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Growing Butterfly Weed Plants: Tips On Butterfly Weed Care

Growing Butterfly Weed Plants: Tips On Butterfly Weed Care


By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

What is a butterfly weed? Butterfly weed plants (Asclepias tuberosa) are trouble-free North American natives that produce umbels of bright orange, yellow or red blooms all summer long. Butterfly weed is appropriately named, as the nectar- and pollen-rich flowers attract hummingbirds and hordes of butterflies, bees and other beneficial insects throughout the blooming season. Do you want to know more about how to grow butterfly weed? Read on.

Butterfly Weed Characteristics

Butterfly weed plants are milkweed cousins with tall, clumping perennials that reach heights of 12 to 36 inches (30-91 cm.). The blooms appear atop fuzzy, green stems, which are adorned by attractive, lance-shaped leaves. Butterfly weed plants spread by way of seeds, which are released from large pods in early autumn.

Butterfly weed grows wild in a variety of environments, including open woods, prairies, dry fields, meadows, and along roadsides. In the garden, butterfly weed looks great in wildflower meadows, borders, rock gardens, or mass plantings.

How to Grow Butterfly Weed

Growing butterfly weed requires very little effort. The plant, suitable for growing in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 9, thrives in bright sunlight and poor, dry, sandy or gravelly soil with a slightly acidic or neutral pH.

Butterfly weed plants are easy to grow by seed, but may not produce blooms for two or three years. Once established, butterfly weed is drought tolerant and blooms dependably from year to year. Also, keep in mind that butterfly weed has long, sturdy roots that make transplantation very difficult, so locate the plant in its permanent place in the garden.

Butterfly Weed Care

Keep the soil moist until the plant is established and showing new growth. Thereafter, water only occasionally, as butterfly weed plants prefer dry soil. Trim old growth every spring to keep them neat and healthy.

No fertilizer is required, and may even harm the plant.

Mealybugs and aphids may cause problems during the blooming season, but both are easily controlled by regular applications of insecticidal soap or horticultural oil.

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Asclepias Species, Common Milkweed, Butterfly Flower, Silkweed, Virginian Silkweed

Family: Apocynaceae (a-pos-ih-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Asclepias (ass-KLE-pee-us) (Info)
Species: syriaca (seer-ee-AK-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Asclepias apocinum
Synonym:Asclepias capitellata
Synonym:Asclepias cornuti
Synonym:Asclepias globosa
Synonym:Asclepias grandifolia

Category:

Water Requirements:

Sun Exposure:

Foliage:

Foliage Color:

Height:

Spacing:

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)

Where to Grow:

Danger:

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

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

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

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:

Allow pods to dry on plant break open to collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Regional

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

Dearborn Heights, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota(2 reports)

Croton On Hudson, New York

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Hillsborough, North Carolina

Winston Salem, North Carolina

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Gardeners' Notes:

On Aug 23, 2019, hamptons from Watermill, NY wrote:

I’m sorry I planted this. It’s spreading in my lawn. I’ve had it for three years now and every year it comes down with “the yellows” and dies by August. Problem is, August is when we get our monarchs. So here are the monarchs flying over to the patch because they see the pods and a few leaves . they lay eggs but there aren’t enough leaves to sustain them.

My common milkweed attracted milkweed bigs, milkweed beetles, milkweed weevils, tussock moth caterpillars (they will strip a plant bare overnight), earwigs, little flies with yellow bodies, the dreaded tachinid flies, garden spiders, ants, aphids, ladybugs, wasps. All of these bugs either tucked into the leaves and ate them or attacked caterpillars. This plant is a pest and doesn’t offer much for monarchs after all the ot. read more her problems the plant attracts. I wish I’d planted more swamp milkweed and less common milkweed.

On Jul 28, 2018, Mitchella from Pownal, ME (Zone 5b) wrote:

I grow three milkweeds: A. syriaca (Common) in a small field, and A. incarnata (Swamp or Pink) and A. tuberosa (Butterfly weed or Orange) in gardens. I have more often found butterfly adults and larva on incarnata and tuberosa than on syriaca, even though there are far more plants of Common Milkweed. As someone else noted, the Swamp and Orange milkweeds are fine for gardens as they do not spread by rhizomes - but they do self-sow vigorously. I also get other insects on the plant including milkweed bug, but I leave them alone as they are native and part of the ecosystem.

