Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) in the Milkweeds Database

2 companies sell this plant

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Butterfly Weed
Give a thumbs up Butterfly Milkweed
Give a thumbs up Butterflyweed
Give a thumbs up Orange Milkweed
Give a thumbs up Milkweed
Give a thumbs up Pleurisy Root
Give a thumbs up Chiggerflower
Give a thumbs up Indian Paintbrush

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
Dry
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 4a -34.4 °C (-30 °F) to -31.7 °C (-25 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9b
Plant Height: 12 - 36 inches
Plant Spread: 12 - 36 inches
Leaves: Unusual foliage color
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Orange
Red
Yellow
Other: Flowers are usually orange, but can be yellow or red.
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
Suitable Locations: Xeriscapic
Uses: Erosion control
Cut Flower
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
Needs specific temperature
Days to germinate: 30 to 120
Suitable for wintersowing
Can handle transplanting
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Root
Pollinators: Wasps
Moths and Butterflies
Bees
Containers: Not suitable for containers
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
Awards and Recognitions: Other: 2017 Perennial Plant of the Year; 2010 Georgia Gold Medal Winner

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The 2014 All Things Plants Top 25 Summer Bulbs and TubersThe 2014 All Things Plants Top 25 Summer Bulbs and Tubers
May 17, 2014

What a fun and diverse group of plants! Come on in and check out the report of the top 25 most active summer bulbs and tuber entries in our plants database. You will be surprised at some of the plants that made the list!

(Full article4 comments)
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Photo gallery:
Location: ILDate: 2016-06-29#Pollination Pugnacious Leafcutter Bee (Megachile pugnata)
By molanic
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Location: Pasture below my house in Delta KYDate: 2012-06-09Honey bees collecting nectar
By Mindy03
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Location: ILDate: 2014-06-23#Pollination Painted Lady Butterfly - Vanessa cardui
By molanic
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Location: Cincinnati, OhDate: June 2009A. tuberosa with rudbeckia
By kqcrna
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Location: Iowa
By Legalily
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Location: My Cincinnati Ohio gardenDate: May 31, 2012First round of bloom this year
By kqcrna
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Location: Danaus plexippus (monarch butterfly) on Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed)Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield
By admin
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Location: ILDate: 2012-06-23#Pollination Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)
By molanic
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Location: Cincinnati, OhDate: June 2009Attracts bees
By kqcrna
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Location: Ed Burton, NE WisconsinDate: 2009-07-18Monarch butterfly caterpillars on butterfly weed
By EdBurton
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Location: Ed Burton, NE WisconsinDate: 2014-07-06
By EdBurton
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Location: Washington 8bDate: 2017-08-09
By Patty
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Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield
By admin
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Location: Woodbridge , VaDate: 05/31/15close up of my first butterfly weed buds
By krobra
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Location: NCDate: June 2017
By vic
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Location: Cincinnati, OhDate: May 2009Monarch cat on butterfly weed. It is a host plant for monarchs.
By kqcrna
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Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada - near Lake Ontario, zone 6aDate: 2013-06-27
By tinpins
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Courtesy Outsidepride
By vic
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Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield
By admin
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Location: ILDate: 2015-06-24
By molanic
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Image
By pepper23
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Date: 2016-06-25
By Anndixon
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Image
By gersonian
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Location: Fort Worth, TXDate: 2018-10-12Monarch on Asclepius Tuberosa
By Prepper
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Location: Cincinnati, OhDate: July 2011A. Tuberosa in the landscape
By kqcrna
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Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada - near Lake Ontario, zone 6aDate: 2013-06-27
By tinpins
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Location: western OregonDate: spring 2013
By duane456
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Location: Allentown, PennsylvaniaDate: 2015-06-05
By plantrob
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Location: Woodbridge , VaDate: 6/13/15container butterfly weed plants doing better then my garden one
By krobra
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Location: Derby,KansasDate: 2011-06-17In the Wild
By joeswife
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Location: Woodbridge , VaDate: 04-14-17
By krobra
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Location: North Branch, MNDate: 2017-07-07
By Anderwood
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Location: Washington 8bDate: 2017-08-13
By Patty
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Location: Winter Springs, FL zone 9bDate: 2018-03-04No leaves left, chomped away by all these caterpillars
By sunkissed
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Date: 2018-06-24
By Lucichar
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Location: Washington 8bDate: 2018-07-14
By Patty
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Location: Cincinnati, OhDate: July 2007Seedpods on butterfly weed
By kqcrna
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Location: Cincinnati, OhDate: Spring 2007A. tuberosa spring emergence
By kqcrna
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Location: Cincinnati, OhDate: July 2007Immature milkweed bugs on seed pod
By kqcrna
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Location: Cincinnati, OhDate: July 2007Milkweed bugs destroy seeds and pods
By kqcrna
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Location: central IllinoisDate: summer 2006
By jmorth
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Location: central IllinoisDate: 7-28-06
By jmorth
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Courtesy Crownsville Nursery
By vic
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Location: central IllinoisDate: summer 2006
By jmorth
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Location: N. Illinois, zone 5bDate: 2014-06-03Just arrived from the nursery
By holity
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Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield
By admin
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Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield
By admin
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Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield
By admin
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Location: central IllinoisDate: 2015-02-21
By jmorth
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Location: central IllinoisDate: summer '06
By jmorth
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Location: central IllinoisDate: summer 2006
By jmorth
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Photo Courtesy of Lazy S'S Farm Nursery.
By Joy
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Location: central IllinoisDate: 2015-06-14
By jmorth
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Location: Orangeburg, SCDate: 2016-07-27Butterfly weed buds
By Deebie
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Location: central IllinoisDate: 8-4-07
By jmorth
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Comments:
Posted by Catmint20906 (Maryland - Zone 7a) on Aug 8, 2014 2:34 PM

