The Lifecycle of Butterfly Weed is a perennial. It will emerge in late Spring, later than most other plants. Rapidly it will grow to a height of 1-2′ and bloom by early Summer for about one month. By late Summer to early Fall, seed pods will form. The pods will ripen, open, disperse their seed and die back to ground.
Butterfly Weed Growth Cycle
Can you spot the Monarch Caterpillar too?
1 – Bees and Butterflies love it!
Uses by the Cherokee, Delaware, Menominee, Mohegan, and Navajo include
There are a number of named cultivars of this plant. Most varieties, as well as the native species, are orange. But some popular varieties offer color variations:
These are very similar plants and members of the same plant genus. Both are of great value to butterflies and other pollinators. But butterfly weed has notable orange flowers, while milkweed has white or pink/mauve flowers. Further, milkweed is notably toxic, with the potential for fatality if large quantities are consumed by humans or animals. Butterfly weed, on the other hand, has rather mild toxicity, and fatalities are very rare.
Types of Butterfly Weed
Beloved for its ability to attract a variety of helpful (and beautiful) insects to the garden, butterfly weed is an easy-to-nurture herbaceous perennial that can also be found growing as a native wildflower in a slew of untamed environments, such as meadows, prairies, and forest clearings. Typically grown from seeds you sow directly in the garden, butterfly weed does not require much tending to in order to thrive, prospering well in everything from clay soil to dry, rocky soil, and even in drought-like conditions.
Butterfly weed can prosper in a variety of soil conditions and compositions, from clay to gravel, and it generally prefers a neutral to slightly acidic pH.
Common Problems With Butterfly Weed
In general, butterfly weed is not a difficult plant to cultivate and should bloom freely on its own once it has reached maturity (which can take up to three years). That being said, if you're struggling to get your butterfly weed to bloom, there could be a few factors at play.