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Butterfly Weed - Butterfly Garden Plants

Butterfly Weed - Butterfly Garden Plants

Marie Iannotti

Butterfly weed is high in nectar and attracts butterflies and pollinating bees. You'll probably even get some swallowtail caterpillars snacking on the leaves, since Asclepias is in the milkweed family, a host plant for the swallowtail butterfly. But Asclepias tuberosa is much better behaved than common milkweed.

Butterfly weed is one of the last plants to emerge in the spring, so be patient. It has a long tap root and doesn't like to be moved, once it's established. But you get a hand full of volunteers each year, to keep your garden fresh or to give to friends.

Asclepias is extremely drought tolerant, because of its tap root. It also doesn't really need deadheading to keep blooming. You might want to deadhead to keep it tidy, but like its cousin the milkweed, butterfly weed will develop attractive green seed pods that are nice in arrangements.

Asclepias tuberosa - Butterfly Weed (USDA Zones 3 - 9, 2-3' x 2', Orange Blooms: Repeat Bloomer)

Alternatives:

  • Asclepias tuberosa 'Gay Butterflies' (USDA Zones 4 - 9, 2-3' x 2', Orange, Red & Yellow Blooms: Repeat Bloomer)

  • Kniphofia spp. - Red Hot Poker (USDA Zones 5 - 9, 3-4' x 3', Orange, Red & Yellow Blooms: Repeat Bloomer)
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