About Butterfly Weed

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The butterfly weed, or Asclepias tuberosa, is a perennial herb native to the United States. This low-maintenance plant sprouts year after year in the same spot, according to Floridata. Butterfly weed is useful in mixed borders and natural areas.


  • Butterfly weed grows to be approximately 1.5 to 2 feet tall at maturity. Its long and narrow lance-shaped leaves grow between 1 and 4 inches long. Its hairy stems have multiple branches that support clusters of bright yellow, orange or reddish-orange blossoms. Seed pods that are 4 to 5 inches long replace the blossoms.


  • Butterfly weed is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Map zones 4 through 10, which includes cities such as Minneapolis, Oklahoma City and Miami. The plant occurs naturally in open fields and along roadsides from Ontario to Texas. It prefers full sunlight or partial shade and sandy, well-drained soil. Butterfly weed is drought-tolerant.


  • Monarch butterfly larvae only feed on milkweed foliage. The butterfly weed is a larval home and food source to the Monarch, Grey Hairstreak and Queen butterfly species. They also attract a wide variety of other butterflies and hummingbirds, which feed on the nectar.

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