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Asclepias, Butterfly Milkweed, Butterfly Weed, Pleurisy Root 'Gay Butterflies'

Asclepias tuberosa

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



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

Ferriday, Louisiana

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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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

Not much different from the species.

Blooms June-August in my garden.


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.


On Nov 18, 2006, Marilynbeth wrote:

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


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.


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


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.