On Mar 26, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

As others have noted, this species is not the only host for Monarch caterpillars or adults. Butterfly weed (A. tuberosa) and swamp milkweed (A. incarnata) are much better garden plants, forming neat clumps and having showier flowers, and they're just as useful to the monarchs.

It's hard to control the spread of common milkweed (by rhizomes deep underground), and other insects usually render the plants unsightly. I'd leave it to the fields and roadsides, and plant the other milkweeds in the garden.

On Jun 24, 2013, plant_it from Valparaiso, IN wrote:

Milkweed is of vital importance to Monarch butterflies.

If you are interested in Monarchs, you must check out “Bring Back The Monarchs.” The goals of this program are to restore 20 milkweed species, used by monarch caterpillars as food, to their native ranges throughout the United States and to encourage the planting of nectar-producing native flowers that support adult monarchs and other pollinators -- http://monarchwatch.org/bring-back-the-monarchs/

On Oct 13, 2009, NordicFletch from Stanchfield, MN wrote:

Common Milkweed (A. syriaca), as well as some other milkweeds, is not only a food source for the Monarch butterfly -- it is a food source for Humans, too. Yes, it is edible.

The shoots (like asparagus, when the leaves are still "hugging" the stem), the flower bud clusters (they resemble broccoli) and the immature pods (like okra) are edible. Even the mature flowers are edible, as long as they have not begun to wilt. When harvested at the proper stage of development, you can eat these parts of the plant raw, steamed or boiled with no danger of being poisoned. If it were not edible, the Natives (the "Indians" of the Americas) would not have eaten it as a vegetable.

My source: "The Forager's Harvest", by Samuel Thayer, as well as many other "Wild Foods" enthusias. read more ts -- and my own personal experience eating this DELICIOUS vegetable.

On Aug 1, 2009, napdognewfie from Cumberland, MD (Zone 6a) wrote:

Grows wild all around here along the roads & in empty fields. I leave some volunteers grow for the butterflies & pull the ones in my way. Flowers smell wonderful especially if there are a number of them.

Last year my plants were covered with big, red Milkweed beetles. I spent all summer killing them by hand (gross!) I have only found one so far this year so I am hoping they are gone. Maybe this year, the butterflies will be able to lay their eggs.

On Feb 16, 2009, 10norsky66 from Berea, OH wrote:

We first allowed this so-called weed to remain because of its importance to monarch butterflies. We see many adults visiting our milkweeds, but have yet to find any eggs or caterpillars. Anybody have pictures to help me spot these stages?

In addition to the monarch connection, I appreciate the plants because their large fleshy leaves are an attractive contrast to the fine-textured foliage of nearby plants. Few pests have bothered them in the 6 or 7 years I've had them, but this past year I found I had to start limiting their spread.

My mother-in-law made pretty Christmas tree ornaments from the dried seed cases.

On Nov 16, 2008, DMgardener from (Daniel) Mount Orab, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

The Plant is FANTASTIC! THe flowers are extremely attractive to all butterflies (esp. Monarchs) in my area. The scent is phenomenal, very much like hyacinths. The only downside is small when the seedpods 'explode' they leave a whitish mess/cloud on the grass. It dissipates within a week. However, they DO NOT transplant well. Grow from seeds instead.

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

Common Milkweed Asclepias syriaca is native to Texas and other States.

On Jun 4, 2006, sallyg from Anne Arundel,, MD (Zone 7b) wrote:

A plant of pluses and minuses as others have described. Here in central MD, I rarely have seen any monarch action on my ten-plus year, healthy patch. I do always have milkweed bugs and often milkweed moths, which are interesting in their own right. The moth caterpillars clued me in on another type of milkweed that volunteered in my yard, as I saw them on it and figured it must be a close relative.

On May 29, 2006, fmanddk from Chicago, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

I feel in love with milkweeds after moving to Chicago and 'rescued' one from being dug out by landscapers. Well, that one root is now popping up all over my yard, even in a bed of Butterfly Weeds (which even thought they are also Asclepias don't seem to be as attractive to Monarchs as host plants).

