There are a lot of reasons to grow Butterfly Weed, above and beyond its vibrant orange flowers and drought-tolerance. This plant has become the poster child for saving the Monarch butterflies, and for good reason. It is the primary food plant for their larvae in the United States, and a nectar source for many other butterflies and bees. It grows in sun or part sun, offering showy flowers in hot summer party colors paired with medium green foliage. We said orange was kind of an average, because they can opt to be anywhere from yellow to red. From a distance, they read as a flattened ball of fire, but up close the clusters reveal tens of upward-facing stars with yellow eyes ready to call their butterflies home. Far from a weed, they feed multiple pollinators, are a strong cut flower, the seed pods are valued in flower arrangements, and they are a long-lived, beautiful, and easy-care addition to your garden.
One of the most striking wildflowers, Asclepias tuberosa is native to Missouri, and is common throughout the eastern and southern U.S. The name comes from Asklepios, the Greek god of medicine, honoring its medicinal use of the roots to quell lung inflammation. They bloom from late spring throughout the summer.
An interesting point is that this asclepias species does not have any milky sap, like other native species do, so no fuss while cutting. At a neat two feet tall and wide, they are easy to work into any sunny summer container or garden setting. The flowers make a good cut flower, and the seed pods are valued in flower arrangements.
Butterfly Milkweed Care
Butterfly Milkweed excels in poor dry soil in full-to part sun exposure, so it makes a wonderful choice to beautify hard-to-water areas like “hell strips” by the sidewalk, roundabouts, parking lot plantings, a xeric (drought-tolerant) garden, native garden, pollinator garden, or any sunny spot your hose can’t reach.
They like very well-drained soil on the lean side, so little to no fertilization should be necessary. Massing on a slope would be wonderful. Take extra care ensuring drainage if the site has any shade. When planting, take care not to disturb Butterfly Milkweed’s long taproot. For this reason, choose the planting spot well to avoid replanting.
Butterfly Milkweed Spacing
Generally, a spacing of about 24 inches is perfect for Butterfly Weed. Plants can take two to three years to establish and bloom. The plants will self-sow if allowed, and grow easily from seed if you want more. If you wish to avoid the plant seeding, remove the flowers before the seeds open and make a striking bouquet.
Click here for more information on plant container sizes.
Plant Addict Guarantee (Included On All Plant Orders)
Plant Addicts guarantees your plant(s) will arrive happy and healthy, but the plant(s) are being shipped through the mail and accidents happen. If the plant is dead, has dried out roots or the incorrect item was shipped just notify Plant Addicts within 3 days upon delivery. We may ask for pictures but will try to make it as easy as possible for you. Please note plant(s) with damaged branches or wilted leaves will not qualify for this guarantee. Plants are very resilient and will rebound quickly when cared for correctly.
For information on how to care for you new plant please check out our guide. Guide: How to Care for Your New Plant(s)
Plant Addicts Warranty - 1 Year (Extra Purchase Required)
We encourage all plant lovers to purchase the Plant Addicts Warranty whether you’re new or an expert. There are many variables outside our control and yours that can cause the demise of your plant(s). Examples would be hungry animals, drought, poor soil conditions, over watering, disease, insects & many other factors. The Plant Addicts Warranty is a 1 year warranty protecting you from all the unknowns and will replace your plant if it moves on to the plant afterlife.
The warranty is purchased on a per plant basis and must be purchased at the same time as the plant purchase. We will cover 100% of the price of the plant but the warranty does not cover shipping cost. Simply let us know if your plant has died within one year of receiving it and we’ll get you a new one shipped out. We may ask for photos for documentation purposes but again we’ll try to make it as easy as possible.
For more information, please go to our Shipping & Returns page at the bottom of the website.
Standard Colors: 2-3 business days
Special Order Colors: 8 weeks - this is due to the planter being custom made with the color(s) of your choice
Please Note: On special orders there can not be any cancellations
Time of Order:
- If there is extreme heat we’ll delay shipping.
- We’ll have to review what areas the plants are traveling through along with your location
Once your plant is shipped you’ll receive an email with tracking information. Depending on the above criteria we’ll ship your plant(s) towards beginning of the following week from your order. We put together this helpful guide of what to do when you receive your plants in the mail.
It is important to know that all of our plants are clearly labeled for which growing zones the plant can survive in. The plants are thoroughly trialed and tested in every growing zone before we state the plant can grow in a zone. Again, our #1 priority is to ship the plants to you healthy and ready to thrive in your location. So we will do everything in our power to do so.