Asclepias syriaca

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: common milkweed
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Apocynaceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Pink, mauve, white
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Erosion, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Drought tolerant. Does well in poor, dryish soils. Easily grown from seed, and will self-seed in the landscape if seed pods are not removed prior to splitting open. Can spread somewhat rapidly by rhizomes. Often forms extensive colonies in the wild.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Common milkweed is a rough, weedy Missouri native perennial which commonly occurs in fields, open woods, waste areas, roadsides and along railroad tracks throughout the State (Steyermark). It typically grows 3-4' (less frequently to 6') tall on stout, upright stems with thick, broad-oblong, reddish-veined, light green leaves (to 8" long). Domed, slightly drooping clusters (umbels) of fragrant, pinkish -purple flowers appear mostly in the upper leaf axils over a long bloom period from late spring well into summer. Stems and leaves exude a milky sap when cut or bruised. Flowers give way to prominent, warty seed pods (2-4" long) which split open when ripe releasing their numerous silky-tailed seeds for dispersal by the wind. Seed pods are valued in dried flower arrangements. Flowers are a nectar source for many butterflies and leaves are a food source for monarch butterfly larvae (caterpillars).

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Somewhat weedy and can spread.

Garden Uses

Butterfly gardens, meadows, prairies, or naturalized/native plant areas. This plant is considered by many gardeners to be too vigorous and weedy for borders.