought tolerant
Toxicity: Leaves are poisonous
Roots are poisonous
Propagation: Seeds: Provide light
Stratify seeds: 1 month cold moist treatment
Suitable for wintersowing
Sow in situ
Propagation: Other methods: Division
Pollinators: Wasps
Moths and Butterflies
Flies
Bees
Containers: Not suitable for containers

Image
Common names
  • Common Milkweed
  • Milkweed
  • Algodoncilla
  • Common Silkweed
  • Silk Grass
  • Silky Swallow Wort
  • Virginian Silk
  • Seidenp Flanze
Botanical names
  • Accepted: Asclepias syriaca
  • Synonym: Asclepias kansana

Photo Gallery
Location: Apple Valley MN
Date: 2020-04-26
Location: My garden in eastern Massachusetts
Date: 2017-11-04
  • Uploaded by LCL
Location: Kentucky
Date: 2022-08-22
Location: Apple Valley MN
Date: 23 October 2022
Alien
Location:  Indiana  zone 5
Date: 2015-08-29
pod covered with milkweed bug (oncopeltus fasciatus)
Location: Indiana  Zone 5
Date: June
Location: Athol, MA
Date: 2020-10-08
Location: Apple Valley MN
Date: 07 Nov, 2021

Date: 2014-06-07
Location: My garden in Bark River, MI
Date: 2010-06-26
Monarch caterpillar on milkweed leaf
Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada - near Lake Ontario, zone 6a
Date: 2013-06-23
Location: My Gardens
Date: October 14, 2014
Saving Seeds For Hand Planting
Location: Gallup Park, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Date: 2010-09-02
Insect metamorphosis is amazing.  Large milkweed bugs, Oncopeltus
Location: Illinois, US
Date: 2017-06-27
Location: My Yard
Date: 2019-06-15
#pollination
Location: Apple Valley MN
Date: 28 October 2021
Beautiful arrangement of the seeds
Location: Apple Valley MN
Date: 2017-06-26
Location: Apple Valley MN
Date: 2017-07-02
Asclepias syriaca
Location: Kensington Metro Park, Milford, Michigan
Date: 2013-07-06
Caterpillar of a monarch butterfly on common milkweed, its primar
Location: Illinois, US
Date: 2017-06-27
Location: Apple Valley MN
Date: 2019-11-11
Getting ready for takeoff!
Location: Fairfax, Virginia (May 2022)
Date: 2022-05-15
Location: Ontario, Canada
Date: 2021-06-23
Location: Ontario, Canada
Date: 2021-06-23
Location: Miami County, Indiana
Date: July 6, 2006
Close Up View
Location: Lake Red Rock, Knoxville, IA
Date: 2012-06-05
Close-up of bloom, complete with a little red beetle.
Location: Athol, MA
Date: 2020-10-08
Location: Country Road Side
Date: October 14, 2015
Brittle Pod Revealing Interior Seeds
Location: Vaughan, ON, Canada
Date: 2012-12-25
Location: My Northeastern Indiana Gardens - Zone 5b
Date: 2010-07-07
Location: Maine
Date: 2023-07-03
Location: Maine
Date: 2023-07-03
Location: Maine
Date: 2023-07-03
Location: Athol, MA
Date: 2020-11-04
The silk is so soft and beautiful when catching the sun.
Location: Wilmington, Delaware USA
Date: 6/13/2021
Sweetly scented and attractive to bumblebees.
Location: Athol, MA
Date: 2020-11-04
The silk forms bubbles just before detaching. Birds use it in the
Location: Athol, MA
Date: 2020-10-08
Location: Miami County, Indiana
Date: July 6, 2006
Very Close View
Location: Knoxville, IA
Date: 2012-06-11
Shows both unopened buds, and blooms just beginning to open.
Location: County Farm Park, Washtenaw County, Michigan
Date: 2017-09-26
Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) with a large hatch of 'large
Location: Neighboring Farm
Date: October 14, 2014
Seeds Leaving Pod By Wind Power
Location: Apple Valley MN
Date: 02 January 2021

Date: 2021-09-18
Location: Maine
Date: 2023-07-03
Location:  My garden
Date: 2015-05-22
 Sprouting seeds from storage after stratification
Location: Apple Valley MN
Date: 2023-09-02

Courtesy Outsidepride
  • Uploaded by vic
Location: Wilmington, Delaware USA
Date: 2020-06-17
Location: Fairfax, Virginia (Outdoors)

