Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Butterfly Milkweed, Butterfly Weed, Pleurisy Root
Asclepias tuberosa

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

32 vendors have this plant for sale.

141 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Category:
Perennials

Height:
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Spacing:
15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

Hardiness:
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)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Danger:
Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Orange
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall

Foliage:
Herbaceous

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

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

Patent Information:
Non-patented

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
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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Profile:

45 positives
14 neutrals
4 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Positive raeben On Jul 1, 2014, raeben from Great Falls, VA (Zone 6b) wrote:

The first time I saw this plant growing was in a protected area in the dunes on the south shore of western Long Island. They were growing in almost pure sand, in full sun, a huge stand of orange butterfly weed. I had never seen them before. I almost could not believe my eyes. They made a spectacular display and butterflies flocked to the area. Who would think you would find this less than 50 miles of New York City, growing wild?

I finally tried Asclepias tuberosa in my garden and while I have not a stand to compare with the one I saw in New York, I have a few come back every year. I save the seeds, and also make sure to leave some to self sow. Butterfly weed turned me on to milkweeds in the garden. I always loved milkweed as a child, and now I have several varieties, some wild some purchased. My most recent acquisition is a native swamp milkweed. Butterfly weed is one of the "more delicate" milkweeds. Its leaves seem finer and less coarse and it's stem more delicate. it really deserves to be in more gardens.

Milkweed is no longer a "weed" in my garden, it's a welcome perennial. It attracts bees and butterflies. It doesn't invade other beds and isn't taking over my lawn. I have nothing but good to say about it.

Positive MaryArneson On May 23, 2014, MaryArneson from Minneapolis, MN (Zone 4b) wrote:

I have started A tuberosa from seed in the past, but it had died out in my garden several years ago, so this year I decided to try again. Some seeds that I tossed onto an undrained flower tub and left under a snow bank, then allowed to drench in spring rain managed to germinate better than the ones I fussed over.

Positive coriaceous On May 14, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Hardly a weed, this is a choice and very beautiful hardy perennial native to eastern and central North America. The flowers come in a vibrant range of colors ranging from yellow through orange to scarlet, though it's most commonly a yellow-orange. "Hello Yellow" is a reliable yellow-flowered seed strain. "Gay Butterflies" is a seed mix that's mostly orange with some yellow and, despite the misleading catalog photos, little if any red. "Red Butterflies" is a different species, the tender tropical Asclepias curassavica, and "pink butterfly weed" is Asclepias incarnata.

It can be found in the wild growing on acid soils and on limestone soils. Likewise, it can be found on sandy soils and on clay. The most common forms in cultivation strongly prefer sandy soils, but there are forms that do well on clay. (High Country Gardens offers one.) All perform best in full sun. Good drainage is necessary, dry soil is preferred once established.

To stress a point mentioned in other comments, it is very late to emerge from dormancy in the spring. A plant in a garden I tend appeared above ground on May 10 this year in Worcester, MA, at the cold end of Z6a. I recommend marking the location to keep from disturbing it when it's dormant.

It takes several years for this plant to attain its best performance---especially in length of bloom. As has been noted, mature plants can be made to rebloom by shearing the inflorescences as soon as bloom is finished.

Plants are taprooted and resent disturbance. Young plants transplant more easily than older ones. If you have to move one, it's best done in spring before it has much topgrowth.

Easily propagated by seed with a three month cold moist dormancy, or by root cuttings.

Positive bobbieberecz On May 14, 2014, bobbieberecz from Concrete, WA wrote:

bjrailey: Howdy neighbor! I'm also from Concrete and have the much shorter yellow form of this flower (it also comes in a taller 3 ft. yellow form that is too tender for our area). Your post is dated March----way too early up here for these plants to poke their heads through the soil. It's at least late April in an early year, and last year it was into May. I just returned from the Nursery yesterday on the hunt for more of the short yellow variety and they said they won't have them ready until later June because of the slow start (they said that last year as well). They did have a lot of the orange and a few of the pink in 2 inch pots. I wanted the orange but was cautioned that they are prone to root rot in our winter rains and usually don't make it. So I got the pink which is "more hardy and less prone to root rot". Give it a little more time. My established yellows popped above the soil late April. I cut mine to the ground every fall. I'm trying to get them to reseed from the spent flowers, but have had only minor luck. My soil is sandy loam and some of the info states these flowers like soggy wet conditions. That'll never happen in my garden. The new pink will be a test this year. Good luck and happy gardening!

Positive kevinsmom1 On Mar 28, 2014, kevinsmom1 from Raleigh, NC wrote:

I planted two butterfly weeds (pardon the word weed) last year, one orange and one yellow. I am in zone 7b. I keep hearing be patient, they are late to start. Any idea of how "late" they are? We had a terrible winter here this year and I am afraid between the cold and the wet I have lost them. Any idea?

