Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Butterfly Milkweed, Butterfly Weed, Pleurisy Root
Asclepias tuberosa 'Gay Butterflies'

Family: Apocynaceae (a-pos-ih-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Asclepias (ass-KLE-pee-us) (Info)
Species: tuberosa (too-ber-OH-suh) (Info)
Cultivar: Gay Butterflies

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

11 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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By Gabrielle
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There are a total of 23 photos.
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4 positives
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Mrs_Ed On Aug 6, 2009, Mrs_Ed from Whiteside County, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

Wintersowed spring of 2009 and would you believe they bloomed for me the first year. Lots of Monarch eggs on these already! I have both a yellow and an orange. Would love to have red too.

Neutral Gabrielle On Jul 12, 2008, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

Not much different from the species.

Blooms June-August in my garden.

Positive gluckrun On Jul 16, 2007, gluckrun wrote:

While it is true they are very difficult to transplant, I am lucky in that they grow wild here on my farm. Unfortunately the deer LOVE to eat them, as much as I like to view them.

Positive Marilynbeth On Nov 18, 2006, Marilynbeth from Hebron, KY wrote:

Beautiful flower and plant. Wonderful for attracting BF's.

Neutral sharonmi On Nov 21, 2005, sharonmi from Westland, MI (Zone 6a) wrote:

Mine are all yellow and orange, no red. They don't bloom very long, maybe 6 weeks, but the butterflies sure love them (also mud daubers). Had mine for 4 years, no caterpillars yet.

Positive Sarahskeeper On Nov 5, 2005, Sarahskeeper from Brockton, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

These are nice for the mixed colors rather than all orange.
If seedlings are grown in soft, pliable soil, transplanting can be done. I like to give them a season in a 'Nursery' to check on flower color, then move them to a sunny permanent location. I may loose 10 - 15% in this move.
They can live for many years with little or no care.
Interesting canoe shaped seed pods burst open to release the giant dandelion type seed.
Andy P

Neutral lupinelover On Jan 29, 2003, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

Butterfly weed is difficult to transplant: it is best to grow from direct-seeding, or to plant seeds in pots that can be planted without disturbing the taproot.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Saraland, Alabama
Morrilton, Arkansas
Lady Lake, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida
Rock Falls, Illinois
Hebron, Kentucky
Madisonville, Kentucky
Prospect, Kentucky
Westland, Michigan
Wayzata, Minnesota
Florence, Mississippi
Saint Louis, Missouri
Croton On Hudson, New York
Port Washington, New York
West Islip, New York
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Saint Helena Island, South Carolina
Arlington, Texas
Los Fresnos, Texas
Walkerton, Virginia
Glenville, West Virginia
Madison, Wisconsin

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