Plant types and subtypes: Perennials
Light Requirements: sun
Water Use: medium
Soil Moisture: dry, moist
Soil Description: rich, poor, loam, sand
Bloom Time: June, July, August
Bloom Color: pink, lavender
Leaf Color: green
Hardiness Zone: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Additional Tags: attracts butterflies, colonizing, drought tolerant, fragrant flowers, naturalizing, showy fruit
Pricing & Availability
Asclepias syriacaAlso known as:
Asclepias intermedia, Asclepias kansana
Asclepias syriaca is a clumping milkweed, with large, broadly oblong, opposite leaves that grow along a stiff, unbranched central stem. Their upper surface is smooth, whereas their underside is covered in short, dense hairs. Though typically 3' to 4' tall, plants can grow up to 6' under exceptional conditions. Several ball-shaped umbels, of pink to purple fragrant flowers, develop on the upper part of the plant along the leaf axils. In late summer, these give way to large, conspicuous spiked seed pods that burst open when ripe, letting the wind disperse the seeds that are attached to white fluffy tufts of hair.
Asclepias syriaca is adaptable to a wide variety of soil types, and conditions. It prefers full sun, and once established, plants are very drought tolerant. Though it disperses a lot of seeds, germination rates tend to be low in cultivation, and plants will colonize more so vegetatively by lateral roots. This species enjoys a long bloom period, often extending for over a month, in mid to late summer. Zones 3-7
Can be difficult to propagate from seed. Mature plants are difficult to transplant, or divide, however the lateral rhizomatuous roots can be cut and transplanted in early spring.
It is unfortunate that this species is known as the 'common milkweed', because it is truly an exceptional species, and the most important of milkweeds for monarch butterflies. As with other milkweeds, the stems and leaves produce a milky sap when damaged that should be considered toxic.
Native Range & Classification
Recorded County Distribution: USDA data
AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV
|Species||Asclepias syriaca||common milkweed|