Photo Courtesy of Prairie Nursery. Used with Permission
  • Uploaded by Joy
Location: Tennessee
Date: 2013-10-22
Location: Ontario, Canada
Date: October
Location: Fairfax, VA | July, 2022
Date: 2022-07-04
Location: Fairfax VA
Date: 2022-06-25
Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada - near Lake Ontario, zone 6a
Date: 2013-06-20
Location: Ontario, Canada
Date: 2021-06-23
Location: West Valley City, UT
Date: 2012-07-07
Developing seedpod.
Uploaded by jmorth
Location: Loki Schmidt Garten - Botanischer Garten der Universität Hamburg
Date: 2022-09-13
Location: garden of botanist Robert R. Kowal in Madison, Wisconsin
Date: June 25, 2012
photo by James Steakley
Location: Loki Schmidt Garten - Botanischer Garten der Universität Hamburg
Location: IL
Date: 2011-08-25
Location: Fairfax, VA | September 2022
Location: Pipestone National Monument
Date: 2013-07-04
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2014-09-27
Location: Apple Valley MN
Date: 2018-06-12
Common Milkweed budding out.
Uploaded by Hamwild
Location: Wayne, Pennsylvania
Date: 2017-06-24
milkweeds planted in a butterfly garden

Photo courtesy of Annie's Annuals and Perennials

Photo courtesy of Annie's Annuals and Perennials
Location: Chicago
Date: 2010-06-26
Uploaded by Hamwild
Uploaded by sedumzz
Location: Chicago
Date: Summer
Surprisingly fragrant
Location: Wilmington, Delaware USA
Date: 2020-06-17
Location: Brownstown Pennsylvania
Date: 2016-06-18
Location: IL
Date: 2014-06-23

By Brocken Inaglory (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecomm
Location: Tennessee
Date: 2013-10-22
Location: Botanical Garden of the University of Münster
Location: Botanical Garden of the University of Münster

Date: 2002-06-27
(http://bioimages.vanderbilt.edu/) Photo © by Steven J. Baskauf
Location: Botanical Garden of the University of Münster
Location: Indiana  Zone 5
Date: June
Location: Pipestone National Monument
Date: 2013-07-04
Location: Pipestone National Monument
Date: 2013-07-04
Location: Botanical Garden Berlin
Date: 2017-10-20
Location: West Valley City, UT
Date: 2017-06-22
Location: MN
Date: August 2016
Location: Illinois, US
Date: 2017-05-12
Location: Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2011-08-10
a wild patch at the edge of a corn field
Location: Wayne, Pennsylvania
Date: 2017-06-24
fragrant flower clusters in butterfly garden
Location: Athol, MA
Date: 2017-08-09
Location: Stroud Land Preserve in southeast PA
Date: 2012-07-22
field with milkweeds
Location: Skaneateles Conservation Area
photo credit: R. A. Nonenmacher
Location: Indiana  Zone 5
Date: late fall

Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield
Location: Vienna-Floridsdorf, Marchfeld canal
Date: July
credit: Stefan Lefnaer
Uploaded by keithp2012
Location: Ghent University Botanical Garden, Belgium
Date: 2015-08-31
Location: Clarence, IL
Date: 2012-06-11
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2014-09-27
Location: Fairfax, Virginia (Outdoors)
Location: Wayne, Pennsylvania
Date: 2017-06-24
milkweeds planted in a butterfly garden
Location: Valley Forge Park near Norristown, PA
Date: 2012-07-22
pods
Uploaded by sedumzz
Location: Valley Forge Park near Norristown, PA
Date: 2014-01-30
dry pod and seeds
Location: Skaneateles Conservation Area
photo credit: R. A. Nonenmacher

Courtesy Crownsville Nursery
  • Uploaded by vic
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Comments:
  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Mar 4, 2018 6:57 PM concerning plant:
    The Common Milkweed is one of the native plants that does well in our meadows of eastern North America that have become more European in species composition than American after disturbance and settlement. It is a very common plant with a native range from New Brunswick to Saskatchewan down into Georgia over into Kansas. It is the principle milkweed species used by the Monarch Butterfly for the development of its caterpillars. It is sold by native plant nurseries for that purpose. I planted several that I bought from a native plant nursery here in southeast Pennsylvania about 3 years ago into a butterfly garden. They have done very well and so far have attracted adult Monarchs for pollination; I haven't found caterpillars yet. The plant does self-sow a lot and a number of other plants have come up in other parts of the garden. It develops a big taproot and is very hard to transplant. I've had to take some out. It is a big, strong, reliable perennial that needs some management.
  • Posted by Weedwhacker (Ford River Twp, Michigan UP - Zone 4b) on Feb 28, 2015 11:58 PM concerning plant:
    A little aggressive in a cultivated area (I transplanted a few milkweed plants from the woods edge to my perennial garden), but easy to pull out if there are too many and well worth the trouble for the benefit to butterflies and bees. Milkweed is the sole host plant for Monarch butterflies, as well as Milkweed Tussock Moths, and crucial to their survival. The flowers are also fragrant, and the pods can add interest to dried flower arrangements. Many types of insects visit the flowers for the nectar.
  • Posted by Catmint20906 (PNW WA half hour south of Olympia - Zone 8a) on Aug 22, 2014 7:50 PM concerning plant:
    Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is a larval host plant for the Monarch butterfly. It is a key Monarch Way Station plant, and an excellent source of nectar for late season butterflies and moths. Common Milkweed also has special value to native, bumble, and honey bees, and supports conservation biological control by attracting beneficial insects to the garden.

