How to Grow Butterfly Flowers

Butterfly Flower Perennials

Growing Butterfly Flowers in Your Home Garden

The Butterfly Flower is a perennial flower that, as its name implies, attracts butterflies. It is also commonly called the butterfly weed, milkweed, and butterfly milkweed. Unlike other milkweeds, the sap is not milky. It is native to the U.S., east of the Rocky Mountains. Although, today, it’s grown in every state. Learn “How to Grow Butterfly Flowers” with this guide and you will be attracting beautiful butterflies before you know it!

Importantly, this guide is for the butterfly flower, not the butterfly bush. They are two different flowering plants.

Bright orange flowers bloom in mid-summer. The blooms sit atop plants that grow 24″ – 36″ Tall. After blooming, seeds form in light green pods.

Butterfly flowers look great in flower beds, rock gardens, or container plants. They are good as cut flowers. Make sure to plant them where you can see butterflies floating to them in a light breeze. Monarch butterflies and other butterflies feed on foliage. Many butterflies will be attracted to the nectar of open blooms.

Important Note: Most parts of this plant are toxic. Keep them away from children or pets.

Plant Height: 2 -3 feet.

Flowers Bloom: Late Spring to Summer

Perennial, Asclepias Tuberosa

Butterfly Flower Blooms

Perennial Butterfly Flower Plant Propagation

This plant is grown from seed. Sow Butterfly flower seeds directly into your flower garden. Plant them 1/8″ to 1/4″ deep. Or, start them indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost.

You can also dig out the replant the tuberous roots. It’s much easier than planting butterfly flower seeds and then waiting for the seedlings to germinate and grow.

Days to Germination: 14-28 days.

Tip: If started indoors, use a germination mat to help speed seed sprouts.

Butterfly Flower Seeds and Plants

How to Grow Butterfly Flower Plants

The low-maintenance Butterfly Flower plant likes full to partial sun. They prefer sandy, well-drained soil. These plants are drought tolerant. They do not like heavy, clay soils that retain a lot of moisture. Water them only in the driest conditions.

Plants set out this year, will bloom the following year.

Adding a general-purpose fertilizer once or twice during the season will help to promote maximum growth and bloom. We recommend one fertilizer feeding a couple of weeks before blooming. The pre-bloom feeding should be high in phosphorous.

Butterfly Flower requires little maintenance. Once established, they will thrive all season long. In the fall, the plant will die back to ground level. The following spring, new sprouts will appear from the tuberous roots.

Also, See:

Plant Problems – causes and cures

Insects and Plant Disease

Insect and disease problems are not too common. Apply an insecticide or a fungicide, only if a problem occurs. 

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