Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
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Butterfly weed has a long bloom period from late spring throughout the summer. Flowers are a nectar source for many butterflies and leaves are a food source for monarch butterfly caterpillars. Butterfly weed seems to be an aphid magnet - it can actually be used as an aphid-trap plant. Once the aphids appear they can be easily squashed, can be left to be taken care of by the ladybugs and other predatory insects, or sprayed with soapy water.
Butterfly weed does not transplant well due to its deep taproot. It takes 2 – 3 years before it produces its vibrant flowers. Once established, it lasts for years, becoming thicker each year. Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Butterfly weed is drought tolerant and does well in poor, dry soils. Crown rot can be a problem in wet, poorly drained soils.
Butterfly weed is effective in butterfly gardens, meadows, prairies, or naturalized areas. It also does well in sunny borders.
AT A GLANCE
|Bloom color||Yellow and orange|
|Mature height||1-2.5 ft|
|Mature spread||1.15 ft|
|Sun exposure||Full to part sun|
|Host plant||Grey Hairstreak, Monarch, Queen butterflies|