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Asclepias tuberosa

Pronunciation: ass-KLEE-pee-us too-bur-O-suh
Family: Asclepiadaceae
Common Name: Butterfly Weed, Butterfly Milkweed, Pleurisy Root
Plant Type:
  • perennial
Height to: 36 in
Width to: 12 in
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • -20 to -30ºF ZONE 4
  • -10 to -20ºF ZONE 5
  • 0 to -10ºF ZONE 6
  • 10 to 0ºF ZONE 7
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
Sun Exposure:
  • part sun
  • full sun
Bloom Description: The brilliant orange or red flower clusters appear in midsummer. These are followed by attractive green pods that open to release silky "parachutes" to drift away on autumn winds. Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is unique among milkweeds in that the sap is not milky and the leaves are not opposite.
Soil Type: prefer poor to fertile, well drained, loamy soil
  • Yes
Plant Perks:
  • Cut Flower
  • Drought Tolerant
  • Attracts Butterflies
Pests and Diseases: is susceptible to whiteflies and spider mites when grown under glass. Aphids and mealybugs are common during flowering. Rust and bacterial and fungal leaf spots are common in the s. E. Us
Propagation: Propagate Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) by seed or you can divide tubers in spring
Native to: E and S North America
Winter Sowing Zones: Zones 4-8
Notes for Identification:

Source: floridata - plant Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) in mixed borders, meadows and natural areas. Butterfly weed is slow to emerge in spring, so you may want to mark where they are. The roots are said to increase fluidity of mucus in lungs and bronchial tubes, hence the common name, pleurisy root. Butterfly weed is a trouble free perennial that will come up year after year in the same place without crowding its neighbors.

WARNING: despite its reported medicinal uses, most parts of butterfly weed probably are toxic. Do not ingest this plant.  

a caterpillar host plant for the  monarch and  queen butterfly

butterfly nectar plant for the black swallowtail, baltimore checkerspot, great spangled fritillary, mourning cloak, queen, question mark, viceroy and the zabulon skipper. 

Source: Various sources including The American Horticultural Society A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants and the USDA

USDA Heat Zones (days above 86ºF):
  • 1 to 7 days ZONE 2
  • 7 to 14 days ZONE 3
  • 14 to 30 days ZONE 4
  • 30 to 45 days ZONE 5
  • 45 to 60 days ZONE 6
  • 60 to 90 days ZONE 7
  • 90 to 120 days ZONE 8
  • 120 to 150 days ZONE 9
Seed photo: 1
Seed Label: 1
Located in: Perennials
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