Milkweed Companion Plants

Milkweed is a good choice to feature in butterfly gardens or any outdoor space because the flowers last from spring until late summer. This plant is an herbaceous perennial that reaches several feet tall and is generally easy to maintain once it is acclimated. Plant milkweed in full sun and in soil with a high amount of organic material, although it can tolerate poor quality soil. Keep the soil evenly moist, and water the plant when the top layer of soil feels dry. Milkweed is lovely to admire and is adaptable to a range of growing conditions.

Milkweed has sturdy, upright stems covered with lance-shaped foliage and flower clusters near the top of the stems. While these plants look amazing on their own, they also do well when planted near other flowering plants, creating a meadow-like effect. Pair milkweed with plants of different heights or different types of greenery to add color and texture to a bed and make a space appear professionally landscaped.


Shrubs To Plant With Milkweed

Roses and weigela are sun-loving shrubs that work well with milkweed. The spring-blooming weigela flowers fade when the milkweed starts to bloom, ensuring consistent flowers. Roses usually have a long blooming season, so the bloom times will likely overlap, creating a lovely display and providing plenty of food for pollinators. Spirea is another laid-back shrub that is adaptable but needs full sun to bloom well. Spring or summer flowers engulf the plant, which can grow up to 8 feet tall.

Perennials To Plant With Milkweed

The thin, wispy foliage of ornamental grasses and the cloud-like flowers contrast the narrow, lance-shaped leaves and flower clusters of milkweed. Both plants have an upright growth habit, making them very well suited to growing in areas with limited space or in front of a fence or retaining wall for concealment. 

Feature shorter coneflowers in front of milkweed so all of the blooms are visible. Coneflowers and milkweed both have a meadow-like appearance and complement one another when planted nearby. Tickseed, or coreopsis, is another North American herbaceous perennial, which thrives in full sun, and features daisy-like blooms alongside thin, dark green foliage.

Fragrant catmint has lush greenery and small purple flowers that grow on thin, upright stems. Catmint grows about 1 foot tall and looks best around or in front of milkweed. Both plants grow in full sun, so they can happily coexist.


Annuals To Plant With Milkweed

Verbena is a low-growing annual that is easy to maintain and features a long blooming season. The 5-petaled flowers are available in various vibrant colors, and some even feature multiple colors. Plant verbena around or in front of milkweed to fill gaps and create a full and layered landscape.

Annual salvia requires full sun and has flowers in shades of blue, purple, red, or white. Salvia is not fussy and can grow in a variety of soil types. If you like the look of this combination, consider switching to a perennial variety in the future.

Best Companion Plants For Milkweed in Containers

Lantana is another flowering plant that craves full sun and is well-loved by pollinators. The tiny flower clusters resemble milkweed, so pick complementary colors and feature both plants in the same container.

Blanket flower prefers full sun and dry conditions, so it is less thirsty than milkweed, but these plants can share a container as long as the soil drains well. As the name implies, the blanket flower has a thick, spreading growth habit that fills a container around taller plants like milkweed.

Plants Not To Grow With Milkweed

Full sun is necessary for milkweed to grow and thrive. Plants that require shade or even partial sun and plants that need damp soil or frequent watering will not do well in the same area as milkweed. Plants like hosta, coral bells, and Joe Pye weed will do best in another area of a yard or outdoor space.

Best Plants To Grow With Milkweed








Plants that need full sun and have moderate water needs grow best with milkweed. Rich, moist soil will support the best growth or milkweed, but it can live in low-quality soil, making it a good companion for plants like salvia.

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Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 09-26-2023