Positive bjrailey On Mar 17, 2014, bjrailey from Concrete, WA wrote:

Hi everybody! This is my first post. I need your help. At this time I have 2 of these plants and I just love them. I just need to know if I was supposed to cut down the plant for winter? It is almost Spring, and these poor babies look deader than a door nail! I have read all the comments, and most in my zone (8) say they come back, but no one mentions cutting what look to be dead limbs and trunk? If there is any one that can help me I sure would apprieciate it.

Positive susanspeak On Oct 3, 2013, susanspeak from Scottsdale, AZ wrote:

I live in Scottsdale, AZ, and although I see no other AZ entries, I can positively state that this plant has come to live in my yard on a volunteer basis, and I love it! It's doing great, and although I have several mature specimens, I also have babies now too. I am enjoying this plant immensely and haven't had to care for it at all to date.

Neutral Siirenias On Sep 21, 2013, Siirenias from Oak Park, CA wrote:

This is a native to the dry clay of Conejo Valley near Los Angeles, CA.

I just wanted to note that this should do just fine in dry clay.

Also, I recently had the opportunity to watch a Monarch Butterfly lay its eggs on an A. tuberosa. It wasn't flowering, so I don't think the flowers are what attract fertile females.

They do look pretty scraggly when the stripey caterpillars have their way with the plants, but people usually buy the plants for the caterpillars, not the narrow, simple leaves.

Positive ratlover1 On Aug 8, 2013, ratlover1 from Rising Sun, IN wrote:

I wanted to add a quick note; one user asked about the emergence of asclepias in the spring: Yes, it is VERY slow to emerge! I don't usually see any sign of my plants until May, sometimes late in the month.
It might be helpful to mark it in some way so you don't accidentally dig into it in early spring before it emerges, especially in a mixed border or garden!

Neutral esilver On Jul 6, 2013, esilver from Orillia
Canada wrote:

I am trying to support Monarchs ...
I have plot of asclepias that is now three years old, and I have yet to see a monarch butterfly come near it. There never seem to be many monarchs in our area. This year I had a huge amount of flower heads about to bloom, but it seems that something has eaten them. There are no bugs on the plants but the flower heads look like they have been chewed off. It happened last year too. Will monarchs still be attracted to milkweed if they have no flowers? What could be eating them? I'm thinking possibly racoons or groundhogs are eating the flower heads. If so I will move them and fence them off next year, but could it be birds eating them? If so I give up....

Positive plant_it On Jun 30, 2013, plant_it from Valparaiso, IN wrote:

Asclepias tuberosa is very important to butterflies. It is the larval food plant of Queen and Monarch butterflies. Hummingbirds and bees are also attracted.

Butterfly Weed is a species of milkweed native to eastern North America. It is a perennial plant growing from 10 inches to 3 ft tall, with clustered orange or yellow flowers from early summer to early fall. This plant favors dry, sand or gravel soil, but has also been reported on stream margins. It requires full sun.

Positive saskboy On Feb 22, 2013, saskboy from Regina, SK (Zone 3b) wrote:

love this plant for the color of the flowers and the sturdiness of its structure. It blooms for a long time and needs no special care. It is somewhat drought tolerant and needs to be in well drained soil to thrive. the more sun you can give it, the better it will bloom. Aphids do seem to love it, but other than spraying them off with a hose, I dont do anything else, the aphids seldom do any major or permanent damage. Ive had monarchs lay eggs on this plant and had the pleasure of seeing them hatch into beautiful butterflies--that alone is worth growing them for.
keep in mind that these plants are quite late to emerge in the late spring. dont despair -- they dont come up until late may here, but make up for lost time very rapidly. Overall, I would have to classify these as being more useful in the wildflower or rustic garden than in formal beds and borders.

Positive TAOR On Oct 23, 2012, TAOR from Houston, TX wrote:

A friend gave me two pots with a couple of stalks of milkweed in each. They grew prolifically to a height of about 4.5 feet. But then the aphids struck. I didn't want the aphids spreading so I cut it all back to 4" stalks and then went on a two week vacation. When I got back yesterday, both are growing back well, but one is covered in aphids again. This time I looked through all the posts here and one of the readers provided two links. One with plants to grow that attract the predatory insects that will eat the aphids so that I like having aphids. Thank you to whomever shared that information.

Positive cartoongrower On Sep 16, 2012, cartoongrower from Pinehurst, NC wrote:

I work in a garden center and a few years ago a client donated a Mexican Butterfly weed, Asclepias curassavica, from which I have sold plants from its cuttings for the past three seasons. As for APHIDS which love this plant, I use a heavily diluted solution (10 to 1) of Seargent's tick and flea shampoo to control them. I'm sure any flea shampoo would work. I spray the day I first see them...they love the most tender parts of the plant (new growth which can be in several areas of the plant). My experience is that aphids congregate just below the blooms and on the underside of the leaves below the bloom. The small offshoots on the plant are also very tender and often have tiny leaves whose undersides are covered with aphids.
The next day after spraying, the golden colored aphids will be dead and black. I spray them off the plant for looks and to be able to monitor improvement. It takes about three weeks of treatment every time they show up but eventually they move on until the next time they appear.
The plant and the pollinators that frequent it are well worth the trouble.

