Butterfly Weed

Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Butterfly weedCommon name: Butterfly weed

Botanical name: Asclepias tuberosa

Virtues: Bright summer flowers. They attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Also acts as a host plant for the larvae of several butterfly species.

Small, bright orange flowers are held in large, flat clusters. Blooms from spring through summer.

Habit: Herbaceous upright perennial 1 to 3 feet tall and as wide.

Season: Summer.

Origin: Prairies, open woods and hillsides of the eastern two-thirds of North America.

Cultivation: Grow in full sun or partial shade. Prefers sandy soil but will adapt to other types as long as drainage is good. Tolerates drought. Susceptible to aphids, which can be removed with a strong blast of water from the hose. USDA Zones 3–9.

Top image courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder

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One thought on “Butterfly Weed

  1. Thanks for the additional detail on one of my favorite garden flowers. I dug one up on a road side about 5 years ago, and have enjoyed it ever since. Some observations: over the years the flowers of the parent plant seem to have lost the intensity of the color; also, one must keep a close eye on the seed pod each flower produces–if left unchecked it could become invasive. I have begun broadcasting the seeds in local, vacant fields near my home here on Long Island; trying to add a little color to the roadside view! A great addition to any perenial garden. Kit Smith

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