Pollinator Powerhouses: Milkweed

Common Milkweed

Asclepias syriaca

CommonMilkweed

Asclepias syriaca is a native perennial with upright stems and domed clusters of fragrant, pinkish-purple flowers. Flowers give way to prominent seed pods which split open when ripe. Flowers are a nectar source for many butterflies and the leaves are a food source for monarch butterfly caterpillars. Milkweed can self seed and spread rapidly through the rhizomes.

Latin Name: Asclepia syriaca
Common Name: Common Milkweed
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Native Range: NE and SE US, MD (Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal)
Zone: 3 to 6
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: White, pink, mauve
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Erosion, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil

 

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Swamp Milkweed

Asclepias incarnata

SwampMilkweed

Asclepias incarnata is an erect, clump-forming, native plant with clusters of pink blooms that appear in the late summer. Milkweed is the food source for monarch caterpillars and is a nectar source for butterflies. Flowers are followed by brown seed pods, which persist into the fall. Seeds will self-sow if the pods are left on the plants

Latin Name: Asclepia incarnata
Common Name: Swamp Milkweed
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 4.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: White, pink, mauve
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Clay Soil, Wet Soil
Information from Missouri Botanical Plant Finder

Butterfly Weed

Asclepias incarnata

ButterflyWeed
Asclepias tuberosa display clusters of bright orange flowers with a long bloom period of late spring to summer and sometimes into early fall. Butterflyweed is great to use in pollinator gardens, meadow plantings, and sunny borders. The plant stays low to the ground compared to Milkweed.

Latin Name: Asclepias tuberosa
Common Name: Butterflyweed
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Native Range: Eastern US, MD
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 2.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Yellow/ orange
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Erosion, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil
Information from Missouri Botanical Plant Finder