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Growing Butterfly Weed

Growing Butterfly Weed (Asclepias)

Orange Butterfly Plant



Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is a hardy North American native perennial with attractive, brightly colored flowers that are very attractive to butterflies. Its seedpods can be used in dry flower arrangements. Plants are hardy in zones 3 to 9. Emerges fairly late in spring.

How to Plant

Plant so that roots are slightly deeper than when in the pot. Can also direct sow seed in the garden after the last spring frost, or indoors 8 to 10 weeks earlier. Sow seed ¼ to ½ inch deep.


For full sun and well-drained soil. Prefers light, sandy soil and does not grow well in heavy clay soils. Low-maintenance and easy-to-grow plants.

Fertilizer Recommendations

Butterfly weed is a light feeder and benefits from occasional fertilization. Use low rates of ALGOplus Flowering Plant 4-6-7 liquid fertilizer or Neptune Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1.

Common Problems

Usually not bothered by insects or diseases. Aphids sometimes feed on plants. Insecticidal soap can be used to control aphids.

Alternative Products

Other North American native perennials include Coneflower, Coreopsis, and Heliopsis.

Product Recommendations

Other perennials that attract butterflies include Allium, Dianthus, and Nepeta.

Butterfly Weed Facts

Butterfly weed is a preferred food plant for Monarch butterfly caterpillars. It was used as a food plant by some Native American tribes.


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