General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 4a -34.4 °C (-30 °F) to -31.7 °C (-25 °F)
Plant Height: 12 - 36 inches
Plant Spread: 12 - 36 inches
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Orange
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Late spring or early summer
Summer
Late summer or early fall
Other: Deadheading flowers ensures more flowering throughout the season.
Underground structures: Taproot
Uses: Will Naturalize
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Butterflies
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Rabbit Resistant
Drought tolerant
Toxicity: Leaves are poisonous
Roots are poisonous
Propagation: Seeds: Provide light
Stratify seeds: 1 month at 40 degrees
Days to germinate: 30 to 120
Suitable for wintersowing
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Root
Pollinators: Moths and Butterflies
Bees
Containers: Needs excellent drainage in pots
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
Awards and Recognitions: Other: 2017 Perennial Plant of the Year; 2010 Georgia Gold Medal Winner

Victory Seed Company sells seeds of Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa).

Image
Common names
  • Butterfly Milkweed
  • Orange Milkweed
  • Pleurisy Root
  • Milkweed
  • Indian Paintbrush

Photo Gallery
Location: Apple Valley MN
Date: 2023-10-29
Location: Photo by Carol Bacskai; zone 5b, Yorkville, IL
Date: 2021-06-14
Location: Medina, TN
Date: 2014-02-22
#Pollination  Asclepias tuberosa and Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly
Location: NC
Date: June 2017
  • Uploaded by vic
Location: Central Indiana
Date: 2019-10-18
Location: Apple Valley MN
Date: 2018-10-31
Location: IL
Date: 2016-06-29
#Pollination Pugnacious Leafcutter Bee (Megachile pugnata)
Location: Garland (Dallas), TX
Date: 2014-05-21
Location: My Garden, Utah
Date: 2015-08-25
with color-coordinated aphids
Location: IL
Date: 2014-06-23
#Pollination Painted Lady Butterfly - Vanessa cardui
Location: Brownstown Pennsylvania
Date: 2015-08-22
Location: My Cincinnati Ohio garden
Date: May 31, 2012
First round of bloom this year

#Pollination
Location: Largo, FL
Date: 2022-04-19
They're getting fat on my small milkweed plants
Location: Iowa
Location: Cincinnati, Oh
Date: June 2009
A. tuberosa with rudbeckia
Location: Apple Valley MN
Date: 10 September 2020
Location: Danaus plexippus (monarch butterfly) on Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed)
Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield
Location: Illinois, US
Date: 2011-06-27
Location: Pasture below my house in Delta KY
Date: 2012-06-09
Honey bees collecting nectar
Location: IL
Date: 2012-06-23
#Pollination Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)
Location: Elberfeld, Indiana
Date: 2022-06-07
Location: Apple Valley MN
Date: 2018-10-03
Asclepias tuberosa seed pods, slight reddish tone
Location: IL
Date: 2015-06-24
Location: Apple Valley MN
Date: 13 June 2021
Location: Garland, TX
Date: 2018-05-14
Location: zone 8 North Central, Fl.
Date: 2016-08-27
monarch caterpillars eating immature seed pod
Location: Toledo Botanical Gardens, Toledo, Ohio
Date: 2012-10-04
Oleander aphids, Aphis nerii, on pods of butterfly weed.These aph
Location: Garland (Dallas), TX
Date: 2014-05-19
Just coming into bloom.