Negative patriciaarln On Jul 8, 2012, patriciaarln from Arlington, VA wrote:

I'm certainly not negative about butterfly milkweed! But it just won't grow in my clay soil. I've planted it (nursery plants) twice and it grew well but didn't return the next year. I'm now trying Asclepias incarnata which is supposed to be more clay-tolerant.

Negative Barrysewall On Jun 28, 2012, Barrysewall from Larsen, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:

Does this plant roots enjoy less moisture or ?

Please let me know....
Barry

Positive VicPinto On May 26, 2012, VicPinto from Ocean Grove, MA wrote:

This is my third year with this plant from seed. I planted about 30 plants in 2010. In 2011 I got some very small plants and some flowering. This year, all I can say is wow! The plants are huge and there are plenty of seedlings from last year's seeds. I was going to grow some more seed but after seeing how profusely it self seeds I decided there was no need. I can't wait to see them in bloom this year and hopefully I'll get some monarchs too.

Neutral cougarvamp45 On Apr 11, 2012, cougarvamp45 from Bridgeview, IL wrote:

I planted 4 of these last year, without knowing much about the plant. Only 1 came up, it was under a rose bush, & didn't get enough sun. It remained small, but I did get some beautiful orange blooms on it. I'm giving this a neutral rating, because it's spring, & I don't see any signs of any of the 8 Milkweed plants I planted last year. Are they slow to emerge, or did they die off?

Positive monarch_lady2 On Oct 24, 2011, monarch_lady2 from Santa Monica, CA wrote:

There a number of comments about aphids on the milkweed plants. Milkweed plants are plagued by very yellow aphids at certain times of the year. There were recommendations to put ladybugs on the plants to control the aphids. While that will control the aphids, it is important to know that the ladybugs will also eat the monarch caterpillars when they first hatch. If your goal is to provide the milkweed for monarch caterpillar food don't use ladybugs. Instead just put on some gloves and wipe the aphids off. They are very soft and just squish. It's easy to tell the aphids from monarch eggs. Eggs are almost always on the underside of the leaves and are creamy white. Aphids are bright yellow, usually on the stems and you can see them moving.

Positive SueDuffy On Oct 22, 2011, SueDuffy from San Antonio, TX wrote:

From a sm. 3" pot planted early this spring in full sun, these lovely flowers have spread to several locations in my gardens. This fall the are home to dozens of Monarch butterflies, but more importantly, the Monarch catepillars which I visit every morning. In prior years, Monarchs have zeroed in on my parsleys, eating them to the nub. I am thrilled at this butterfly host. Small small plants transplant quite easily, and I've gathered the seeds to share.

Neutral tlhowes On Oct 6, 2011, tlhowes from Sweet Home, OR wrote:

Asclepias tuberosa is also known as Tuberous Milkweed.
The large white tubers of this plant are edible.

Positive sonoranpoet On Jun 14, 2011, sonoranpoet from Cave Creek, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

3rd season in zone 5b, Salt air and tough exposure and lousy sandy soil and these plants love it. Might not get as tall here as some other places but makes a lovely cutting for bouquets and fall interest. Easy to miss coming out of the ground initially...be careful how you rake early in the spring. I planted these in a (loose) triangular array of about 12 and they are striking in July and part of August

Positive sarahal On Jun 13, 2011, sarahal from Charlotte, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Love love love this plant. In my zone 7B (headed for 8 I'm afraid) NC garden, they are in full sun on a small slope. (A. incarnata gets the wetter spot.) I just moved last fall and the monarchs haven't found the new garden yet, but I'm sure they'll be along soon.

Yes, they get the bright yellow aphids, but those don't hurt anything so I leave them alone and pretend they're part of the show.

Positive runnerboy713 On May 14, 2011, runnerboy713 from Westborough, MA (Zone 5b) wrote:

Great butterfly plant, with additional autumn interest with the seed pods. Sometimes nursery bought plants haven't survived for me, but given an ideal location and care during their first year, they will thrive.

Positive lindanat On May 3, 2011, lindanat from Asbury Park, NJ wrote:

Maybe this is not the place to ask . . when this plant returns, rather than seeding, can anyone tell me what the sprout looks like? I think I may have been pulling mine out thinking it was something else. Also, I put one into a place that I did not realize would stay very wet after rains. This trooper even thrived in this wet soil, contrary to everything I've read before!