Despite the fact that is not well bahaved, I love this plant. Last year we raised and released 3 Monarchs, and my son and I have already brought in 4 Monarch eggs to raise this year. And the smell of the flowers is heavenly!

Shortly after the milkweeds came, the milkweed bugs followed. Maybe that's why we haven't seen any pupae on the plants themselves.

On Jan 31, 2006, raisedbedbob from Walkerton, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

I've read that the young pods can be boiled and eaten in an emergency.

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

I like the look of Milkweed, I like the scent of its flowers, I like the butterflies it draws, but I don't like its invasiveness. I have a small yard, so have to have plants that are a little better behaved. Maybe if I had it in an area with poorer soil it would be better.

On Oct 23, 2005, Breezymeadow from Culpeper, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plant grows wild all over the Piedmont area of Virginia & my fields are full of it. Although I don't find the plant itself or its flowers particularly attractive, I do like the seedpods, which make lovely additions to fall & winter dried arrangements & crafts.

Although it is well-known as a food source for the Monarch Butterfly, I have yet to see any Monarch larvae on any of the plants around here, although the butterflies themselves are frequently spotted from late summer until frost. As a "butterfly " plant, I don't see even 1/10th of the number of butterflies that I do on other wild attracters such as Butterfly Weed & Thistle.

It is somewhat toxic to livestock, but is not attractive to them so is rarely eaten except in desperation. Still - I remove . read more it regularly from all pasture areas. It can come up as a pest in my vegetable garden, but is relatively easy to pull from moist soil.

All in all, I'm rather "neutral" on it as a garden plant, although I do understand it's importance in the "wild" scheme of things.

On Oct 22, 2005, zemerson from Calvert County, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

I haven't grown this in a garden, but from living in Rhode Island, I know it well. It seems to be a prolific spreader and has seedpods full of "milkweed silk" and seeds. Grows most often mixed in with beach plum and other seaside plants.

On Oct 23, 2004, SalmonMe from Springboro, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

This plant is definintely a HUGE attraction for adult Monarchs. It's important to also note that it is not only a preferred host plant, but Asclepias are the ONLY host plant for Monarch caterpillars. The Monarch larvae/caterpillars cannot survive without Asclepias as a food source.

On Jul 16, 2004, PurplePansies from Deal, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

I looooove asclepias syriaca. it is not the best garden plant because it will take its share of space. but if you plant it elsewhere. contain it etc. it is a great plant. I think it's pretty and the smell is. oooooohhhhh . heavenly. it's also a host for monarch butterflies. one of the most important hosta and the monarchs are loosing their habitat. find a place for this plant in your garden. you won't be dissapointed. Kids also love the fluffy seed pods and some people use the seedpods in crafts although I like poppies for this better . the smell is of lilacs and hyacinths. very strong and wafts on a summer evening :)

On Jun 6, 2004, CaptMicha from Brookeville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

No matter how much this plant spreads, it can't get on my bad side. I think the flowers from common milkweed are the most becomming of all the cultivated and other wild milkweed.

The plant yeilds large 4" round clusters of mauve flowers with broad leaves and thick stems.

The negative is that the stalks often fall over if the season was overly rainy. Also, this plant spreads by a vigourous underground root system and will come up all over the place if not controlled. I found that cutting the plants down to the ground continously (whenever they come back up) and disturbing the root system by digging up as much of it as possible elimates unwanted plants.

Common milkweed does not seem to be preferred over other milkweeds by monarchs and other butter. read more flies. They tend to pass over the common and go for swamp milkweed which has flat flower clusters and tender leaves.

Edited to note that this milkweed is extremely targeted by milkweed bugs and beetles due to it's thick stems and broad leaves.

On Apr 17, 2004, luvprimitive from Evington, VA wrote:

I have one bed that is devoted to my milkweeds. It's in my front yard. I love the blooms. You can smell them all over the front yard. But the plants are special to me because of the Monarch Butterflies. Every year I wait for them to lay thier eggs on my plants and hunt daily for the caterpillars to emerge. I bring them in the house and raise them until they become butterflies and then release them. Last summer I raised and released 14 monarchs. I supply the 1st grade classes at the school where I teach with caterpillars to raise each year also.