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.

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Posted by kqcrna (Cincinnati, Oh - Zone 6a) on Sep 29, 2011 11:52 AM

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.

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Posted by farmerdill (Augusta Georgia - Zone 8a) on Oct 18, 2014 12:22 PM

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.

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Posted by Newyorkrita (North Shore, Long Island, NY ) on Sep 29, 2011 9:35 PM

The original orange colored Butterfly Weed is a host plant of the Monarch Butterflies.

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Posted by Sharon (Calvert City, KY - Zone 7a) on Dec 3, 2011 12:40 AM

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.

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Posted by Mindy03 (Delta KY) on Jun 25, 2012 7:23 PM

Honey bees get nectar from this plant which produces a light colored honey.

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Posted by Deebie (midstate South Carolina - Zone 8a) on Aug 24, 2014 7:12 AM

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.

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Posted by Chillybean (Iowa - Zone 5a) on Jul 30, 2015 12:53 PM

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.

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Posted by Zazinnia (SC - Zone 8a) on May 27, 2016 6:37 PM

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.

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Posted by Deebie (midstate South Carolina - Zone 8a) on Jun 20, 2017 5:02 PM

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.

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Posted by BookerC1 (Mackinaw, IL - Zone 5a) on Jun 18, 2012 8:35 AM

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!

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Posted by robertduval14 (Mason, New Hampshire - Zone 5b) on Mar 3, 2013 7:57 PM

Monarch butterflies will always find their way to these plants as they are host plants for their young.

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Posted by Cyclaminist (Minneapolis, Minnesota - Zone 5a) on May 5, 2016 11:15 PM

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.

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Plant Performance Reports
Where and Who Performance Opinion View options
Central Iowa, USA (Chillybean) 2015: Plant performed perfectly
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Derby,Kansas (joeswife) 2015: Plant performed perfectly
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Plant Events from our members
SCButtercup On June 11, 2014 Bloomed
Cat On August 16, 2014 Obtained plant
dave On March 16, 2017 Seeds sown
dave On January 29, 2017 Maintenance performed
Placed in moist paper towel in a ziplock bag and placed in the fridge.
Catmint20906 On May 31, 2015 Bloomed
dragonfetti On March 20, 2015 Seeds sown
BD container
dragonfetti On March 19, 2015 Obtained plant
Ferry-Morse $1.58
lovesblooms On July 23, 2015 Bloomed
lovesblooms On June 8, 2015 Bloomed
lovesblooms On April 1, 2015 Obtained plant
planted 2x
MissMew On June 15, 2018 Obtained plant
Plugs from Suzanne
MissMew On August 17, 2015 Obtained plant
flaflwrgrl On October 7, 2015 Obtained plant
From Santa Rosa Gardens - 3 plants.
FL native plant. Host for Monarch butterflies.
GoCart On July 8, 2017 Transplanted
vendor pot to ground
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
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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
And the garden grows... by GrammaChar Oct 2, 2018 3:43 PM 13
Collecting seeds 2017-18 by piksihk Sep 15, 2018 1:31 PM 6
What size pot for this Butterfly Weed? by lilahmorgan May 28, 2018 6:54 PM 7
Host flowers for butterflies by Asclepias May 28, 2018 1:30 PM 3
Help me ID, please! by kalllumnix Apr 7, 2018 4:37 PM 8
Seeding Asclepias by crittergarden Mar 10, 2018 9:28 PM 2
butterfly weed by mnmat Aug 25, 2018 12:48 PM 19
Bee Friends And Other Garden Guests 2018 by cliftoncat Dec 5, 2018 6:33 AM 947
What Perennials are you ordering 2018? by ge1836 Sep 17, 2018 3:23 PM 63
My Garden and Other Stuff -- 2018 by lovemyhouse Dec 11, 2018 3:45 PM 1,671

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