Butterfly weed

Asclepias tuberosa L.

Family: Asclepiadaceae (milkweed)

  • Bloom Period:
    • Early,
  • Growth Cycle:
    • Perennial,
  • Growth Habit:
    • Forbs/Herbs,
  • Insect Type Attracted:
    • Natural Enemy,
    • Pollinator,
  • Light:
    • Full,
    • Partial,
  • Region:
    • Southern Lower Peninsula
  • Soil Moisture:
    • Dry,
    • Medium,
  • Height:
    • 2-3ft

Natural enemies attracted

Mildly attractive: Empididae, Thomisidae, Chalcidoidea and Orius insidiosus.

Pollinators attracted

Mildly attractive: bees including sweat bees and bumble bees.

Pests attracted

Mildly attractive: lygus bug, aphids, leafhoppers, froghoppers and root-maggot flies.

Plant notes

Bright, orange flower clusters about 2 inches wide bloom at the top of the plant in early July. This species was one of the least attractive to natural enemies in the mid-season.


Butterfly weed grows in full sun to partial shade and very dry to average soil moisture. It is found in fields and along sandy roadsides and is naturally occurring in woodland openings and dry barrens. It is generally associated with dry prairie, pine and oak barrens.

Cultivation and management

This plant can be grown from seed to flowers in the third year, or plug material, flowering in the second year. However, it did not establish well from plugs in our full-sun, average moisture site.