Date: 2013-06-27
Location: Port Orange, Florida
Date: 2018-08-31
Location: Carson City, NV
Date: 2020-06-18
Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Date: 2019-06-30
Location: Ed Burton, NE Wisconsin
Date: 2014-07-06
Location: FPF Home, Warren County, Kentucky
Date: 2022-06-23
  • Uploaded by FPF
Location: Ontario, Canada
Date: 2014-08-03
Location: Elberfeld, Indiana
Date: 2009-08-24
Butterfly Weed seed pods covered with Large Milkweed Bugs (Oncope

Courtesy Outsidepride
  • Uploaded by vic
Location: Toledo Botanical Gardens, Toledo, Ohio
Date: 2012-10-04
Large Milkweed Bugs, Oncopeltus fasciatus, in various stages of d
Location: Farmington, Connecticut
Date: July
credit: Ragesoss
Location: Washington 8b
Date: 2017-08-09
Uploaded by jkporter
Location: Woodbridge , Va
Date: 05/31/15
close up of my first butterfly weed buds
Location: Garland, TX
Date: 2018-09-25
Location: Cincinnati, Oh
Date: June 2009
Attracts bees
Location: Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Ann Arbor
Date: 2019-11-07
The pods of this milkweed are slim and flattish when opened, whic
Location: Apple Valley MN
Date: 2018-05-20
Location: Loki Schmidt Garten - Botanischer Garten der Universität Hamburg
Date: 2022-09-13
Uploaded by pepper23
Location: My garden in St Louis
Date: 2015-06-13
blooms coincident with Brodiaea Queen Fabiola
Location: Elberfeld, Indiana
Date: 2022-06-07
Location: Elberfeld, Indiana
Date: 2022-06-07
Location: Cincinnati, Oh
Date: May 2009
Monarch cat on butterfly weed. It is a host plant for monarchs.
Location: Brownstown Pennsylvania
Date: 2015-08-20
#Pollination
Location: Beautiful Tennessee,
Date: 2020-07-16
Growing in Cade's Cove
Location: Willow Valley Communities Lakes Campus,Willow Street, Pennsylvania
Date: 2023-06-10
Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Location: Ed Burton, NE Wisconsin
Date: 2009-07-18
Monarch butterfly caterpillars on butterfly weed
Uploaded by jkporter
Uploaded by jkporter
Location: Garland (Dallas), TX
Date: 2015-04-10
Location: Woodbridge , Va
Date: 6/13/15
container butterfly weed plants doing better then my garden one
Location: Largo, FL
Date: 2022-03-25
Two young milkweed growing together in a large pot
Location: West border
Date: August
Location: Lucketts, Loudoun County, Virginia
Date: 2015-06-18
Location: Aberdeen, NC (my garden 2022)
Date: August 16, 2022
Butterfly weed #203. RAB page 851, 157-1-4. LHB page 815, 170-1-1

Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield
Location: Ontario, Canada
Date: 2015-07-02
Location: Loki Schmidt Garten - Botanischer Garten der Universität Hamburg
Location: Lilburn, GA
Date: 2023-08-12
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Date: 2018-10-12
Monarch on Asclepius Tuberosa
Location: Goethe State Forest - Levy County, Florida
Date: 30-MAY-2008
Photo courtesy of Brian Ahern

Courtesy of Diane's Flower Seeds

Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield
Location: West border
Date: 2016-06-28
Location: Ontario, Canada
Date: 2014-07-06
Location: Plano, TX
Date: 2013-03-07
Wintersown
Uploaded by gersonian
Location: Woodbridge , Va
Date: 04-14-17
Location: all photos from my garden
Date: 2009-06-12

Date: 2018-06-24
Location: Mason, New Hampshire
Date: 2017-05-26
photo credit: Robert Duval
Location: CR-40, west of Yankeetown - Levy co., Florida
Date: 28-JUL-2007
Photo courtesy of Brian Ahern

Date: c. 1836
illustration from 'Paxton's Magazine of Botany', 1835-6
Location: zone 8 North Central, Fl.
Date: 2016-08-11

