High Desert Plant Finder & Guide

perennial

Butterfly Weed

Asclepias tuberosa

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Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) at Moana Nursery

Butterfly Weed flowers

Butterfly Weed flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Plant Height:  24 inches

Flower Height:  32 inches

Spread:  24 inches

Sunlight:  full sun 

Hardiness Zone:  2

Description:

Clusters of bright orange to yellow-orange flowers atop upright to reclining, hairy stems with narrow, lance-shaped leaves. Flowers are a nectar source for many butterflies and leaves are a food source for monarch butterfly caterpillars. Drought tolerant.

Ornamental Features

Butterfly Weed has fragrant orange flat-top flowers with gold overtones at the ends of the stems from mid to late summer. The flowers are excellent for cutting. Its narrow leaves remain green in color throughout the season. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Butterfly Weed is an herbaceous perennial with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its medium texture blends into the garden, but can always be balanced by a couple of finer or coarser plants for an effective composition.

This is a high maintenance plant that will require regular care and upkeep, and is best cleaned up in early spring before it resumes active growth for the season. It is a good choice for attracting butterflies to your yard, but is not particularly attractive to deer who tend to leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Butterfly Weed is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use
  • Naturalizing And Woodland Gardens

Planting & Growing

Butterfly Weed will grow to be about 24 inches tall at maturity extending to 32 inches tall with the flowers, with a spread of 24 inches. It tends to be leggy, with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground, and should be underplanted with lower-growing perennials. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years.

This plant should only be grown in full sunlight. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist locations, and should do just fine under typical garden conditions. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is quite intolerant of urban pollution, therefore inner city or urban streetside plantings are best avoided. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in both summer and winter to conserve soil moisture and protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This species is native to parts of North America.

 
 
Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Characteristics
Massing  Garden  Naturalizing 
Applications
Flowers  Winter Value  Attracts Wildlife 
Ornamental Features

Please note: Our Plant Guide is all about plants that will work in the high desert. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a current list of plants in stock on hand at each location or at our farm. We purposely do not sell or ship plants via the internet. Plant questions and availability are best determined in-store.