Common Milkweed - Asclepias syriaca
Common Milkweed is a gorgeous native flower that is the sole source of food for the Monarch butteries. The butterflies lay their eggs exclusively on Milkweed plants, creating an opportunity for us to plant Monarch habitat!
If you live in California, we suggest the native Narrowleaf Milkweed.
We recommend planting only milkweed plant that is native to your area. Each region is going to have milkweed specific to its area - except the Pacific Northwest.
Reasons why planting non-native milkweed is detrimental to the Monarchs:
- In warmer regions, where milkweed does not die back in the winter, a build-up of a debilitating protozoan parasite (Ophryocystis elektroscirrha or OE) that infects monarchs can occur.
- Non-native milkweed presence in the fall could cause migrating monarchs to break diapause (a temporary non-reproductive state) and lay eggs instead of completing their migration to Mexico.
- Reseeding (and invasion) of non-native milkweed species
This wildflower is low maintenance, easy to grow and propagate. Known for their beautiful colors ranging in white to pink and deep purple, the Milkweed brings joy and life to every garden! Exuding a delicious vanilla scent, the milkweed also attracts other pollinators while bloom from June - August. Monarchs will lay their eggs on the milkweed and caterpillars will emerge around September, while the plant is creating its seed pods. During this time, the caterpillar will devour the all the leafy matter of the plant and leave the seed pod alone. It is imperative to allow the caterpillar to attain the nourishment it needs, while in the larvae stage. In 2–3 weeks, it grows to about 2,700 times its birth weight.
It is very important to plant locally native milkweed species. Please learn which milkweeds are native to your region and consult this milkweed range maps from the Biota of North America Program’s (BONAP) North American Plant Atlas.
Support the Monarch population by planting your Milkweed seeds today!
- Sun: Full
- Plant Size: 30" - 60" tall
- Indoors: Spring planting - seeds must be stratified, see instructions below.
- Direct - Fall time planting highly recommended
- Seeds Count : 50
- Self Seeds
- Attracts Pollinators
- Deer Resistant
- Drought Tolerant
- Open Pollinated
Milkweed seeds must be stratified, if they are planted in the spring, for proper germination.
Instructions on how to cold stratify the seeds for spring time planting.
Map of states that we recommend planting Common Milkweed.
Grows well in most soil types - preferring well draining soil. The Common Milkweed makes it an excellent border plant. Can tolerate drought and is deer resistant. Once planted this beneficial plant will quickly spread - if weeding out, consider replanting it somewhere else in your yard or giving to a friend. Easily spreads via seed and rhizomes. Plant forms small to large clones. A great way to help spread Common Milkweed is by cutting and transplanted the rhizomes in early spring.
More info on how to create a monarch habitat.
Consider including your garden to the Monarch Joint Venture for their monarch conservation initiatives!
Monarch conservation information – Xerces Society
Report any sightings of Monarchs here.