Date: 2016-06-25
Location: Heathcote Ontario Canada
Date: July
Asclepias tuberosa  stunning with red flowering perennials
Location: FPF Home, Warren County, Kentucky
Date: 2022-06-19
With ​Oncopeltus fasciatus, Large Milkweed Bug.
  • Uploaded by FPF
Location: Plano, TX
Date: 2017-06-27
I had the seeds floating in warm water and they germinated in 3 d
Location: Wood County, TX
Date: 2020-05-19
visiting butterfly
Location: Apple Valley MN
Date: 2016-08-21
Seed Pods, late August zone 4b
Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada - near Lake Ontario, zone 6a
Date: 2013-06-27
Location: Easter Island
Date: 2018-10-28
Location: on my riverbank
Date: 2014-07-16
Location: East Tennessee
Date: 2016-07-16
Location: Lucketts, Loudoun County, Virginia
Date: 2014-06-22
Location: Aberdeen, NC (Colonial heights area)
Date: June 1, 2022
Butterfly weed #203. RAB page 851, 157-1-4. LHB page 815, 170-1-1
Location: Twisp
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2015-06-05

Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield
Location: Ontario, Canada
Date: 2015-07-02
Location: Derby,Kansas
Date: 2011-06-17
In the Wild
Uploaded by foraygardengirl
Location: Loki Schmidt Garten - Botanischer Garten der Universität Hamburg
Date: 2022-09-13
Location: Mason, New Hampshire
Date: 2019-07-08
photo credit: Robert Duval
Location: Dayton, TN
Date: 2013-08-18
A. Tuberosa that was transplanted from a field to my garden.  Aft
Location: My garden in St Louis
Date: 2010-09-11
Location: My garden in St Louis
Date: 2015-06-12
Blooms simultaneously w Brodiaea bulbs
Location: central Illinois
Date: summer '06
Location: central Illinois
Date: summer 2006
Location: Lake James, NC
Date: 2020-08-01
This was growing in a section of a rock cliff that had collected
Location: DISCLAIMER: This is an old photo from an old phone. I don't know why, but the photos look "deep fried". sorry about that.
Location: Sebastian,  Florida
Date: 2019-05-20
Location: Bloomington, Illinois
Date: 2012-06-16
Location: Molly Hollar Wildscape Arlington, Texas.
Date: Summer 2010
The color of these flowers is amazing.
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2015-02-21
Location: Hampton, VA | June, 2022
Location: Mason, New Hampshire
Location: Hampton, VA | June, 2022
Location: Hampton, VA | June, 2022
Location: Hampton, VA | June, 2022
Location: Our yard, Hot Springs Village, AR
Date: 2014-08-22
Location: Maryland
Date: 2015-05-31
Location: central Illinois
Date: 8-4-07
Location: Orangeburg, SC
Date: 2016-07-27
Butterfly weed buds
Location: My garden in Kentucky
Date: 2008-06-08
Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada - near Lake Ontario, zone 6a
Date: 2013-06-27
Location: central Illinois
Date: summer 2006
Location: Brownstown Pennsylvania
Date: 2016-06-18
Location: Opp, AL
Date: 2016-05-23
Location: East Tennessee
Date: 2016-07-16
Location: western Oregon
Date: spring 2013
Location: Opp, AL
Date: 2016-05-23
Location: Aberdeen, NC (Colonial heights area)
Date: June 1, 2022
Butterfly weed #203. RAB page 851, 157-1-4. LHB page 815, 170-1-1
Location: Aberdeen, NC (Colonial heights area)
Date: June 1, 2022
Butterfly weed #203. RAB page 851, 157-1-4. LHB page 815, 170-1-1

Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield
Location: Twisp
Location: Aberdeen, NC Pages Lake park
Date: August 1, 2022
Butterfly weed #203. RAB page 851, 157-1-4. LHB page 815, 170-1-1
Location: Twisp
Location: Maryland
Date: 2015-06-20
Location: Ontario, Canada
Date: 2014-07-06

Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield
Location: Washington 8b
Date: 2017-08-13
Location: NC| June, 2022
Date: 2022-06-14

