Butterfly Weed Asclepias tuberosa
Planting Butterfly Weed flowers will increase your chances of attracting butterflies to your garden, especially Monarchs. Easy to care for, these low maintenance flowers are drought tolerant and need plenty of sunlight to thrive and look their best. Bring home the butterflies! Butterfly weed is heavily laden with nectar and pollen, making it particularly attractive to butterflies, hummingbirds and beneficial insects. It is also the larval food source of the Monarch Butterfly. This native is heat and drought tolerant but does not like to be transplanted. After the flowers, butterfly weed produces showy seed heads which are great in dried arrangements.
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Butterfly weed is a 2' tall herbaceous perennial that dies back in winter and re-sprouts from its underground tuber each spring. 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 is unique among milkweeds in that the sap is not milky and the leaves are not opposite. Many flowers have an inner whorl of petals, called the corolla, and an outer whorl of sepals, called the calyx. These are the showy, colorful parts of a typical flower. The milkweeds are special: they have a third whorl above the corolla called the corona. Butterfly weed is a trouble-free perennial that will come up year after year in the same place without crowding its neighbors. Plant butterfly weed in mixed borders, meadows and natural areas. Butterfly weed is slow to emerge in spring, so you may want to mark where they are. Butterfly weed is a colorful, long-lived, drought tolerant perennial. Large clusters of bright orange to yellow-orange flowers top clumps of erect, hairy 1-2’ tall stems with lance-shaped leaves. The seed pods, with their long silky hairs, can be used in dried flower arrangements. Butterfly weed prefers well-drained neutral to alkaline soils and full sun. It is one of many Asclepias species, all of which are required food for monarch butterfly larvae. It is also a great nectar plant for other butterflies and insects. Butterfly weed works well in a meadow or a perennial garden