Sweet as honeyvine

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This “weed” is a host plant

Honeyvine milkweed (Cynanchum laeve) is a vigorous, perennial trailing vine that is native to our eastern and central states.  Some people consider it to be a nuisance “weed”, but I call it Monarch caterpillar food.

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Milkweed tussock moth caterpillars also use honeyvine and other milkweeds as host plants.

Milkweed tussock moth caterpillars also use honeyvine and other milkweeds as host plants.

Hardy hearts

I like the honeyvine’s heart-shaped leaves and the fact that I never have to give any special care to these plants.  They are hardy and drought-tolerant in my Kentucky clay soil.  I allow them to cover my ugly chain-link fence and twine up the sturdy stalks of my tall common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) plants.

Hairstreak butterfly on common milkweed. All kinds of butterflies drink nectar from milkweeds.

Hairstreak butterfly on common milkweed. All kinds of butterflies drink nectar from milkweeds.

Keep the scissors handy

Whenever I find the vines growing in places I don’t want them, especially around more tender plants in danger of being strangled, I just cut them off at ground level after I check them over for any Monarch eggs or caterpillars.  My first Monarch momma of the season left 21 eggs for me last week and she chose to deposit 18 of them on the honeyvine leaves in lieu of my various other milkweed species.

Honey bees love honeyvine flowers.

Honey bees love honeyvine flowers.

Pollinator magnet

My honeyvines are just beginning to bloom and they are already drawing in the pollinators.  Honey bees can’t resist these nectar-rich flowers.

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Comments

  1. Kathy says

    Thank you so much for the honeyvine article. I have it popping up all over my beds and I keep pulling it out (like my thistle)) to keep my front landscape from looking weedy. I will now let some grow and hopefully be looking for the monarchs. I did see a monarch land on my butterfly weed recently. So I have my fingers crossed.

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