Courtesy Crownsville Nursery
  • Uploaded by vic
Location: Ontario, Canada
Date: 2014-08-12
Uploaded by Dennis616
Location: Mason, New Hampshire
Location: central Illinois
Date: 7-28-06
Location: Mason, New Hampshire
Date: June 5, 2013
Location: Lake James, NC
Date: 2020-08-01
Wow the color of the blooms and buds is beautiful! This was growi
Location: Central MD zone 6
Date: 2014-06-21
Location: West border
Date: June 2015
Location: Port Orange, Florida
Date: 2018-08-31
Location: Winter Springs, FL zone 9b
Date: 2018-03-04
No leaves left, chomped away by all these caterpillars
Location: Cincinnati, Oh
Date: July 2007
Seedpods on butterfly weed
Location: Cincinnati, Oh
Date: July 2011
A. Tuberosa in the landscape

Photo Courtesy of Lazy S'S Farm Nursery.
  • Uploaded by Joy
Location: Mason, New Hampshire
Date: May 26, 2013
Location: Skokie
Date: 2017-06-19
Location: Cincinnati, Oh
Date: Spring 2007
A. tuberosa spring emergence
Location: central Illinois
Date: summer 2006
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2015-06-14
Location: Cincinnati, Oh
Date: July 2007
Immature milkweed bugs on seed pod
Location: Cincinnati, Oh
Date: July 2007
Milkweed bugs destroy seeds and pods

Date: 2016-08-24
Photo courtesy of Santa Rosa Gardens. Used with permission.
Location: North Branch, MN
Date: 2017-06-14
Location: Maryland
Date: 2015-06-21
Location: N. Illinois, zone 5b
Date: 2014-06-03
Just arrived from the nursery
Location: Clinton, Michigan 49236
Date: 2017-10-31
Asclepias tuberosa, 2017, [Butterfly Weed], uh-SKLEE-pee-us too-b
Location: North Branch, MN
Date: 2017-07-07
Location: Mason, New Hampshire
Date: 2012
Seedlings started from direct sowed seed. 2012.
Location: Washington 8b
Date: 2018-07-14
Location: Opp, AL
Date: 2016-05-23
Location: Our yard, Hot Springs Village, AR
Date: September 3, 2014
Location: Ontario, Canada
Date: 2014-08-24
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Comments:
  • Posted by Catmint20906 (PNW WA half hour south of Olympia - Zone 8a) on Aug 8, 2014 2:34 PM concerning plant:
    Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is a larval host plant for the Monarch and Queen butterflies, and is a key Monarch Way Station plant.

    According to NPIN, this plant also has special value to native, bumble, and honey bees, including leafcutter, green sweat, small carpenter, small resin, and sweat bees.

    Butterfly weed reportedly attracts beneficial insects to the garden, such as hoverflies, parasitic mini-wasps, and ladybugs. These beneficial insects feed on common garden pests.

    Remove the seed pods before they split open in order to avoid any unwanted self-seeding.
  • Posted by kqcrna (Valencia, Pa - Zone 6a) on Sep 29, 2011 11:52 AM concerning plant:
    If deadheaded after first bloom cycle in early summer, Asclepias tuberosa will rebloom in late summer. Deadheading also avoids attracting droves of milkweed bugs. The disadvantage of deadheading is no future volunteer plants.
  • Posted by Sharon (Calvert City, KY - Zone 7a) on Dec 3, 2011 12:40 AM concerning plant:
    Butterfly weed is a native of North America. It was used by Native Americans both as a paste for curing cuts or scratches and as a tea to induce perspiration during fevers. It was also used as an expectorant in severe respiratory problems including pleurisy and whooping cough.

    Because it contains toxins its use is no longer recommended.

