Indian hemp

Apocynum cannabinum L.

Family: Apocynaceae (dogbane)

  • Bloom Period:
    • Early,
  • Growth Cycle:
    • Perennial,
  • Growth Habit:
    • Forbs/Herbs,
  • Insect Type Attracted:
    • Natural Enemy,
    • Pollinator,
  • Light:
    • Full,
  • Region:
    • Northern Lower Peninsula,
    • Southern Lower Peninsula,
    • Upper Peninsula
  • Soil Moisture:
    • Medium,
  • Height:
    • 2-4ft

Natural enemies attracted

Highly attractive: Empididae.

Moderately attractive: Chalcidoidea, Thomisidae, and Coccinellidae.

Mildly attractive: Cynipoidea, Orius insidiosus, Chrysopidae, Cantharidae, Dolichopodidae, Syrphidae, Plagiognathus politus, Stratiomyidae and Ichneumonidae.

Pollinators attracted

Mildly attractive: bees including yellow-faced bees and sweat bees.

Pests attracted

Highly attractive: aphids.

Mildly attractive: leaf beetles, Japanese beetles, root-maggot flies, thrips, lygus bugs and weevils.

Plant notes

Plants have attractive oval-shaped leaves with small, fragrant white flower clusters that bloomed from late June through July. It filled in during the second year of growth. This species was the most attractive to natural enemies in the mid-season, with three times as many natural enemies as in the grass control.


Indian hemp likes full sun and mid-range soil moisture, neither very wet nor very dry. It is often found in disturbed areas such as along roadways, railroads and in fields. It is naturally occurring in wet areas including river banks, marshes, shores and thickets and is also found in meadows that are seasonably wet.

Cultivation and management

This plant can be grown from seed (It flowers in the third year.) or plug material (flowers in first or second year). Although this plant attracted large numbers of natural enemies, it has a spreading habit and is sometimes considered a weed in perennial agricultural systems.