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Common Milkweed is a very common plant of meadows and prairies, ranging from North Dakota to Maine and south to Oklahoma and South Carolina. Common milkweed is especially common in areas with a history of disturbance, and plants are abundant along roadways and drives where the grass isn't mown or sprayed.
Common Milkweed grows 2 to 3 feet tall, with very distinctive leaves and flowers. The plants usually grow as scattered single stalks that arise from a rapidly spreading underground rhizome system, with mauve flowerheads forming on the top 1/3 of the plants.
Common milkweed has seen a resurgence in planting in landscapes recently, and it seems to be the poster child for Monarch Butterfly awareness. While it is definitely not the easiest plant to integrate into the cultivated landscape, it does offer vital food for Monarch larvae. There are many species of native milkweed, with both clumping types and running types; Common Milkweed represents the extreme of the latter.
The Missouri Botanical Garden calls it "a rough, weedy native perennial" - Not exactly marketable terminology! Northcreek Nursery calls it "Robust, yet beautiful" - A little better.
Due to its slightly toxic sap, Common Milkweed is avoided by deer and rabbits. Birds will use the seed fluff from milkweed pods to line their nests. All milkweeds produce sweet nectar, and attract all manner of butterflies, bees, wasps and other pollinators.
Common milkweed is very easy to grow - almost too easy. We recommend it for more naturalistic landscapes, since its form is difficult to integrate in traditional "garden" settings; for these areas, try Butterfly Weed (A. tuberosa) or Rose Milkweed (A. incarnata).
Plant Common Milkweed in average soil - it isn't particular about soil type or ph - spaced 12 inches apart. Water well at planting time and you shouldn't have to do much more after that.
We provide Common Milkweed in both our RootMaker 32-Cell Plug Flats and our 1-Quart SuperPlug fabric containers. The Quart SuperPlugs will provide the quickest growth in the landscape, but 32-Cell Plugs are very economical for large plantings and will reach maturity after a season or two in the ground. Weed control for the first year is the most important factor for success.
|Common Name:||Common Milkweed|
|Botanical Name:||Asclepias syriaca|