    The species is considered rare or protected in some states.
  • Posted by farmerdill (Augusta Georgia - Zone 8a) on Oct 18, 2014 12:22 PM concerning plant:
    When I was a kid, this plant was known locally as Chigger Weed. While it never appeared in numbers, the flowers were avoided because they attracted so many chiggers. In that area at that time, chiggers were more despised than ticks. There are a lot of plants called chigger weed in different locales, but the blossoms of this plant seem to pull them all the way from the next county.
  • Posted by Cyclaminist (Minneapolis, Minnesota - Zone 5a) on May 5, 2016 11:15 PM concerning plant:
    Unlike common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) and several other milkweed species, this one does not spread by underground rhizomes. It is short and stays in a neat clump, which gets bigger every year. It's a good choice for small yards or formal gardens.

    The root is a thick taproot, not a tuber as the species name tuberosa would suggest. In the case of this species, the Latin word tuberosa means "having swellings" and refers to bulges that sometimes develop on the taproot.
  • Posted by Newyorkrita (North Shore, Long Island, NY ) on Sep 29, 2011 9:35 PM concerning plant:
    The original orange colored Butterfly Weed is a host plant of the Monarch Butterflies.
  • Posted by Deebie (midstate South Carolina - Zone 8a) on Jun 20, 2017 5:02 PM concerning plant:
    Lovely orange flowers much loved by butterflies. This plant is late to appear in spring, so be sure not to weed it out of your garden by mistake or plant something else in its place.
  • Posted by Mindy03 (Delta KY) on Jun 25, 2012 7:23 PM concerning plant:
    Honey bees get nectar from this plant which produces a light colored honey.
  • Posted by Zazinnia (SC - Zone 8a) on May 27, 2016 6:37 PM concerning plant:
    Reliable bloomer. I cut the spent flowers and it reblooms within a few weeks. I don't see many butterflies on mine, but the bees love it.
  • Posted by Deebie (midstate South Carolina - Zone 8a) on Aug 24, 2014 7:12 AM concerning plant:
    Seeds have parachute-like wings that enable them to be easily dispersed by the wind or by hitchhiking on animals, clothing, etc. To keep the seeds from blowing away after they mature and the pod splits, loosely tie the pods to keep them from fully opening, using twist tie.
  • Posted by Chillybean (Iowa - Zone 5a) on Jul 30, 2015 12:53 PM concerning plant:
    Finally, I have success with this plant! It took planting 5 flats from the nursery. I asked the owner to start these for me because I had a terrible time getting any to grow here, seed or plugs. This was my last resort. My one condition was NO chemicals. He started some in a greenhouse, but they died after they germinated nicely. He said they usually prevent that with a fungicide, but I wanted no chemicals. I am still firm on that, if I purchase plants intending insects to feed off them, they better not have any 'cides on them.

    He started more, but kept them outside. Because spring was cold, it took them a long time to germinate. They were quite puny when I brought them home. Once it was consistently warm, then they really began growing. I did not expect any flowers the first year, but to my surprise I am getting excellent blooms... just beautiful. Even more so with the Monarch caterpillars on them. The Monarchs do use some of the flowers for nectar, but I see more of them on the Blazingstars.

