Asclepias Species, Butterfly Milkweed, Butterfly Weed, Pleurisy Root

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)
Synonym:Acerates decumbens
Synonym:Asclepias decumbens
Synonym:Asclepias elliptica
Synonym:Asclepias revoluta
Synonym:Asclepias rolfsii
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Foliage Color:

Dark Green


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


15-18 in. (38-45 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)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

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

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

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

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Auburn, Alabama

Saraland, Alabama

Trinity, Alabama

Tuscumbia, Alabama

Batesville, Arkansas

Deer, Arkansas

Fayetteville, Arkansas(2 reports)

Morrilton, Arkansas

Elk Grove, California

Garden Grove, California

Long Beach, California

Merced, California

Oak Park, California

Oakley, California

Santa Monica, California

Stockton, California

Walnut Creek, California

Broomfield, Colorado

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Denver, Colorado

Littleton, Colorado

Wheat Ridge, Colorado

Cos Cob, Connecticut

Westbrook, Connecticut

Wethersfield, Connecticut

Ellendale, Delaware

Wilmington, Delaware

Bartow, Florida

Bradley, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Clearwater, Florida

Dunnellon, Florida

Fort Meade, Florida

Fountain, Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida(3 reports)

Keystone Heights, Florida

Miami, 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

Boise, Idaho

Algonquin, Illinois

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(2 reports)

Logansport, Indiana

Rising Sun, Indiana

Valparaiso, Indiana

Des Moines, Iowa

Indianola, Iowa

Iowa City, Iowa

Marshalltown, Iowa

Nichols, Iowa

Pacific Junction, Iowa

Urbandale, Iowa

Shawnee Mission, Kansas

Sterling, Kansas

Barbourville, Kentucky

Melbourne, Kentucky

Prospect, Kentucky

Somerset, Kentucky

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Minden, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana(2 reports)

Slidell, Louisiana

Zachary, Louisiana

Zwolle, Louisiana

Brookeville, Maryland

Centreville, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland

Riverdale, Maryland

Dracut, Massachusetts

Swansea, Massachusetts

Townsend, Massachusetts(2 reports)

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

Columbia, 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

Collingswood, New Jersey

Frenchtown, New Jersey

Jamesburg, New Jersey

Jersey City, New Jersey

Moorestown, New Jersey

Oaklyn, New Jersey

Whitehouse Station, New Jersey

Milan, New Mexico

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

Brevard, North Carolina

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(3 reports)

Coshocton, Ohio

Dayton, Ohio(2 reports)

Glouster, Ohio

Guysville, 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

Hermitage, Pennsylvania

Howard, Pennsylvania

Lancaster, 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

Newport, Rhode Island

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

Greeneville, 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(2 reports)

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

New Caney, 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

South Jordan, 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

Charleston, West Virginia

Elkins, West Virginia

Liberty, West Virginia

Black Earth, Wisconsin

Eagle, Wisconsin

Lake Delton, Wisconsin

Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Prairie Du Sac, Wisconsin

Racine, Wisconsin

Cheyenne, Wyoming

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 25, 2020, hamptons from Watermill, NY wrote:

Ugh! I planted a full grown plant last autumn. It came back this year, looked healthy & had caterpillars on it. Then the caterpillars disappeared and one of the branches hardened, curled turned light green, then yellowish, then black. I tossed it away, but the rest of the plant also became black & slimy & whatever disease it had spread to my verbena & killed them, too. Never had this happen with any other plant. Im done with it.


On May 16, 2020, fishy_popo from Hamilton, ON (Zone 5a) wrote:

I grow these plants along with my Asclepias incarnata here in downtown Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in my native garden. Its grows very well with lots of blooms and plenty of flowers. Migrating Monarch butterflies along with native pollinators in my province love this plant. I have also seen Monarch caterpillars on it too. It is a prolific seeder and I have seedlings from said seeds.


On Sep 2, 2019, BostonPlanted from Boston, MA (Zone 5b) wrote:

One of my all time favorite flowers and I don't usually prefer orange flowers. Just a bright happy ray of sunshine in the garden. If you have sandy soil, this is your friend. Thrives in sun and sandy loam. No fertilizer, no supplemental watering. Monarch caterpillars all over them, so many they sometimes eat the plants nearly leafless but they still come back the next spring! Bees and butterflies love the flowers. Multiply every year by seed. I plant the seedlings everywhere sandy and sunny. They look amazing with blue flowers like nepeta and with grasses. Last plant to come up in spring... don't forget where you planted them.


