This unique milkweed is one of Illinois’ 24 native milkweed species, although it lies at its western-most extent in our state. Showy clusters of aromatic, bicolored flowers atop unbranched stems for about a month each summer. The central stem is greenish to purple and complimented by its interesting leaves, which are glossy-green and long with wavy edges. Common in high-quality woodland openings or edges, thrives in dappled sun. Host plant for the monarch butterfly.
Bees, butterflies, beetles, caterpillars
3 to 9
2 to 6 ft.
1 to 2 ft.
Partial Shade, Full Sun
Taller than most other milkweed species. Great for back of borders or massing in woodland/native gardens.
Care and Maintenance
Prefers shadier areas protected from prevailing winds. Best grown from bare root crowns.
Pest and Diseases
Milkweed yellows phytoplasma. Enjoyed by rabbits yet deer resistant.
Establishment and Propagation
Best grown from dormant bare root crowns October or Spring (April/May). Can be started from seed.
Alternative Plant Selections
Illinois native statewide.
Typically grows as a single, unbranched stem with a deep tap root. Does not readily spread.