Butterfly Milkweed - Asclepias tuberosa
Found growing wild in dry fields and along sunny road sides, the showy flowers of butterfly milkweed make it an essential mid-summer garden plant. Due to a lack of milky sap that is common to all other milkweeds, butterfly milkweed can be used as a cut flower.
Butterfly milkweed is easiest to establish as a young plant but due to its large taproot, mature plants of butterfly milkweed are not easy to move. Plants are also easy to grow from seed but can take three years before the first flowers appear. Once established, butterfly milkweed will self seed if seedpods are not removed.
Importance as a caterpillar food source: Like many milkweeds, butterfly milkweed is an important food source for Monarch caterpillars. Queens, with their southern U.S. range, also uses butterfly milkweed as a food source as do Soldiers whose range is restricted primarily to southern Florida and southern Texas.
Some research has shown that Monarch caterpillars that feed on butterfly milkweed are not as toxic to predators as caterpillars that feed on other milkweed species.
Importance as a butterfly nectar source: Once established in the garden, butterfly milkweed plants will produce a large number of bright orange blooms that are attractive to a variety of butterflies. The large number of blooms per plant make butterfly milkweed an essential butterfly garden plant.
|USDA Hardiness Zone||
3 to 9
July to August
12 to 36 inches
24 to 36 inches
Average to dry
Deer resistant, aphids may be a problem
Native Range for Butterfly Milkweed- Asclepias tuberosa