Positive WoodsGrower On Apr 2, 2011, WoodsGrower from Ashville, OH wrote:

I found this plant growing wild in our local area, and the striking orange-yellow flowers impressed me so much I waited until the seed pods matured and gathered seeds. The first attempt to plant them failed, since I had not stratified them with the cold they needed to sprout. Later success has yielded several dozens of plants on my 1.25 acre lot. It is gorgeous, and attracts monarchs by the dozen when in full bloom. I allow the butterflies to lay their eggs and do what they will with the plants, since monarchs do seem to be in decline recently.

If aphids attack in force, do a search for Ladybugs, and arrange situations that attract and hold them to your yard and garden area, We have a large Ladybug population locally, and when the aphids appear, so do the Ladybugs, who make short work of them, eating hundreds a day. You can buy dormant Ladybugs, but will need to provide an environment that will hold them in your yard. If you buy some, release them on a cool and cloudy day, since on warm days they will likely just fly away after release. Several of the tiny wasps predate aphids as well, and they can be purchased also.

Every year I get aphids on my tomato plants, but with a week or two the Ladybugs and wasps decimate them, and they are not a problem for the remainder of the season.

Positive ferngrrl On Mar 14, 2011, ferngrrl from New Orleans, LA wrote:

Monarchs lay their eggs on *milkweeds*, genus Asclepias, not on butterfly weed alone. Butterfly weed is one kind of milkweed.

Lovely flowers, too.

The sole plant I planted last early summer did well in the back yard--very leggy, kind spindly looking, got devoured by monarchs, hosted their chrysalises (sp?), regrew its leaves and flowers, and did the whole cycle few more times before the freezes we had in the winter (2010).

Gets full, hot sun all day, has no protection from north wind. Because I hadn't protected it during the freezes, I thought it was a goner. But now, in March 2011, it's flowering and leafing out. And four monarchs hovered around it yesterday, same for the butterfly bushes (Buddleia davidii) in the front yard (which stayed green during the winter & freezes, with no protection, planted near the street, east side) .

Positive mountainman72 On Mar 8, 2011, mountainman72 from Broomfield, CO wrote:

If you love Monarch Butterflies then you should know that their populations were estimated to have been cut in HALF in 2010 due to harsh Mexican winters, destruction of habitat, and pesticides! There are easier ways to control pests in the garden with plants like strongly scented marigolds or borage.The butterfly weed is native in CO and it's also the mainstay of the Monarch butterfly diet. Not only is it one of few plants the Monarch eats, but it's the ONLY plant that the monarch butterfly lays its eggs on. Wouldn't it be cool to see monarch caterpillars in your garden? I read a comment below about problems with aphids on these plants, I sure hope they weren't seeing butterfly eggs and mistakenly thought they were aphids. If they were indeed aphids here is a handy little website that teaches us how to attract beneficial insects with plants (like ladybugs that eat aphids by the hundreds).
http://www.grinningplanet.com/2005/04-26/beneficial-insect-n...

Also, here is an article about how to repel pests outright with naturally pest-repelling plants http://www.pallensmith.com/articles/pest-control-plants

12 more days until spring!

Neutral tulpen On Oct 20, 2010, tulpen from Los Angeles, CA wrote:

Planted this interesting plant from a seedling in the spring, especially drawn to it for the benefit of butterflies. As of today, two timid, tiny branches - hoping that the info I read on " requires time to establish itself" holds true...

Positive kmm44 On Oct 19, 2010, kmm44 from Dayton, OH wrote:

I hope this doesn't get double posted. I was editing another before this and it disappeared.
I rescued some orange milkweed from the next yard when new owners were going to grass everything over. It thrived from the first day and 3 yrs later I divided it into 4 smaller clumps and transplanted them in 4 different places, two here in Dayton OH and two at my weekend home in St. Marys OH. They have thrived and bloomed all summer as before. I also have tall swamp milkweed that blooms pink and milkweed vine, which can be invasive, but I leave some for the Monarchs. This year some of the milkweed vine bloomed on a trellis with my sweet autumn clematis and they looked very nice together. I think the original orange clump was just so happy to be rescued that it rewarded me with its flowers, lol.
The aphids I get are very late in the season and I usually prune back the infested stems.

Positive harveyshot On Oct 18, 2010, harveyshot from Guthrie, OK wrote:

I love the plant for it's attraction to Monarchs. When we see a Monarch caterpillar on it, we wait until it grows a bit and then we put it in a small screen covered aquarium, feed it a lot of fresh leaves, clean the poop out (a lot for such little things!) and wait for it to coccoon and if your lucky, you'll get the chance to see it emerge. Fantastic to watch.

Yeah, the aphids love it but I try to hose off as many as possible.

Positive sadele On Oct 3, 2010, sadele from Sag Harbor, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:

I have 4 plants with about 25 seed pods on them. Several of the pods are cracking open now, with some of the seeds already sprouting in the pod! Have never seen that before. Leaves & pods have some mildew (very dry summer, lots of rain the past couple weeks) (NY Long Is.) but seeds and sprouts are fine.

