photo of Asclepias tuberosa

Asclepias tuberosa

Butterfly Weed

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Butterfly Weed is a long-blooming, drought-tolerant, wildlife-friendly perennial. Its showy, bright orange flowers bloom in flat-topped clusters,...

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Description:

Butterfly Weed is a long-blooming, drought-tolerant, wildlife-friendly perennial. Its showy, bright orange flowers bloom in flat-topped clusters, June-August. The nectar is attractive to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds; it has special value for native bees. The flowers are followed by attractive seed pods, which are used in dried flower arrangements. Butterfly Weed is a host plant for butterfly and moth larvae (caterpillars), including Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus), Queen (Danaus gilippus), and Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus). Butterfly Weed does not have milky sap like other milkweeds; however, like other milkweeds, the leaves contain cardiac glycosides. When ingested by Monarch butterfly larvae feeding on the leaves, these substances make them (and the adult butterflies) toxic to birds and other predators. This plant’s deep tap root makes it difficult to transplant once established. Use Butterfly Weed in sunny borders, meadows, rain gardens, and butterfly gardens.

Plant Details:

Other Common Names: Butterfly Milkweed

Plant Type: Flower, Perennial

New Jersey Native: Yes

Deer Resistance: Some

Attracts Pollinators and Wildlife: Bees and Other Pollinators, Butterflies, Hummingbirds

Salt Tolerance: Low to None

Hardiness Zone: 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b

Physiographic Region: All Regions in NJ

Grows in Special Ecoregions: Barrier Island/Coastal, Pinelands

Soil Characteristics

Soil Type: Loam, Organic, Sandy

Soil Moisture: Well-drained

Soil pH: Acidic, Slightly Acidic

Light Needs of Plant

Optimal Light: Full Sun

Light Range: Full Sun

Water Needs of Plant

Soil Moisture: Well-drained

Drought Tolerance: High

Size and Growth Rate

Height: 1.5 - 3 ft

Spread: 1 - 2 ft

Growth Rate: Slow