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Butterfly Milkweed

Asclepias tuberosa

Butterfly Milkweed

General Information

Butterfly Milkweed is an easy-to-grow but slow-to-establish, short, clumping herbaceous perennial.

Butterfly Milkweed is typically found growing on dry, rocky open woods, glades, prairies, fields, and roadsides. Butterfly Milkweed requires full sun and prefers dry, infertile soils.

Butterfly Milkweed’s flowers are showy, bright yellow-orange flowers on top its upright stems. Butterfly Milkweed blooms between June and July and sometimes a second time in September.

Unlike most other milkweeds, Butterfly Milkweeds does not have milky-sapped stems. New growth tends to emerge late in the spring (Late April or May), well after other plants have started growing.

Plant Information

Plant Type:

Herbaceous perennial

Sun Preference:

Full Sun * Part Sun

Soil Moisture Preference:

Medium * Medium-Dry * Dry

Plant Height:

2 feet

Plant Width:

2 feet

Plant Spacing:

1 to 3 feet

Flower Color:


Flower timing:

June to August

Culture Information:

Butterfly Milkweed works best in butterfly gardens, rock gardens, meadows, prairies, drought tolerant gardens, native gardens, pollinator gardens, rock gardens, rain gardens (along the edges). It can also be used in sunny border, on slopes or in containers and is rather compact.

When first planted, Butterfly Milkweed should be watered weekly for first few months, unless at least an inch of rain has been received in the last week to help it get established. After it becomes established, Butterfly Milkweed does not need watering, as it sends down a deep taproot.

Butterfly Milkweed does not transplant well once established due to its deep taproot. It can be cut back to the ground once it browns in late fall or over winter.


Poor, dry soils

Pests & Disease:

Butterfly Milkweed typically has no serious insect problems. Aphids will occasionally infest Butterfly Milkweed.

Butterfly Milkweed doesn’t usually have serious disease problems. Crown rot can occur in wet, poorly drained soils. It is also susceptible to rust and leaf spot

All parts of the Butterfly Milkweed are toxic due to cardiac glycosides and resinoids.

Wildlife Use:

Pollinators: Butterfly Milkweed is nectar source for many butterflies and insect pollinators. It is also a larval host plant for monarch, gray hairstreak, queen, and milkweed tussock caterpillars.

Birds: N/A.

Mammals: Butterfly Milkweed is toxic to dogs, cats and horses.

Other: N/A.

Native to:

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