Neutral Clary On Sep 27, 2010, Clary from Lewisburg, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

A very reliable perennial that has the added appeal of attracting butterflies.

The roots are tubers, and once they have matured to carrot-size, they are very hardy and will regenerate easily if the plant is damaged.

The color and texture of the flowers is a bit strange which is why I no longer grow it: a true carrot-colored orange with fleshy petals... It just didn't seem to work with the grasses, sages, and daisies of the typical perennial garden.

Neutral nwelsh On Aug 22, 2010, nwelsh from Downers Grove, IL wrote:

This is my second year with the plant and the first season for blooms. The flowers were very nice, but I (like many others) have aphids are ALL over the plants.... it does not seem to be harming the plant (other than it looks at little gross). I was happy to see a few caterpillars too. I'm guessing when there are more caterpillars, the plant may look a little ragged.

I don't want to spray anything since I do have butterflies and caterpillars, and bees all over these plants. I think instead I will just change the location for this plant. When visitors are waiting at the front door, the aphid infested plants are in full view. I think the caterpillars will increase and so I will just have raggedy, aphid infested plants. Also the number of bees on the flowers does alarm some people. The bees don't bother me, but a couple of times I have opened the door to someone in a panic. :)

That said I am still keeping the plant, but I plan to sow the seeds from the in a place further away from my pathway. This way I can still view (and support) the butterflies, without the plant being all that visible.

Neutral Biker1 On Aug 16, 2010, Biker1 from McLean, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

In July I planted 3 in a new bed. I just noticed that 2 are infested with Oleander Aphids. Got to get out the Bug Blaster and work on this problem.

Negative Montana2955 On Apr 26, 2010, Montana2955 from Oshkosh, WI wrote:

Butterfly Weed is one of my favorites and love it, but this year it sure looks like it is dead. Hopefully it will revive, but so far I am very disappointed.

Neutral HummingbirdDude On Dec 12, 2009, HummingbirdDude from Whitehall, PA wrote:

This plant is very beautiful and is really beneficial to wildlife. It also blooms for a long time. However, I found out that rabbits seem to really enjoy nibbling on this plant and aphids also like it as well. When I bought mine in August it was growing good until the rabbits and the aphids came along. I know think the plant is dead after all the abuse it suffered.I'll have to wait to spring to see if anything comes up.

Positive cedar18 On Aug 8, 2008, cedar18 from Lula, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I noticed a large patch had been mowed by the county when it was still blooming. Now, probably 6 weeks later, the plants are all up and blooming again! They managed this in all the weed and grass competition. I plan to cut mine back next year as others have mentioned here. This patch was mowed probably to 4 or 5" from the ground.

Positive Malus2006 On Jul 14, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

Becoming much more common on the urban roadside compare to 10 years ago. Seem willing to seed itself even in fully established grasses. Loves dry grassland condition with plenty of sun. Tough to get establishment for me - none had survived. The picture I submitted above is a larger than usual patch at the Minnesota Arboretum - on roadside they are usually smaller but very eye catching - the only orange flowers except for wild lilies (species unknown but may includes wood lilies and tiger lilies) and tawny daylilies in mid to late summer on roadsides. Even then, lilies tend to be more common in rural areas.

Neutral violentfemmexx1 On Jun 21, 2008, violentfemmexx1 from Cincinnati, OH wrote:

my sister had butterfly weed in her garden and i asked her to dig me up some. she told me that they do not transplant well. i bought seed packets from meijer and started them off using jiffy peat pellet greenhouse. they did well in the peat pellets but when i did transplant them into their new and permanent home, half of them died. very hard to transplant. start them off from seed where you want them to end up.

Positive NormaFlora On Mar 17, 2008, NormaFlora from Roseburg, OR wrote:

Bought my first plant from the Monarch Butterfly Garden in Elkton, Oregon. A fun place to visit if you love Monarch's.

Positive peachmcd On Aug 6, 2007, peachmcd from Durham, NC wrote:

I have three plants grown from seed, no blooms yet but the posts above give me faith that next year will be a showstopper. There are already Monarchs fluttering by. The aphids don't hurt the plants a bit, but I hose them off when I do my weekly watering. I've planted a patch of dwarf tithonia cultivar close-by that's coming into bloom now (8/6, 7b), and am hoping to have a nice patch of Monarch-bait, and seeds to save for next year's crop.

Positive frostweed On Nov 30, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Butterfly Weed Asclepias tuberosa is native to Texas and other States.

Positive kqcrna On Oct 6, 2006, kqcrna from Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

I wintersowed seeds last winter. Germination rate wasn't that high, but those that germinated grew to about 10 or 12 inches and bloomed in their first summer. Very pretty!

Karen

Positive CaptMicha On Jun 14, 2006, CaptMicha from Brookeville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

In my opinion, this the perfect plant. I'm never bored with it. It's beautiful with flowers that have a glowing quality. And it's attractive with the seed pods also.