    I believe I discovered why I had a hard time growing these previously. I put them in clay soil and watered them too much. They like drier conditions and sandy/rocky soil. After the initial planting and maybe watering them for a week, the only water they get now is whatever the Lord provides.
  • Posted by BookerC1 (Mackinaw, IL - Zone 5a) on Jun 18, 2012 8:35 AM concerning plant:
    I love this bright little plant, but have terrible problems with aphids on them. I never see aphids in my garden unless I plant butterfly weed, and then the stems are entirely covered with the little buggers. I don't want to use chemical controls because I planted it in a butterfly and bee garden, so I usually resort to spraying with a hard blast of water from my hose. I'm glad they are nowhere near my roses!
  • Posted by robertduval14 (Milford, New Hampshire - Zone 5b) on Mar 3, 2013 7:57 PM concerning plant:
    Monarch butterflies will always find their way to these plants as they are host plants for their young.
  • Posted by KFredenburg (Black Hills, SD - Zone 5a) on Jun 6, 2020 2:32 PM concerning plant:
    Snowy flat flower clusters on stems with milky sap in summer and early fall, ornamental seed pods packed with many seeds attached to silky hairs, which are carried by the wind.
    For best results (if planting more than one of these plants), space each one 1 and a half to 2 feet apart from each other.
    Landscape uses:
    Use swap, milkweed in a wildflower garden or an informal border or allow it to naturalize in a giddy meadow. Plant butterfly weed in a border or a wildflower garden, where its brilliant color is most effective in groups of three or more plants. It's flowers are excellent for for drying. The seedpods of both species are attractive when used in dried arrangements.
  • Posted by Jennantonel on Mar 3, 2024 3:07 AM concerning plant:
    I will be growing the orange butterfly milk weed this year for winter sowing.
Plant Events from our members
SCButtercup On June 11, 2014 Bloomed
srinehart On March 3, 2019 Seeds sown
Started indoors
Flowerlover6 On October 19, 2022 Seeds sown
WebTucker On June 1, 2022 Bloomed
AtaMaj On November 4, 2022 Miscellaneous Event
plant emerged in early summer, but disappeared due to very dry conditions. See if shows up in summer 2023 after drip irrigation has been installed in late summer 2022.
AtaMaj On April 8, 2022 Obtained plant
planted 3 tubers in the south shelf orange section by the fence
MrsBinWY On July 12, 2022 Transplanted
5 in front, between Bali Cherry and Salvia dumetorum
MrsBinWY On May 29, 2022 Potted up
11+1 on 5-29-2022
MrsBinWY On May 20, 2022 Seeds germinated
On 5-20-2022, lots up (11 or so)
MrsBinWY On March 26, 2022 Seeds sown
On 3-26-2022, WS 16 seeds from SSE (membership renewal gift) in milk jug
MrsBinWY On January 31, 2021 Seeds sown
WS 16 seeds from Dave Peterson's 2020G in milk jug
antsinmypants On March 1, 2024 Seeds sown
antsinmypants On May 25, 2022 Plant emerged
Several seedlings emerged. WS 2022.
antsinmypants On February 21, 2022 Seeds sown
Winter sowed. Jug 7.
antsinmypants On April 18, 2021 Plant emerged
antsinmypants On February 25, 2021 Seeds sown
WS in jug 26.
GoCart On July 8, 2017 Transplanted
vendor pot to ground
Catmint20906 On May 31, 2015 Bloomed
variegatagal On May 2, 2018 Plant Ended (Removed, Died, Discarded, etc)
Removed. Replaced with daylily.
variegatagal On March 18, 2018 Maintenance performed
East flower bed. Mulched. No sign of growth.
variegatagal On May 22, 2017 Miscellaneous Event
Seems to be bouncing back after a rought start. Flowers have dropped.
variegatagal On May 13, 2017 Transplanted
In front of Sunshine Ligustrum and Salvia Bright Eyes
variegatagal On May 7, 2017 Obtained plant
Strong's Nursery
flaflwrgrl On October 7, 2015 Obtained plant
From Santa Rosa Gardens - 3 plants.
FL native plant. Host for Monarch butterflies.
MissMew On October 3, 2022 Transplanted
Moved from Back West to Back East
MissMew On June 15, 2018 Obtained plant
Plugs from Suzanne
MissMew On August 17, 2015 Obtained plant
lovesblooms On July 23, 2015 Bloomed
lovesblooms On June 8, 2015 Bloomed
lovesblooms On April 1, 2015 Obtained plant
planted 2x
Cat On August 16, 2014 Obtained plant
» Post your own event for this plant

Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Very helpful picture! by BookerC1 Mar 19, 2012 10:47 AM 5
eww-gross! by dirtdorphins Aug 8, 2017 7:12 PM 6

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