Nodding Onion Gardens

Native Plant Nursery

Where Wildflowers Grow

Columbia Station, Ohio, USA


 Asclepias syriaca - Common Milkweed 



Ohio Native Plant - Natural Range

The United State Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources has a wonderful map showing the natural range of the Common Milkweed.
Common Milkweed Pods
Our Common Milkweed Pods
Great spangled frittilary - Nancy Piltch
Great spangled frittilary
Photo Courtesy of Cuyahoga Valley National Park -Photo by Nancy Piltch

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 Illionis Wildflower site for more details on this plant

Common Milkweed Pods
Bumps on the pods make it easy to distinguish

Seed Provenance - From a friend's property - Rocky River, Ohio 2010 & 2011. Nodding Onion Gardens 2012 to Present
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
 young Asclepia syriaca - Common Milkweed
Young Asclepia syriaca - Common Milkweed

Understanding Milkweed Plants

Milkweed a Conservation Practitioner Guide -
By - Brianna Borders & Eric Lee-Mäder

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

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.