Milkweed, Butterfly (Butterflyweed)

Plant Height 2 Ft.
Seed Count 70,000 Seeds per LB
Botanical Name Asclepias tuberosa
Life Cycle Perennial
Environment Full Sun - Partial Sun
Preferred Sites Upland/Grassland
Bloom Period June-August
Flower Color Orange
Pollinator Value Excellent


Milkweed Family is a perennial herb 30-90 cm tall with woody rootstocks. Butterfly Milkweed stems are hairy, erect, and grown in numerous clumps. There is a watery sap within the stems and leaves.

USES: Milkweed species are attractive to many insect species, including the large milkweed bug, common milkweed bug, red milkweed beetle, blue milkweed beetle, and bees. Accordingly, this is a wonderful horticultural plant for landscaping to attract butterflies whose numbers are declining and migratory routes changing due to lack of appropriate habitat. Butterfly Milkweed also has strikingly beautiful flowers.

CAUTION: At one time Milkweed was classified as a noxious weed due to reported toxic effects on livestock, and efforts were made to eradicate it. Milkweeds are thought to be poisonous to cows and sheep. Milkweed also can have invasive characteristics in disturbed areas.

DISTRIBUTION: Milkweeds grow in clumps beside roadways, on abandoned farmlands, and in other open areas throughout the United States. Butterfly Milkweed grows on sandy, loamy, or rocky limestone soils of prairies, open woodlands, roadsides, and disturbed areas similar to other milkweed species.

ESTABLISHMENT: Butterfly Milkweed is easily propagated by both seed and rhizome cuttings. Both seedlings and cuttings will usually bloom in their second year, although cuttings will usually bloom in their second year they can bloom during their first years.

MANAGEMENT: Both Milkweed and Dogbane are burned in the fall to eliminate dead stalks and stimulate new growth. Burning causes new growth to have taller, straighter stems. It also stimulates flower and seed production. When used for fiber, Milkweed is collected in the autumn after the leaves have begun to fall off, the stalks turn gray or tan, and the plant dries up. If the milkweed stems will break off at the ground it’s time to harvest. Breaking off as many stalks as possible encourages resprouting in the spring. The dried stalks are then split open and the fibers are twisted into string.

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