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growing butterfly weed

Growing butterfly weed

While it is a very hardy plant that reseeds itself easily, it is not intrusive or invasive.

Once well-established, butterfly weed becomes heat and drought tolerant.

Growing Butterfly Weed From Seed Outdoors

Ideally, you will have planted them in their permanent location.

How To Take Care Of A Weed Plant

Read our article about Aphids on Milkweed

Growing butterfly weed

Some companion plants for Butterfly Weed include the following:

To deadhead Butterfly Weed, wait until the flower petals begin falling off a bloom. Then, remove the stalk at the first junction of leaves below the bloom.

Like many native perennials, Butterfly Weed will have a better germination rate if they are cold stratified. This is where you ‘trick’ the seed into thinking it went through a winter. It is easiest to cold stratify Butterfly Weed seeds using a moist paper towel and zip-lock bag in the refrigerator.

[4] – Thogmartin Wayne E., Wiederholt Ruscena, Oberhauser Karen, Drum Ryan G., Diffendorfer Jay E., Altizer Sonia, Taylor Orley R., Pleasants John, Semmens Darius, Semmens Brice, Erickson Richard, Libby Kaitlin and Lopez-Hoffman Laura. 2017. Monarch butterfly population decline in North America: identifying the threatening processesR. Royal Society Open ScienceVolume 4, Issue 9. 2017. Retrieved 15JAN2021.

Butterfly Weed Uses

Asclepias Tuberosa shortly after germination

In early Autumn, pods will open with Butterfly Weed going to seed. After blooms have faded pods 2-4″ long by 1/2″ wide will form on Butterfly Weed. These pods contain the seeds and will start maturing in late Summer to early Fall.

When mature, these pods will open up and distribute seeds carried by a feather with the wind. Seeds can travel fare and wide and colonize disturbed, bare ground.

Pruning Butterfly Weed

RELATED ==> Learn how to save Butterfly Seeds cleanly here

2 – Fill pots with a general potting soil that is moist, but not soggy.

Growing butterfly weed

Butterfly weed is considered mildly toxic to humans and to animals. But because it has much lower levels of the toxic sap found in standard milkweed, butterfly weed is regarded as a safer plant in homes with children or pets.


It's important to get your watering cadence right for the plant. It should be watered regularly until new growth starts to appear (this includes leaves and stems, not just blooms), at which point you can decrease the frequency with which you water. Additionally, butterfly weed plants should not be fertilized. While fertilizer may work to make other plants bloom, it can actually harm butterfly weed and discourage blooming.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

Butterfly weed is a must-have plant for gardeners looking to coax the namesake winged insects into the garden. This clump-forming perennial grows from tuberous roots to a height of 1 to 2 feet and is characterized by glossy-green, lance-shaped leaves and clusters of bright orange-to-yellow blooms that are rich with nectar and pollen. A type of milkweed, butterfly weed is generally planted in late spring after the soil is workable. It is fairly slow to become established and may take as much as three years before it flowers. When it finally does flower, its clusters of bright orange-yellow flowers will display from late spring until late summer. Unlike other milkweeds, butterfly weed does not have caustic milky sap, but it does produce the characteristic seed pods that release silky-tailed seeds to disperse on the wind.