It's a good drought resistant plant. You just kind of forget about it and it rewards you more than other flowers that you have to take care of.

I find that the monarchs will lay their eggs more on the soft leaved milkweeds rather than the tuberosa. Or maybe what's happening is the larvae are moving to the softer leaved milkweeds.

Like a previous post said, it really does come into it's own in it's third year! The plant's tripled in size and it's covered with flower buds.

Last year it was growing under some other plants and wasn't doing so well but after I cleared them away to give it full sun, it really picked up.

Positive SummerSun06 On Jun 13, 2006, SummerSun06 from Townsend, MA (Zone 5b) wrote:

I am not a big fan of orange flowers in m garden but this is one of the few that I have to include. It is trouble free and reliable. Butterflies really do love it. A must-have in butterfly gardens that are lacking in plants for caterpillars to feed on. Raised beds and sandy soil work great for me.

Positive Gabrielle On Jan 24, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

This is my favorite plant of the Asclepias family. It is really a nice height. I have read that it is hardy in zones 3-10. Light aids germination of seeds. Blooms June-July in my garden. Very aphid prone!

Positive chnall On Nov 11, 2005, chnall from Dallas, TX wrote:

I transplanted my asclepias tuberosa in August after 3 years in the wrong spot. I got as much of the tap root as I could. I cut it back by about 1/3. All the leaves fell off but it got new growth from the base and has a bloom on it. I have had trouble with aphids on my curassavica but none on my tuberosa until I moved it to the back with the curassavica. My curassavica got to about 6' in height and when it finished blooming, I cut it back to about 3 feet. It is blooming and again. Next year I will pinch it back to make it branch and cut it back after blooming. My lantana and butterfly weeds are the bright spot in my garden at this time of year.

Positive Sarahskeeper On Oct 27, 2005, Sarahskeeper from Brockton, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

I've found that transplanting 1 year old plants can be tricky with that tap root. I plant them in groups of 3 or 5 about a foot apart so loosing one is no problem.
For best results, transplant just as they emerge in spring.
Andy P

Positive JaxFlaGardener On Jun 28, 2005, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

It self seeds easily. I started with one plant and now have about a dozen after one year. The seedlings can be transplanted without too much shock if you identify them early and move them to simailar growing conditions.

Neutral janders On Apr 4, 2005, janders from Rockwall, TX wrote:

Last year was the first year I got flowers, but they were so covered with aphids that I couldn't tell the flowers from the aphids. I did not spray with insecticide, but tried to control them with hard sprays from the garden hose. I will be patient and try one more year, but if it continues I will move it to the back of the yard where I won't see the aphids, just the color. UPDATE: I still have an aphid problem but this year my plant has been host to many Monarch butterfly caterpillars. Made all the hassle worthwhile!

Positive maggiemoo On Mar 8, 2005, maggiemoo from Conroe, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Don't sweat the aphids, that's one of the great "uses" of this plant! It does attract aphids, but the aphids don't hurt the plant. In return, the aphids stay off your roses and everything else, and they attract beneficials, such as ladybugs. Since I've had some of these in select areas of my rose bed, I've haven't seen even a hint of aphids on my roses!

They not only attract butterflies, especially Monarchs, they are the larval food of the Monarch butterfly - so leave those beautiful caterpillars be!

If you don't want them to re-seed, simply cut off the seed pod before it opens. My experience has been that the seedlings are easy enough to pull if they aren't where you want them to be.

I really love the flowers, so this plant is a hard "worker" in my garden - great looks, easy care, bug control, and butterfly nursery/attractant!

Positive missmuffit On Jan 1, 2005, missmuffit from Des Moines, IA (Zone 5a) wrote:

I was surprised how very easy it was to raise the cultivar 'Red Butterflies' from seed.
Each plant flowered and I got the bonus of seeing my first Monarch catepillar up close and personal. They completely ingested that one plant but I had several others for my viewing pleasure.
It makes me happy to know I am doing my part to continue the cycle of life - especially since the SOLE food source of the Monarch catepillar is milkweed. And urbanization is starting to deplete that wild food source.
A beautiful and exciting plant!

Positive suncatcheracres On Nov 10, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

Try planting this plant with Tithonia rotundifolia (a perennial often grown as an annual that self sows) as A. tuberosa provides food for the larval stage of Monarchs, but Tithonia, or Mexican Sunflower, provides nectar for the adults, and Tithonia's spectacular orange-red flowers attract the Monarchs to your garden in the first place.

I recently saw the two plants growing together in a lovely garden in Gainesville, Florida, and the plants were covered with butterflies. Their orange/yellow flowers go well together, and the usually taller Tithonia, to about six feet, looked nice behind the shorter Butterfly weed. There are also shorter cultivars of Tithonia that would look good mixed with the Butterfly Weed. And I think if they were planted all mixed together, the uneaten foliage of the Tithonia would somewhat hide the unsightly eaten-down foliage of the Butterfly Weed once the Monarch caterpillars had finished with it.

