Nodding Onion Gardens

Native Plant Nursery

Where Wildflowers Grow

Columbia Station, Ohio, USA


 Asclepias syriaca - Common Milkweed 



Ohio Native Plant - Natural Range

Asclepias syriaca

The United State Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources has a wonderful map showing the natural range of the Common Milkweed.
Orange and black Monarch Butterfly on thick green leaves of Common Milkwee
Monarch on Common Milkweed - Jim Wohl

Wildlife Significance

Nectar Source - for long-tongued bees, skippers, moths, butterflies:Spicebush Swallowtail, Eastern Black Swallowtail, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Clouded Sulphur,  Spring Azure, Great Spangled Fritillary, Eastern Tailed Blue, Silver-Spotted Skipper

Host Plant: Monarch butterflies, Milkweed tussock moth, Milkweed Tiger moth, Queen Butterfly

Deer - Not Fond of this plant

Visit the Illinois Wildflower website for more details on this plant

Great spangled frittilary sitting on milkweed leaf
Great Spangled frittilary - Jim Wohl

Host Plant -

Butterflies need two types of plants in order to survive; the first are the nectar plants like Joe- Pye Weed ones with a flat "landing pad" that allow the adult butterfly to easily rest and take a nice long drink. Like most living things the diet of the young differs from that of the adult. This is the case with butterflies; after working their way out from the safety of their chrysalises (cocoon) they are hungry. Dinner needs to be there right on the spot. The young of the Monarch butterflies  and eleven other species of Lepidoptera (butterflies) first meal needs to revolve around milkweed plants.


When planning a butterfly garden be certain to plan for the adults as well as their larvae. Although butterfly bushes (Buddleja species) are beautiful and do provide nectar for adults, there are no species of butterflies in North America that use this plant as a larval host plant.

Common Milkweed Pods
Our Common Milkweed Pods
Common Milkweed flowers
Common Milkweed - Tow - Path - Akron, Ohio - June 2011

Cultivation Information

Height - 3 to 5 ft
Blooms - June to August
Flower Color - light pink
Sun - Full to part shade
Hardy Zone - 3 to 9
Soil - moist to dry

Family -  Asclepiadaceae

- Plant one foot apart
Super close up of a Common milkweed flower
Zoom shot of Common Milkweed - Jim Wohl
Tiny green flowers are forming on Common Milkweed
Flowers maturing on Asclepia syriaca - Jim Wohl

Understanding Milkweed Plants

A Guide to the Milkweeds of Ohio - Natural Treasures oh Ohio - Blog

A dozen Common Milkweed plants flowering
Common Milkweed fields smell wonderful! - Jim wohl

Seed Provenance -

From a friend's property - Rocky River, Ohio 2010 & 2011. Nodding Onion Gardens 2012 to Present