Butterfly Garden Plant Asclepias tuberosa Butterfly Milkweed

Butterfly Garden Plants

Butterfly Milkweed

(Asclepias tuberosa)

Other common names for this plant include

General Information
Cultural Requirements
Native Range
Plant Rating
Plant Reviews

General InformationNABA_DividerBar

Coral Hairstreak on Asclepias tuberosa

Coral Hairstreak on 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 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.

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


Cultural RequirementsNABA_DividerBar

USDA Hardiness Zone 3 to 9
Bloom Period July to August
Bloom Color Orange
Plant Height 12 to 36 inches
Plant Spread 24 to 36 inches
Light Exposure Sun
Soil Moisture Average to dry
Animal/Disease Problems Deer Resistant, aphids may be a problem


Native RangeNABA_DividerBar
Asclepias tuberosa







Plant RatingNABA_DividerBar
Plant rating scale ranges from 0 to 3. Plants rating 3 are the most useful for butterfly gardens. For more details on the ratings, see Native Plant Ratings

Garden Rating 3
Nectar Rating 3
Caterpillar Rating 3


Plant Reviews

Warren, NJ: visited by Coral Hairstreaks, Juniper Hairstreaks, and Great Spangled Fritillaries.

Broward, FL: self seeds, requires no care and is easily obtained in local nurseries. When plants look ragged from weather damage, cut stems back to a few inches. Cut portions of the plant can be rooted be placing the lower section in water for a number of weeks.