On Nov 18, 2017, Mark_B from Garden Grove, CA wrote:

Stratification isn't really that important in Southern California, specifically in the Los Angeles & Orange Counties. I bought some seeds from Tennessee in late October, sowed them, and they sprouted sprouted in two weeks in November. Our temperatures did not go below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 C) at night.


On Oct 18, 2016, djohn1996 from Zephyrhills, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Sorry I can't find how to delete a post, but just found out that the plants I have are Asclepias Curassavica, not Asclepias Tuberosa.


On Mar 27, 2016, RhodyDude from Takoma Park, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

I've had lots of luck with butterfly weed, growing in full sun in dry-mesic soil (sandy, drains fast). The plant is very happy and spreads, but not invasively. Long bloom time and stunning color. The seed pods are just cool and I don't seem to have a problem with lots of unwanted seedlings, although I've manually planted them, and the ones I place all seem to come up. About the only negative thing is that the plant is a bit slow to emerge in the spring. Otherwise, a great plant that deserves to be planted more widely.


On Jan 23, 2016, JBtheExplorer from Southeast, WI wrote:

This plant is a 10 out of 10. I've started Asclepias tuberosa from seed the past few years and have had nothing but success from them. I have 12+ now, and plan on at least doubling that number this year. They need dry to average soil, and a decent amount of sun. It seems to be a 50/50 chance on whether or not they'll bloom the first year. This plant is easy to keep control of. It doesn't spread underground the way other milkweeds do. The only way this plant spreads is by seed, and that can be easily maintained. The seedpods take about three months to fully develop, so you have plenty of time to cut them off if you choose to. You can also keep them on and collect the seeds when they ripen. This plant also has the brightest orange flowers I've ever seen, even on cloudy days. Even the foliage... read more


On Oct 9, 2015, tabasco from Cincinnati (Anderson Twp), OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

Fyi I hope everybody plants some kind of milkweed in their garden for the butterflies, but I think some of the reviews here are confusing and may discourage a gardener. Some reviewers mistakenly refer to milkweed/asclepias varieties/species other than the A. tuberosa, such as A. Incarnata, another milkweed perennial in northern gardens and which can be successful in moist loamy gardens and pond sides (hence the name Swamp Milkweed) and comes in shades of pink and a white variety as well, or A. currasavica, the popular 'tropical' milkweed and entirely different and available in red, orange and yellow, that is easy to grow from seed or shoots and blooms the first year but in the north can not sustain winter weather. All of the above are host plants for monarchs and more readily found at ... read more


On Aug 14, 2015, californiagardener from Walnut Creek, CA wrote:

Just got it and love it but HOLY crap..the aphids! (they actually look really cool but I'm afraid they will destroy the plant)


On May 9, 2015, Rockomama from Lexington, KY wrote:

I have grown milkweed from seed and
I just received 3 tubers of milkweed.
How deep should I plant them?


On Nov 29, 2014, LizaR from Gap, PA wrote:

I grew these from seed several years ago. They are very easy to grow from seed. Here in zone 6 they are late to come about in spring, usually sometime in May. They take 2-3 years to become fully established and bloom profusely. But to me they have been worth the wait. I planted them in front of some heavenly blue morning glories that climb all the way up and over my roof each summer. The contrast of bright orange against the bright blue is stunning.
I was advised by a few experienced gardeners that this plant is, at some point, usually attacked and infested with aphids. You can leave them for the ladybugs to eat or wash them off with a soapy water mix. I tried to blast them off with just water and that did not work after several attempts.
I have the orange variety a... read more


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, som... read more


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.


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

Makes a great cut flower.

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 stro... read more


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 "mor... read more


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?


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.


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.


On Sep 21, 2013, Siirenias from Oak Park, CA (Zone 9b) 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.


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!


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....


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.


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 mor... read more


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.


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 ... read more


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.


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

Does this plant roots enjoy less moisture or ?

Please let me know....


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.


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?


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.


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.


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.


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 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


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.


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.


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!


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 ... read more


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 gree... read more


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 teac... read more


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...


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 flow... read more


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.


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.


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.


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... read more


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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


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!



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... read more


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.


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!


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.


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


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.


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!


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" i... read more


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!


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 ... read more


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.


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... read more


On Aug 23, 2003, OMMD wrote:

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


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!


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.


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.


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.


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

Grows in Heat Zones 10-2.


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.