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Common Milkweed

Asclepias syriaca

Common Milkweed

General Information

Common Milkweed is an easy-to-grow, upright herbaceous perennial.

Common Milkweed is typically found in fields, open woods, waste areas, roadsides and along railroad tracks. It does well in poor, dryish soils.

Common Milkweed has attractive, slightly fragrant pinkish flowers and blooms between June and August.

Native Americans used the plant as a fiber source. The hairy coma or "floss" on the seeds was once used in making life jackets. Today the coma is used for pillows and blankets.

Plant Information

Plant Type:

Herbaceous perennial

Sun Preference:

Full Sun * Part Sun

Soil Moisture Preference:

Medium-Wet * Medium * Medium-Dry * Dry

Plant Height:

3 feet

Plant Width:

2 to 3 feet

Plant Spacing:

2 to 3 feet

Flower Color:

Pink to Pink-Purple

Flower timing:

June to August

Culture Information:

The best locations to plant Common Milkweed include butterfly gardens, meadows, prairies, naturalized areas, native plant gardens, butterfly gardens, pollinator gardens. This plant is considered by many gardeners to be too vigorous and weedy for borders. Gardeners consider Common Milkweed to be too vigorous and weedy for borders.

When first planted, Common Milkweed should be watered weekly for first few months, unless at least an inch of rain has been received in the last week to help it get established. After it becomes established, Common Milkweed only needs watering during severe drought, as it tolerates drought.

As with most perennials, Common Milkweed can be cut to the ground after the first freeze or left until late winter. Common Milkweed can spread somewhat rapidly by rhizomes.


Dry Soil
Shallow-Rocky Soil

Pests & Disease:

Common Milkweed is often affected by Oleander aphids (reddish-orange). Milkweed Weevil and Milkweed Longhorn Beetle are other common pests.

Common Milkweed doesn’t usually have serious disease problems.

All parts of the Butterfly Milkweed are toxic due to cardiac glycosides and resinoids.

Wildlife Use:

Pollinators: Common Milkweed flowers are a nectar source for butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. Milkweeds are larval host plants for the Monarch Butterfly and Milkweed Tussock Moth.

Birds: N/A.

Mammals: Common Milkweed is toxic to cats, dogs and horses. Deer and rabbits will generally not bother it.

Other: N/A.

Native to:

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