Milkweed Plants

Milkweed plants are the only host plant for the Monarch butterfly caterpillar.

The population of Monarchs is in decline. Many farmers in our area and through the midwest are setting land aside for prairie areas.

Below are 12 species of milkweed that native wildflower to the state of Wisconsin and can be planted in home gardens as well.

12 Native Milkweed Plants In WI

Common Milkweed

Common milkweed is easy to grow, requires little maintenance, and thrives in zones 3-9, Will add beautiful pink and lilac blooms to any garden.

Asclepias syriaca, Common Milkweed
Common Name:Common Milkweed
Scientific Name:Asclepias syriaca
Sun: Full Sun
Soil:Grows well in any type of soil
Height:4 -6 feet
Bloom Time:June – August

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Butterfly Milkweed

2′ to 3′ tall native perennial with clusters of bright orange flowers suitable for planting in zones 3-9.

monarch butterfly on milkweed
Common Name:Butterfly Milkweed
Scientific Name:A. tuberosa
Sun: Full Sun
Soil:Well-drained soil
Height:2 – 3 feet
Bloom Time:June – August

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Clasping Leaf Milkweed

Clasping Leaf Milkweed blooms in most Eastern U.S. states in areas like open fields, roadsides, and open woodland areas with full sunlight. The plant blooms in pinks, greens, and purples.

Clasping Milkweed (Asclepias amplexicaulis)
Common Name:Clasping Leaf Milkweed
Scientific Name:A. amplexicaulis
Sun: Full Sun
Soil:Loves sandy soil
Height:3 – 4 feet
Bloom Time:May – August


Poke Milkweed

Poke milkweed is a tall variety of milkweed that is found growing along woodland opens in rich soil with filtered light. The plant flowers are general a creamy white but can have in shades of purple or green to the white flowers.

Asclepias exaltata (Poke Milkweed)
Common Name:Poke Milkweed
Scientific Name:A. exaltata
Sun: Part to Full Sun
Soil:Rich soil
Height:2 – 6 feet
Bloom Time:July – August


Tall Green Milkweed

Tall Green Milkweed
Common Name:Tall Green Milkweed
Scientific Name:A. hirtella
Sun: Full Sun
Soil:Well Drained Soil
Height:2 -4 feet tall
Bloom Time:June – August


Green Flowered Milkweed

IMG_1672
Common Name:Green Flowered Milkweed
Scientific Name:A. viridiflora
Sun: Full Sun
Soil:Dry soil
Height:12 – 32 inches
Bloom Time:July


Prairie Milkweed

Westchester, IL, Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve, Milkweed Flower and Buds
Common Name:Prairie Milkweed
Scientific Name:A. sullivantii
Sun: Full Sun
Soil:Well Drained
Height:2 – 4 feet tall
Bloom Time:June – August

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Oval Leaf Milkweed

Dwarf milkweed
Common Name:Oval Leaf Milkweed (Dwarf)
Scientific Name:A. ovalifolia
Sun: Part to Full Sun
Soil:Sandy
Height:10 to 24 inches
Bloom Time:June – August

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Woolly Milkweed

Woolly milkweed is a threatened native milkweed plant in the state of Wisconsin and can be found in dry rocky hillsides.

Woolly Milkweed
Common Name:Woolly Milkweed
Scientific Name:A. lanuginosa
Sun: Full Sun
Soil:Dry Well Drained
Height:10-12 inches
Bloom Time:June – July


Whorled Milkweed

Whorled Milkweed
Common Name:Whorled Milkweed
Scientific Name:A. verticillata
Sun: Full Sun
Soil:Fine soil
Height:1-3 feet tall
Bloom Time:May – September

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Purple Milkweed

The purple milkweed is a late spring, early summer bloomer producing rich red-purple color flowers compared to the soft gray-pink of Common Milkweed.

Asclepias purpurascens
Common Name:Purple Milkweed
Scientific Name:A. purpurescens
Sun: Particle to Full Sun
Soil:Drained
Height:2-3 feet tall 
Bloom Time:June-July

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Swamp Milkweed

Swamp Milkweed is shrub-like plant that is native to marshy, wet areas. The milkweed is less milky than that of other species in the milkweed family. The plant breaks through the soil in spring, but you will not see flowers until summer.

Swamp Milkweed
Common Name:Swamp Milkweed
Scientific Name:Asclepias Incarnata
Sun: Full Sun
Soil:Very moist to Wet
Height:Almost 60 inches tall
Bloom Time:June – August
Bloom Color:Beautiful pink and purple flowers

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Besides purchasing, seed, you can collect a milkweed seed pod from milkweed plants in the wild to plant in your own gardens. Milkweed is vital to the monarch butterfly lifecycle. Butterflies like black swallowtails, silver-spotted skippers, milkweed tussock caterpillars, and milkweed bugs. also, use the plant for a food source.

Additional Posts

9 Woodpeckers of Wisconsin
Wildflowers and Invasives of Wisconsin
Flowers That Attract Hummingbirds
Wildflowers That Attract Birds

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