On Jan 4, 2003, poppysue from Westbrook, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

This milkweed is common in New England and grows wild along the roadsides and in open fields. Although the flower clusters are attractive, IMHO this is not a good choice for a garden plant. The deep fleshy roots will invade surounding plants and they're nearly impossible to dig out. I've dug 3 feet down trying irradicate it from some of my beds and it still pops back up like it was never disturbed.

On a positive note, it's a host plant to monarch butterflies. Adults love the flowers and the caterillars feed on the foliage. Plant it in an out of the way area where it can compete with grasses and weeds. It's tough enough to stand it's own ground and you'll be able to enjoy the butterflies it attracts.


What's wrong with my Butterfly Weed?

I bought this last year at a flea market. Two of them actually. They were perfect when I planted them. Within a month or two, both of them did what this one in the photos is doing and I thought they were both dead and gone.

Well, this one in the photo was one of the two originals and it came back this year. It looked great while the foliage was coming along. Then one by one the each stalk started to wilt and die back. I thought maybe some bugs were doing it so I put sevin all over it. Now the biggest stalk is wilting and just about dead. It didn't even get to the blooming point yet! :( Anyone know what caused this? Weather has been good and rain has been good too. Not sure what's up.

On a good note, I did find one growing in the field today while mowing! I dug it up and brought it to my flower bed. We'll see what that one does.

what do the roots look like? I think you will find that they aren't looking so good and not allowing the plant to take up water-hence the sudden wilt. That can happen from too much fert or a root fungus. Thats my best gues!

I haven't dug it up to check on the roots since it was still alive. What I might try it watering it directly and making sure it soaks in. Since it was a potted plant, maybe the surrounding soil was too tough for the roots to break into. I don't know. Worth a try I guess - it can't get any worse! :)

Butterfly weed, Asclepias Tuberos perfers a well drained, sandy soil. It doesn't like alot of moisture, it doesn't like clay.

When found in the wild it grows in sandy and rocky hill prairies in habitats that are also suitable for prickly pear cactus to grow.

Perhaps you have moist soil, clay soil, or are over watering it?

You put sevin on it? You do realize that most people plant butterfly weed to attract butterflies and to get caterpillars? You do realize that sevin would not be good for the butterflies or the caterpillars?

Please, please - don't ever put an insecticide on any plant in the milkweed family - such as asclepias or butterfly weed. That is a death sentence for Monarch caterpillars, which use it as a food plant.

There are other plants that are food plants for butterfly caterpillars, too. Never apply pesticides to them either. A little research may be necessary.

Wilt and dieback are usually not symptomatic of insect damage. It is usually a problem with the roots. The probable cause is either too much water (root rot), or too little water.

I specifically bought it for the butterflies. BUT. if it's dead, it won't do them any good right? :) That was my thought process when putting sevin on it. I rarely ever use anything like that because there's almost never a need to in my garden. Things are usually healthy enough to withstand the bugs. no matter how many there are.

The butterflies won't know there is Sevin on it. They will just know it's a food plant for babies and lay eggs on it.

In an attempt to offer up a good dose of aid .
Perhaps there's a varmint that has taken a likin' to the tuber underground (a vole) .. or, perhaps this site may provide some insight and info, for ya. Here > http://www.caes.state.ct.us/PlantPestHandbookFiles/pphB/pphbutwfl.htm

Hope you're able to determine the problem and get a 'fix' going soon, hc .

I know I do have voles. plenty of them. I see those small holes in several places in my beds. but not near the butterfly weed. It's possible they could be tunneling under it though. Not sure. I've got lots of moles too :( I haven't been very diligent lately about mole exterminating via trap. The only problem with moles is they can kill my smaller/new plants when they're pushed out of the ground or the soil is removed from around the root ball, leaving the plant to basically sit there with no soil to grow into except for a little sliver on the sides.

Back to the Sevin thing. I do agree completely that it's best to never use products like that and it's rare that I do. That's why the bag of sevin I have is maybe 5 years old and it's still almost half full. However, on the 18 acres of trees, meadow and lawn we have, I'm ok with having one single plant with a little sevin on it.