As for the orange colored aphids, a good spray with the hose, or just wiping them off with some damp paper towels, will do a lot to diminish their numbers. They never seem to actually harm the plants, but I don't like to see them in my garden either, so I try to get rid of them, rather than get rid of the plants.

Positive dogbane On Nov 9, 2003, dogbane from New Orleans, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

If you really feel the need to control the aphids, and your planting is too big to use mechanical control, use one of the oil or soap sprays. These are non-toxic and kill by covering the aphids breathing holes. It's easy enough to avoid spraying the caterpillars. In my garden, the monarch larvae seem to keep the plants stripped most of the time (no matter how much I plant), so the aphids don't have much of a chance to do damage.

Positive onalee On Oct 29, 2003, onalee from Brooksville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Butterfly Weed is very prone to yellow oleander aphids - it pretty much comes with the territory. Some farmers use milk weed to draw aphids away from their crops. You can't spray insecticide or you will defeat the purpose of the milkweed - to raise Monarchs (among others.) I simply use a tissue and wipe them off from time to time, but they really don't hurt the plant or the caterpillars that I've found.

This is the first year I've had a butterfly garden, and I've raised 4 generations of Monarchs off of it this summer! A couple of weeks after one batch of caterpillars was gone, another would appear - always in groups. Make sure you get your seed pods EARLY in the year - my plants never bloomed again after June because they were constantly being eaten up - but I didn't mind because I loved watching the butterflies!

I planted Mexican Sunflower in with the milkweed to draw the adults to the area - it was a huge success! If you want Monarchs, you have to have milkweed and you have to let them eat it!

Neutral OMMD On Aug 23, 2003, OMMD wrote:

I live in Maryland and am thinking about giving this a try.

Positive mom2cats On Aug 19, 2003, mom2cats from Moorestown, NJ (Zone 7b) wrote:

I love this plant, as do the butterflies and bees. It grows easily in my garden with absolutely no "help" from me. That's a great plant in my opinion!

Positive nipajo On Jul 9, 2003, nipajo from Dallas, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I love Butterfly Weed, but they are hard to dig out - I had them growing all over the place. This year I have most of them in pots. I'm trying the yellow variety this year and so far no insect problems.

Negative jkom51 On Nov 14, 2002, jkom51 from Oakland, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Vigorous growth, beautiful next to gentian sage, but just could not keep the aphids off it! Every three days they were back again no matter what I used. Finally uprooted it and tossed it out. My garden consists of numerous small beds, many different individual plants together -- this has been the only plant suffering such heavy insect infestation.

Positive DavidPat5 On Jul 27, 2002, DavidPat5 from Chicago, IL wrote:

Butterfly Weed takes three years to really flower but after that they're really dependable. The seed pods have small flat seeds with silk on one end used to scatter them. These plants come up late in spring; mark them so you don't dig them up! Cutting them back about six inches after the first bloom finishes will cause them to flower again. I did have a problem with Aphids a couple years back. I just sprayed them off with the garden hose.

Neutral lantana On Jan 4, 2001, lantana from (Zone 7a) wrote:

Grows in Heat Zones 10-2.

Neutral SMSpear1 On Dec 17, 2000, SMSpear1 from Saint Louis, MO (Zone 5b) wrote:

Butterfly Weed is a perennial wildflower. It is hardy to USDA Zone 3. The plant will grow to 2 to 3 feet in height and 15 to 24 inches wide.

It thrives in light, sandy, well drained soil with full sun. It requires little fertilizer. Butterfly Weed lives up to its name, attracting monarchs and other butterflies.

Regional...

