Asclepias tuberosa ~ Milkweed ~ Butterfly Weed :) How to Grow
Uses ~ Butterfly gardens, meadows, prairies, or naturalized/native plant areas. Also effective in sunny borders. Whether massing plants in large drifts or sprinkling them throughout a prairie or meadow, butterfly weed is one of our showiest native wildflowers.
Asclepias tuberosa is a species of milkweed native to eastern North America. It is a perennial plant growing to 0.3–1 metre (1 ft 0 in–3 ft 3 in) tall, with clustered orange or yellow flowers from early summer to early fall. The leaves are spirally arranged, lanceolate, 5–12 cm long, and 2–3 cm broad.
This plant favors dry, sand or gravel soil, but has also been reported on stream margins. It requires full sun.
It is commonly known as butterfly weed because of the butterflies that are attracted to the plant by its color and its copious production of nectar. It is also the larval food plant of the Queen and Monarch butterflies. Hummingbirds, bees and other insects are also attracted.
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Sometimes called pleurisy root, butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is a perennial wildflower grown for its showy, reddish-orange flower clusters and textured, lanceolate leaves. It thrives throughout U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 to 10, where it is frequently added to butterfly gardens and native plant landscaping. Butterfly weed grows well from seeds, which must be harvested in late summer and sown after a lengthy chilling process. The seeds are viable and will germinate with little care, although they must be planted at the appropriate depth to ensure successful sprouting.
How to Plant Pleurisy Root Tubers
How to Grow Butterfly Weed in Your Garden
Culture and more informational links about plant 🙂
Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Drought tolerant. Does well in poor, dry soils. New growth tends to emerge late in the spring. Plants are easily grown from seed, but are somewhat slow to establish and may take 2-3 years to produce flowers. Mature plants may freely self-seed in the landscape if seed pods are not removed prior to splitting open. Butterfly weed does not transplant well due to its deep taproot, and is probably best left undisturbed once established.
This showy plant is frequently grown from seed in home gardens. Its brilliant flowers attract butterflies. Because its tough root was chewed by the Indians as a cure for pleurisy and other pulmonary ailments, Butterfly Weed was given its other common name, Pleurisy Root. Although it is sometimes called Orange Milkweed, this species has no milky sap.
Butterflyweed is a prairie plant with bright orange flowers and a long bloom time making it a nice plant to have around the garden. Flowers come in waves from June to early September on older plants. The way it grows it ends up looking like a bush. So far I’ve had plants go to three feet four inches, taller than advertised in the Park Seed catalog. It will bloom late the first year if started early and given enough sun. Some nurseries offer it in yellow. Some catalogs call it butterfly plant or butterfly flower because they don’t want to say “weed”. Butterflyweed is not the same thing as butterfly bush (Buddleia).
Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on these plants so by growing some you end up increasing the butterfly population. Butterflies also favor the nectar found in the flowers.
Mulch for the winter to prevent frost heaving. Plants need excellent drainage to overwinter. Plants are slow to emerge in spring.
- Serves as Host and Nectar plant
- Popular nectar source for many butterflies
- Attracts a wide range of beneficial pollinators
- Summer Blooming Plant
- Not considered invasive
- The thick, rugged leaves present a good place for chrysalis formation
- Make a nice cut flower for your home
- Deer resistant