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Asclepias tuberosa

Butterfly Weed /

Butterfly weed produces loads of bright orange flower clusters from early summer into autumn. The bright flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies. It is a host plant for Grey Hairstreak, Monarch and  Queen butterflies. The dried seedpods are often used in dried flower arrangements. This is an essential plant if you want to attract a variety of butterflies to your property, especially Monarchs.


  • Bright flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies
  • Host plant for Grey Hairstreak, Monarch and Queen butterflies
  • Seedpods are often used in dried flower arrangements
  • Essential plant if you want to attract butterflies
  • Prefers moist, rocky soils, but will grow in dry situations too
  • Deer tend to leave this plant alone

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Plant in full sun in well-drained soil. Plants have deep taproots and are best left undisturbed once established. Like many milkweeds, plants are slow to emerge from the ground in spring.

18-30 Inches


12-24 Inches

USDA Hardiness Zone 3-9

Native Range

Sandy soils and upland woods; New Hampshire to South Dakota south to Arizona, Mexico and Florida.

Distribution Maps by State and County

Native Trivia

Milkweeds are the host plant for Monarch butterflies. The entire lifecycle of these butterflies, from caterpillars to adults, revolves around this plant.

"Milkweeds provide loads of nectar and serve as a food sources for Monarch caterpillars."

Good Companions
Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), Oxeye Daisy (Heliopsis helianthoides), Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), Goldenrod (Solidago rugosa), Indian Grass (Sorghastrum nutans), White Heath Aster (Aster ericoides), Side Oats Grama (Bouteloua curtipendula)

Characteristics & Attributes

Plan Sub Group
  • Low Perennials
  • Medium Perennials
  • Filtered Shade
  • Sun
  • Saline or alkaline
  • Well-drained
  • Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
  • Average
  • Dry
  • Moist but well-drained
Attracts Wildlife
  • Beneficial insects
  • Butterflies
Bloom Time
  • Late Spring / Early Summer
  • Summer
Critter Resistance
  • Deer Resistant
Habitat Collection
  • Butterfly
Native Habitat
  • Grassland
Foliage Color
  • Green
  • Accent
  • Border
  • Cut or dried flower
  • Drought tolerant
  • Erosion control
  • Meadow
  • Naturalizes
  • Rock garden
Native to
  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin