Monday, September 15, 2014

Common milkweed

I'm by no means an expert on milkweed chemistry or anything close to it, but I am interested in supporting monarchs, especially now that the migration is threatened.

I've been heartened by the improvement in the central flyway reports by Journey North compared to last year.  We'll see.

I've been a fan of common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) for years, as it seems to be the favorite larval host here in the Piedmont for the late spring/early summer migration north.  But it's not for every garden.  It's assertive, spreading from underground runners.

We've had to edit it heavily in the Butterfly Garden at the SC Botanical Garden, even as it was "banned" from one of our front borders maintained by a local garden club.

I've edited ours from the "meadow" in front of the garage in the past, but here's what it's like after a summer away without editing.

A common milkweed meadow!

They definitely need space!  But as common milkweed has a reputation of being "bad" for dairy cattle, etc. in some areas, unwarranted as far as I know, as it's totally distasteful for herbivores, those of us that don't have that issue and have space, why not?
What it looked like a few years ago in fall


  1. My friend, and fellow butterfly enthusiast, just reported via FB that we have LOTS of monarch caterpillars on various milkweeds in our Butterfly Garden and Children's Garden at SCBG. Fabulous!

  2. Love this post! Yay! We got, in our Portland garden, our first monarch caterpillar this summer on our Asclepias speciosa, showy milkweed. They came this far north, so we're passing out seeds and the word to everyone! Thanks for sharing :)


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