Alphabetical Plant Listing

Asclepias (Milkweed)

Milkweed, Common Milkweed, Butterflyweed, Swamp Milkweed, Showy Milkweed, Mexican Whorled Milkweed, Tropical Milkweed, Asclepias syriaca, Asclepias tuberosa, Asclepias incarnata, Asclepias speciosa, Asclepias fascicularis, Asclepias curassavica (Asclepias)


Mostly native to the U.S. and Canada, Asclepias (Milkweed) include over 100 species of evergreen or deciduous perennials adorned with clusters of small, interestingly shaped blooms that are irresistible to butterflies. Attractive and easy to grow, they shine in many perennial gardens and are a key component of butterfly gardens, cottage gardens, or prairies and meadows.

Often fragrant, the attractive Milkweed flowers are a great source of nectar for butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, and other beneficial insects. The blossoms give way to long, narrow seed pods in the fall. When the seed pods open, they reveal seeds with long, silvery-white, silky hairs that travel on the wind.

  • Milkweed plants are critical to monarch butterflies' survival. Without Milkweed, monarchs cannot successfully reproduce, and the species declines. In the last 20 years, the monarch butterfly population in North America has decreased by 90%. By planting milkweed in your own garden, you can help reverse the fortune of these beautiful insects!
  • Most Milkweed plants require full sun (at least 6 hours a day) and perform well in average garden soil. Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed) is an exception, as it prefers medium to wet soils.
  • Since Milkweed has a tendency to self-seed (if the seed pods are not removed prior to splitting open), plant your plants in a sheltered location to prevent the wind from spreading the seeds.
  • Low maintenance, most Milkweed plants are pest and disease free, and deer resistant.
  • Milkweed gets its name from the milky sap that exudes from the leaves and stems when the plant is cut or bruised. All Milkweeds except Asclepias tuberosa produce this milky sap.
  • Milkweed contains cardiac glycosides, naturally occurring drugs that increase the force of heart contraction and have been used to treat heart conditions. The cardiac glycosides are potentially poisonous to humans. All parts of a Milkweed plant, particularly the roots, may cause mild stomach upset if ingested. But they pose the most danger to grazing animals. However, it should be noted that not all milkweed species are equally toxic. Among the most toxic are Asclepias labriformis (Labriform Milkweed), Asclepias subverticillata (Western Whorled Milkweed), Asclepias eriocarpa (Woolypod Milkweed) and Asclepias fascicularis (Mexican Whorled Milkweed).

Learn How To Plant, Care and Grow Milkweed

Mostly native to the U.S. and Canada, Asclepias (Milkweed) include over 100 species of evergreen or deciduous perennials adorned with clusters of small, interestingly shaped blooms that are irresistible to butterflies. Attractive and easy to grow, they shine in many gardens. However, some basic rules need to be followed to enjoy their splendid flowers.
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Guide Information

Hardiness 3 - 10
Plant Type Perennials, Shrubs
Plant Family Asclepias
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring
Summer
Fall
Attracts Butterflies
Landscaping Ideas Beds and Borders
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Hardiness 3 - 10
Plant Type Perennials, Shrubs
Plant Family Asclepias
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring
Summer
Fall
Attracts Butterflies
Landscaping Ideas Beds and Borders
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow
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