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Growing Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)

Whorled milkweed’s narrow needle-like leaves and clusters of tiny white flowers add delicate texture to natural plantings, butterfly gardens, and prairies.

This native milkweed is a host for the monarch caterpillar. Its fragrant flowers appear later than most other milkweeds from July to September. Its flowers provide nectar for monarch and other butterflies, our native bees, bumblebees, and other pollinators. Fortunately, deer and rabbits tend to leave it be.

Hardy in zones 3 to 9, it prefers full sun and well-drained loam or sandy soils but will tolerate part sun and clay-loam soil. Once established, it is tolerant of heat and dry soil.

Like other milkweeds, it spreads by seeds. It also spreads by rhizomes but is less aggressive than common milkweed, forming attractive drifts in the garden. In fall, the fine foliage turns yellow to orange, adding to the autumn display.

A bit more information:  All milkweeds are poisonous to livestock including poultry, goats, and rabbits. Poisoning usually occurs from overgrazing, contaminated hay or when hungry livestock are concentrated in milkweed dense areas. Whorled milkweed is one of the more toxic milkweeds for livestock.

Upcoming Appearances


July 17, 2021
Shade Gardening Seminar &
Sanger House Gardens Tour

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July 18, 2021
Drought Tolerant Perennials & Shrubs for Southeastern Wisconsin
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July 20, 2021
"Ask the Plant Doctor"
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July 24, 2021
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July 28, 2021
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