You never really said what type of soil you have. Is it clay?

Mostly hard clay. Where this was planted it was somewhat amended, but not too much.

Interesting note. The one I found growing in the field the other day was in fairly heavy clay and it was doing great. After digging up as much soil as I could with the plant and moving it, it's doing pretty well. It wilted down a little as expected (90 degrees and sunny when moved), it's perked back up some - and I didn't even cut it back :) I think it'll so ok.

Here's the one I dug up and moved from the field about a week ago. It looks good :) I think this one will do well.

There are some variants of butterfly weed that will grow in clay. I know prairie nursery has cultivated a clay variant. Perhaps you have found of those .

I have seen my favorite Butterfly weed growing in red clay all over NC. And I have spent atleast $100. on plants. I now believe the only way I will have some is from seed planted where I want them to grow.
They have a taproot that is very long and they don't take to being transplanted. If you dig a wild one be sure and get as deep as possible under the plant. If I had one in my lawn, I would just put a little fence around it and make it an "island" garden. Might cut the bottom out of a 3# coffee can and sink it around my Butterfly weed.
Sidney

I'd say I dug down about 1 foot. The ball of soil was about 1 foot across as well. a fairly big clump of soil. I did see a small piece of tap root coming out the bottom, but it wasn't very big. I guess I got most of it in the soil I dug up.

I have this EXACT problem with Butterfly weed. I think I may have overwatered the one last year, even though it bloomed and managed to produce seed before it died and didn't come back. This year I planted in a hot dry spot in less rich soil, and one branch on one of them is wilting in the exact way you describe above, just like last year's.

I'm not sure what's going on, I have chipmunks but see no holes near this year's new flower bed.

I have been planting asclepias tuberosea but this year I am also trying an a. incarnata to see if it does better.

it may look dead, but if you just cut it back and don't water so much, i have a feeling new growth will sprout up soon.

Incanarta is much easier to grow. And the monarchs prefer it over tuberosa.

A. incanarta prefers moist rich soil, just about opposite from a. tuberosa, although i have grown them both side by side. in well drained soil.

In a landscape setting, A. tuberosa is known to be bit finicky. commonly referred to as a short lived perrenial.

My incanarta last year was so inundated with caterpillars it never bloomed. it was just about eaten down to just sticks.

I had one Butterfly Weed wilt this year, others in the same area are fine. I, too, sprinkled it with Seven but it withered and looks dead now. Will go out in the morning and cut it off so the butterflies don't see it and lay eggs on it!


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Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming. "WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org


As far as dogs eating a plant and getting seriously ill, I read that azalea is high on the toxic list, yet one of the most commonly planted shrubs in this area for decades. No one seems concerned. Animals aren't usually driven to eat something that is toxic and probably tastes bad.


sallyg said: Butterfly weed most commonly refers to Asclepias tuberosa. It may self sow but I don't think it's as much a spreader as the 'wild' common A. syriaca- that one goes all over.
Maybe put the nectar plants near the dog fence, and the milkweeds farther.

As far as dogs eating a plant and getting seriously ill, I read that azalea is high on the toxic list, yet one of the most commonly planted shrubs in this area for decades. No one seems concerned. Animals aren't usually driven to eat something that is toxic and probably tastes bad.

It is the orange butterfly weed. Yes, I have planted the non-toxic nectar plants in the area up against their fence. I think I'll just place the butterfly weed somewhere sort of far from the butterfly garden and dog yard. I had a reblooming azalea, but it died this winter. I honestly don't like planting any plant that is potentially dangerous to my dogs. My acceptions have been my arborescens hydrangeas, as they're very tidy shrubs, and daffodils. The daffodils were there by accident. My dogs hang out on the deck a lot, so I put no high toxic plants on there.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming. "WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org


I can't ever trust my dogs to not eat something. They're carnivores whose diet is just 60-70% meat. They're quite fond of sampling greens. My dogs will eat anything from the wall to rose thorns. My chihuahua/corgi mix even ate a highly toxic caterpillar, and needed an emergency vet visit. A lot of plants dogs can actually eat and it's healthy for them. Those are the plants I feel safe to plant around the dog yard.


