Growing Milkweed: Tips at a Glance
Plant milkweed today. Asceplias syriaca (common milkweed) is a flowering perennial that is a vital host to the threatened monarch butterfly.
- Type Herbaceous perennial
- USDA Zones 3-9
- Sun Full
- Soil & Water Needs vary by type
- Height 2-6 feet
- Bloom Color Pink, purple, orange
- Beware Invasive
- Design Tip Plant for butterfly viewing
- Peak Season Summer
Milkweed: A Field Guide
Planting milkweed can open up a whole new world. Not only does it do edible double-duty on both dinner plate and cocktail coupe, but it’s a host plant to the threatened monarch butterfly.
With over 140 known species of Asclepias, only 30 nurture the monarchs. They include A. tuberosa (“orange milkweed”), the sweetly fragrant, pink A. syriaca (“common milkweed”) and A. californica (“California milkweed”), with its fuzzy stalks and leaves. Avoid the similar genus Cynanchum (“swallow-worts”), which fool monarchs into laying eggs on them that will never develop. Seek out a variety native to your area. Milkweed is a quick and aggressive grower.