    Common Milkweed does well in medium to dry soils in full sun. Remove the seed pods before they split open in order to reduce self-seeding.
  • Posted by Cyclaminist (Minneapolis, Minnesota - Zone 5a) on May 5, 2016 11:39 PM concerning plant:
    Very aggressive. Sends out underground runners (rhizomes), often several feet long, that start new stems. If you simply pull up the stems, the plant will often sprout several new stems from a buried portion of the stem (if you didn't manage to cut all of it off down to the rhizome), or, more slowly, from the rhizome. Stems often come up in lawns, between cracks in a paved walkway, or other inconvenient places. You can sometimes see where a buried rhizome is by the line of stems that it sends up. I haven't had much luck digging up rhizomes. They tend to be several inches deep, and they're pretty easy to snap off, preventing you from pulling up the whole length of them.

    It's admirable to plant food for monarchs, but it's better to choose species that stay in a clump, like swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa), poke milkweed (Asclepias exaltata), tall green milkweed (Asclepias hirtella), or spider milkweed (Asclepias viridis). I'm pretty sure all these are clump-forming, and each of them has flower colors, sizes, and soil moisture and sun preferences.

    Other rhizomatous milkweeds include showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa), purple milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens), Sullivant's milkweed (Asclepias sullivantii), and whorled milkweed (Asclepias verticillata). Some of these may spread a little slower than common milkweed. I think the first three are also wonderfully fragrant like common milkweed, but I have yet to try them. Whorled milkweed is much shorter and slenderer, and the flowers are so fascinatingly intricate that I love it even though it spreads.
  • Posted by robertduval14 (Milford, New Hampshire - Zone 5b) on Mar 11, 2013 9:21 PM concerning plant:
    A host plant for Monarch Butterflies. Adult butterflies will lay their eggs on the underside of leaves and the caterpillars, once hatched, will happily consume the leaves of the plant until they reach a large enough size to pupate.
  • Posted by Cyclaminist (Minneapolis, Minnesota - Zone 5a) on May 20, 2016 9:49 AM concerning plant:
    Most of the plant is bitter and poisonous, but according to several sites, the young shoots are edible. I've eaten them fresh several times, and they tasted good, not bitter at all. But it's generally recommended that they be boiled before you eat them. I might have poisoned myself, though I didn't notice any ill effects. But anyway, eating the young shoots is one way to control the plant if you've got it sprouting in inconvenient places.
  • Posted by Skiekitty (Denver Metro - Zone 5a) on Apr 14, 2014 8:51 AM concerning plant:
    This is a massive weed in my area. Although the seed pods look really cool, they make a big mess when they "explode." Have never seen butterflies visit it.
  • Posted by variegatagal (Denton County, TX - Zone 8a) on Apr 26, 2022 10:21 AM concerning plant:
    Invasive! Spreads via rhizomes and has escaped the confines of a flower bed and began sprouting in decomposed granite paths surround the bed. No hope of pulling the whole forest out as the shoots snap off easily from the roots. Sadly I've never seen mine flower in the 3 years I've been growing it (starts from seed easily). The only plus I've experienced is that I've grown tomatoes right next to them and the milkweed kept entire colonies of aphids off neighboring plants.
  • Posted by Chillybean (Iowa - Zone 5a) on Oct 30, 2015 6:27 PM concerning plant:
    This milkweed does not seem to be a favorite for some people, but I find the flowers as interesting as any other milkweed. We've had some growing in our pasture ever since we stopped mowing it, but I also find some closer to the house. An interesting location is under what I believe is a Scots pine. It's been there the last two years, but it still has not bloomed. It still provides food for the insects, so I am not overly concerned.

    Because I was discouraged by earlier failed attempts to grow other types of Milkweed, I ordered several plugs of the Common Milkweed to put near the house. I placed some in full sun and others in part shade. Then, after I got these, my other milkweeds thrived.

    Because of its toxicity, mammals will avoid eating this plant. The only aphid I have seen on the Common (or any other) Milkweed is the Oleander Aphid. This is not a native species. It was accidentally introduced with a shipment of the Oleander shrubs from the Mediterranean area.
Plant Events from our members
MrsBinWY On January 20, 2019 Seeds sown
WS 16 seeds from kytnbabe's 2017G in milk jug (gave the seedlings to Joyce)
paleohunter On June 19, 2022 Potted up
paleohunter On April 10, 2022 Seeds sown
paleohunter On May 5, 2021 Transplanted
paleohunter On March 13, 2021 Seeds sown
dnrevel On November 1, 2022 Harvested
Harvesting seed pods for seed exchange
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