My hydrangeas and now dead azalea, are outside of the dog yard and blocked by the south side of the house. Sometimes I take my dog out on a leash to join me in touring the garden, and he goes straight for the hydrangea/azalea area for peeing.

I can't ever trust my dogs to not eat something. They're carnivores whose diet is just 60-70% meat. They're quite fond of sampling greens. My dogs will eat anything from the wall to rose thorns. My chihuahua/corgi mix even ate a highly toxic caterpillar, and needed an emergency vet visit. A lot of plants dogs can actually eat and it's healthy for them. Those are the plants I feel safe to plant around the dog yard.

My daughter has a dog that does the same. The pup has been to the vets a number of times, and nearly died once. Doesn't matter, the next new thing, plant/animal/mineral, it doesn't matter, it goes into her mouth. Folks used to say, children who did that had a mineral deficiency, but I'm not sure I believe that. I wish I knew what caused it.

As to the butterfly bush, I imagine it depends on where you live. Around here it is considered a noxious, invasive weed. I believe it is on the "No Plant" list. While not exactly "illegal" it has fallen out of favor to the point, I don't think I've seen it being sold in nurseries several years now.


is not
butterfly BUSH= genus Buddleja , planted as nectar source for flying insects, and listed invasive or noxious in places. see link
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.


My daughter has a dog that does the same. The pup has been to the vets a number of times, and nearly died once. Doesn't matter, the next new thing, plant/animal/mineral, it doesn't matter, it goes into her mouth. Folks used to say, children who did that had a mineral deficiency, but I'm not sure I believe that. I wish I knew what caused it.

As to the butterfly bush, I imagine it depends on where you live. Around here it is considered a noxious, invasive weed. I believe it is on the "No Plant" list. While not exactly "illegal" it has fallen out of favor to the point, I don't think I've seen it being sold in nurseries several years now.

My poor dog is three years old, and still wants to sample everything. I have to keep him on a short leash (metaphorically and literally) at all times. I think it's just more a behavioral thing. My boy was a stray as a puppy and left without a mom way too early. He loves everything about the outdoors and even basks in the sun when it's 90 degrees. I don't allow him to do that for long, though. I have no idea how he distinguishes them, but he loves sniffing out elm leaves and eating them.

I know butterfly bush is invasive in the western part of the U.S, but it isn't invasive here. I was talking about butterfly weed, though. I think both plants are absolutely gorgeous, and now have both


sallyg said: butterfly WEED= A. tuberosa (commonly), food for monarch larvae, as are other Asclepias

is not
butterfly BUSH= genus Buddleja , planted as nectar source for flying insects, and listed invasive or noxious in places. see link
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.

I've had several butterfly bush over the last few years, and I can say they definitely don't seem invasive here. They actually struggle a lot, and I've lost/almost lost a few. I still prefer to get the sterile varieties, as I always worry that birds are carrying their seeds far and causing an invasive outbreak somewhere.

Yes, my dogs get a waft of urine from wildlife and pests and they HAVE TO pee in that spot.


luis_pr said: "he goes straight for the hydrangea/azalea area for peeing."

Yes, my dogs get a waft of urine from wildlife and pests and they HAVE TO pee in that spot.

Honestly, I'm okay with my dog peeing around my gardens. It seems to keep the deer away to an extent. The rabbits definitely know not to come near my dog's territory. He's caught them a few times.


How to Grow Butterfly Weed

Posted by reanice team on Mar 29, 2019

Are you growing a garden and wish to attract more butterflies? Butterfly Weed is great for attracting butterflies, insects, and even hummingbirds! Butterfly Weed can be either planted outside in Autumn, or indoors right after Winter.

Planting Outdoors

1.Purchase Butterfly Weed seeds. Plant nurseries, plant stores, and nature stores sell them.

2.Decide where you want to plant them in your garden.

  • Butterfly Weed grows well in many types of soil, whether it's dry soil, clay soil, or rocky soil.
  • Butterfly Weed needs a place with lots of sun. Having shade doesn't hurt either.

3.Prepare the "Things You Need" listed below once late Autumn has arrived.

4.Dig a hole using the spade approximately ¼" (½ cm) deep to place the seeds in.