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

,
Auburn, Alabama
Saraland, Alabama
Trinity, Alabama
Tuscumbia, Alabama
Batesville, Arkansas
Deer, Arkansas
Fayetteville, Arkansas
Morrilton, Arkansas
Elk Grove, California
Merced, California
Oak Park, California
Oakley, California
Santa Monica, California
Broomfield, Colorado
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
Littleton, Colorado
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Cos Cob, Connecticut
Ellendale, Delaware
Wilmington, Delaware
Bartow, Florida
Bradley, Florida
Brooksville, Florida
Clearwater, Florida
Fort Meade, Florida
Fountain, Florida
Gainesville, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida (2 reports)
Keystone Heights, Florida
Niceville, Florida
Old Town, Florida
Oldsmar, Florida
Sarasota, Florida (2 reports)
Summerfield, Florida
Vero Beach, Florida
Atlanta, Georgia
Braselton, Georgia (2 reports)
Carrollton, Georgia
Rutledge, Georgia
Savannah, Georgia
Stone Mountain, Georgia
Valdosta, Georgia
Anna, Illinois
Aurora, Illinois
Bridgeview, Illinois
Cherry Valley, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois (2 reports)
Downers Grove, Illinois
Edwardsville, Illinois
Machesney Park, Illinois
Palmyra, Illinois
Pontiac, Illinois
Washington, Illinois
Waukegan, Illinois
Fishers, Indiana
Greenville, Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana
Logansport, Indiana
Rising Sun, Indiana
Valparaiso, Indiana
Des Moines, Iowa
Indianola, Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa
Marshalltown, Iowa
Nichols, Iowa
Urbandale, Iowa
Shawnee Mission, Kansas
Sterling, Kansas
Barbourville, Kentucky
Melbourne, Kentucky
Prospect, Kentucky
Somerset, Kentucky
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana (2 reports)
Slidell, Louisiana
Zachary, Louisiana
Zwolle, Louisiana
Brookeville, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland
Dracut, Massachusetts
Swansea, Massachusetts
Townsend, Massachusetts
Westborough, Massachusetts
Dearborn Heights, Michigan
Erie, Michigan
Grass Lake, Michigan
Pinconning, Michigan
Port Austin, Michigan
Saginaw, Michigan
Stephenson, Michigan
Albertville, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota (3 reports)
Rosemount, Minnesota
Young America, Minnesota
Carriere, Mississippi
Grenada, Mississippi
Madison, Mississippi
Mathiston, Mississippi
Cole Camp, Missouri
Saint Louis, Missouri
Saint Robert, Missouri
Sullivan, Missouri
Thayer, Missouri
Stockett, Montana
Blair, Nebraska
Lincoln, Nebraska (2 reports)
Andover, New Hampshire
Greenville, New Hampshire
Hudson, New Hampshire
Asbury Park, New Jersey
Frenchtown, New Jersey
Jamesburg, New Jersey
Jersey City, New Jersey
Moorestown, New Jersey
Whitehouse Station, New Jersey
Ballston Lake, New York
Bronx, New York
Buffalo, New York
Honeoye Falls, New York
Newfield, New York
Point Lookout, New York
Poughkeepsie, New York
Ronkonkoma, New York
Sag Harbor, New York
Stony Point, New York
Wallkill, New York
Warwick, New York
Durham, North Carolina
Flat Rock, North Carolina
Fuquay Varina, North Carolina
Greenville, North Carolina
High Point, North Carolina
Lake Toxaway, North Carolina
Norlina, North Carolina
Pinehurst, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina (2 reports)
Rougemont, North Carolina
Wake Forest, North Carolina
Ashville, Ohio
Bellaire, Ohio
Bucyrus, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio (2 reports)
Coshocton, Ohio
Dayton, Ohio (2 reports)
Glouster, Ohio
Madison, Ohio
New Carlisle, Ohio
Saint Marys, Ohio
Bartlesville, Oklahoma
Enid, Oklahoma
Guthrie, Oklahoma
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Thackerville, Oklahoma
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Elkton, Oregon
Roseburg, Oregon
Salem, Oregon
Sweet Home, Oregon
Albion, Pennsylvania
Brookhaven, Pennsylvania
Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Howard, Pennsylvania
Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
Norristown, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Sayre, Pennsylvania
Spring Grove, Pennsylvania
Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania
Wellsville, Pennsylvania
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Whitehall, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Wrightsville, Pennsylvania
Regina, Saskatchewan
Clemson, South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
Greenville, South Carolina
Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
Orangeburg, South Carolina
Prosperity, South Carolina
Spartanburg, South Carolina
Sumter, South Carolina
Benton, Tennessee
Christiana, Tennessee
Clarksville, Tennessee
Crossville, Tennessee
Hixson, Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee
Pocahontas, Tennessee
Viola, Tennessee
Alice, Texas
Arlington, Texas (3 reports)
Austin, Texas
Brownsville, Texas
Bulverde, Texas
Conroe, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Deer Park, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas (2 reports)
Georgetown, Texas
Grand Prairie, Texas
Hereford, Texas
Houston, Texas (2 reports)
Irving, Texas
La Vernia, Texas
Lake Jackson, Texas
Longview, Texas
Los Fresnos, Texas
Plano, Texas
Port Neches, Texas
Rosharon, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Sulphur Springs, Texas
Trinity, Texas
Tyler, Texas
Willis, Texas
Salt Lake City, Utah
West Dummerston, Vermont
Alexandria, Virginia
Great Falls, Virginia
Jonesville, Virginia
Leesburg, Virginia
Martinsville, Virginia
Mc Lean, Virginia
Newport News, Virginia
Onancock, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
Sterling, Virginia
Williamsburg, Virginia
Woodbridge, Virginia
Concrete, Washington (2 reports)
La Conner, Washington
Poulsbo, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Spokane, Washington
Elkins, West Virginia
Liberty, West Virginia
Black Earth, Wisconsin
Lake Delton, Wisconsin
Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Prairie Du Sac, Wisconsin
Cheyenne, Wyoming



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