Common Milkweed

sweet_melissa(7)May 11, 2011

Monarch Watch has Common Milkweed listed as the number one milkweed for my area. I already have swamp milkweed and was thinking of adding another variety. However, I have read that Common Milkweed is very quick to spread and get out of control. I have also read the opinion that Common Milkweed does not belong in the home garden. I would love to hear from those of you that grow the common variety. Love it? Hate it? Also has anyone planted it in a large pot and put it in the ground to control the spread. Very curious about this interesting plant.



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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH

Some opinions here:

Here is a link that might be useful: common milkweed

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 1:51PM
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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH

more info:

Here is a link that might be useful: Growth habit of a. syriaca in a garden

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 1:56PM
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Thanks kcclark! I think I will stick with swamp milkweed or maybe I will look into the purple variety.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 3:37PM
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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)


I, too, read the warnings of the common MW spreading so I planted mine in a big pot; one of those big plastic work tubs with the rope handles. Drilled lots of big holes in the bottom, lined the sides with bubble wrap and then filled with good potting soil and old decaying leaves, then mulched the top once the seedlings emerged. The bubble wrap is my attempt to help keep the roots cool during the heat of the summer. The plants didn't do a lot last year and I'd begun to worry that growing in a tub was a no no. To be fair, it was extremely hot and dry last summer so not the best of circumstances for starting new seedlings.

However, this spring, they were the first things up and they're currently 24-30 inches high and looking very healthy. They have such big leaves that they're an excellent source of food for the little Monarch cats. I grow other varieties of Milkweed and planted this particular plant as a backup food source, in case I ran out of the other milkweed.

Now I'm thinking I will try growing more plants in ground at the back outside corner of my greenhouse, where they'd be fairly isolated. If they get out of hand, I can always zap them with roundup.

However, to answer your question, yes, they appear to be doing quite well in a big pot.

photographed April 11, 2011


    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 3:41PM
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we were very lucky to have a stand of common milk weed right next to our fence, I let a few start across the fence into the yard, if it gets carried a way I can mow the extra. but it dose spread fast.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 9:45PM
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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH

Just make sure to give the little plants a good look before mowing. A couple houses ago, I would get the majority of my monarch eggs off tiny plants (2"-4") that were popping up in my neighbor's yard due to my fence row of common milkweed.


    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 10:03PM
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it will be just like our old house we had lots of honeyvine in the grass and I would walk the whole yard and check for eggs before mowing. the milkweed farther out in the yard than I want will make good food plants for cats in my butterfly cage. I am thrilled to have so much, we have well over 50 plants in the field next door and in our yard plus several dozen down the county road.
we had 2 polithimus(sp ?) moths hatch out so far, they are so pritty.
happy butterflying

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 6:23PM
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bandjzmom(7 NWGeorgia)

Hi Melissa, I live in NW GA, and I grew some Common Milkweed from seed back in spring 2009. I planted it next to my fence in an out of the way sunny back corner of my back yard. After 2 years, it has not spread too much. The thing that I adore about it is that it is one of the first milkweeds to come back. It gains its size fairly quickly, and the leaves are really big. If I had not had it in my yard this sping, the Monarchs would have been seriously hurting. No way could I get Tropical MW ready this early. So, I am a huge fan of my Common Milkweed.~~Angie

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 7:22AM
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Thanks for all of the great feedback! I really like the pictures of the common milkweed and it is a plus that it comes back early. Thank you for that information bandjzmom! I have read that the purple variety Asclepias Purpurascens looks like common milkweed without the invasiveness. I will have to check to find out if it arrives early. Maybe someone that grows the purple variety will chime in and give their opinion.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 8:45PM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

The purple does emerge early. This spring, when I had the Monarch onslaught, it was the purple that got most of the eggs. The purple was still small at that time, but was the largest of all the varieties I have in the garden. It is now blooming. I think it's the most beautiful of all the milkweeds. I have three areas where I have planted it. All three areas are filling in, but not spreading to other sites.

It's easy to grow from seed, and there are several sites that sell the seeds. I like to buy from Butterfly Encounters, as their seed seems to be very fresh.

If you can find a source that sells plants, you'll be ahead. It will take a couple of years for seed grown plants to get large enough.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 9:25PM
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Beautiful Sandy! There is a native nursery I can go to in Alexandria, Va that has it. It is a bit of a drive, but not too bad. I may just have to make the trip :) Thank you for the information and the great picture!


    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 9:50PM
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