5.Sow the seeds into the soil where you dug.

6.Cover the seeds with the soil.

7.Wait for the Butterfly Weed to start growing in the springtime.

8.Make sure the plants are well watered, but not overwatered.

Planting Indoors

1.Purchase the seeds if you haven't already.

2.Find a medium sized pot to plant them in. The seeds should be planted in early Spring.

4.Plant the seeds about 1/4 deep in the soil.

5.Cover the seeds with soil.

6.Make sure the soil is moist.

7.Wait for the plant to grow.

8.Transplant the young plant outside once they have started growing. Choose a spot with lots of sun.

9.Continue to lightly water the Butterfly Weeds once they are outside.


Asclepias tuberosa

Butterfly Weed is a tuberous rooted, native perennial that occurs in dry/rocky open woods, glades, prairies, fields, and roadsides. This plant is moderately salt tolerant. Unlike many of the other milkweeds, this species does not have milky-sapped stems.

Butterfly weed is easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. It is drought tolerant and does well in poor, dry soils. New growth tends to emerge late in the spring so mark the area well. Grow the plants easily from seed, but expect that it will take 2-3 years to establish and produce flowers. Mature plants may freely self-seed in the landscape if seed pods are not removed prior to splitting open. Butterfly weed does not transplant well due to its deep taproot and is probably best left undisturbed once established.

Milkweed is a great choice for a meadow garden. Pair it with other plants like native ornamental grasses and wildflowers, such as asters and Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea), to a create a butterfly habitat. In a perennial border, pair it with Torch Lilies (Kniphofia), or with cooler blues and purples, such as Speedwell (Veronica) plants.

This plant was selected as the 1985 NC Wildflower of the Year, a program managed by the North Carolina Botanical Garden with some financial support from the Garden Club of North Carolina.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: Mostly pest free. Aphids can cluster at the top of the plant. To remedy this problem, just knock them off with a strong spray of water every two or three days for a week. Crown rot can be a problem in wet, poorly drained soils. Susceptible to rust and leaf spot.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Erect perennial herb with spiraling narrow leaves
  • Flat-topped, axillary cymes of orangish flowers**
  • Flowers with a corona of a hood & horn**
  • Family name Apocynaceae (formerly Asclepidaceae)

whole plant Mary Keim CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 With leucanthemum X superbum in summer, Moore County Susan Strine CC BY 2.0 flower buds Martin LaBar CC BY-NC 2.0 buds and leaves (in spring in Moore county) Susan Strine CC BY 2.0 flowers (summer in Moore county) Susan Strine CC BY 2.0 close up of flower (in summer in Moore county) Susan Strine CC BY 2.0 seeds (in summer in Moore county) Susan Strine CC BY 2.0 monarch caterpillar Martin LaBar CC BY-NC 2.0 monarch butterfly Martin LaBar CC BY-NC 2.0 Emerging growth K. Andre CC BY 2.0 Leaves with Caterpillar (Cabarrus County,NC) Hope Duckworth CC BY 4.0 Buds (Cabarrus County,NC) Hope Duckworth CC BY 4.0 bloom, early summer, Iredell County NC Eva Munday CC BY-NC 4.0 Flower and Leaves (Wake County, NC) Cathy Dewitt CC BY 4.0 Seed Pods (Wake County,NC) Cathy Dewitt CC BY 4.0 Blooms and bud (Cabarrus County, NC)-Late spring Hope Duckworth CC BY 4.0

In the Fall

To start Asclepias tuberosa from seed in the fall, begin in August. First, place the seed in a baggie filled with moist peat moss or put it on a damp paper towel and then place it in a plastic bag. Store the seed in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 months. (Like bee balm seeds, coneflower seeds and many others, butterfly weed seed germinates best after stratification, a period of damp coldness.)

After the stratification period, sow butterfly weed seed directly outside. No need to plant deep. About an 1/8 of an inch down will do. It can take as little as 30 days or as long as 90 days for the seed to germinate. During the germination and seedling stages, be sure to keep the ground moist and protected from wind.

If beginning butterfly weed seed indoors, transplant seedlings outside once the weather has warmed and the plants have developed 4 to 6 leaves.


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