Plant of the Week: Butterfly Milkweed

Butterfly milkweed is this week’s Plant of the Week. We love this plant here at Grimm’s Gardens, it is one of our best sellers! Asclepias tuberosa, known also as butterflyweed or pleurisy root, is a North American prairie native. It can be found throughout the Midwest and Great Plains.

butterfly milkweeds in the prairie
yellow butterfly and monarch on butterfly milkweed

In 2017, the Perennial Plant Association chose it as the Perennial Plant of the Year. It grows in dry soils, rocky ledges, and well-drained fields and pastures. I have even discovered it in my backyard in a part shade, boggy draw. It is very adaptable to a lot of conditions.

This milkweed grows 2 feet tall and wide. In June it begins to bloom with bright orange, red, or yellow flowers. The flowers are extremely attractive to pollinators, including bees, bumblebees, and wasps. Butterflies are also frequent visitors. It is the host plant for the Monarch butterfly and several moth species.

Despite not having a milky sap, like other milkweeds, it is a favorite for the Monarch butterfly in late spring and summer. I have seen an entire plant covered with Monarch caterpillars, which then ate the whole plant! If we want to continue to see the Monarch butterfly in our gardens, we need to plant more milkweeds!

While butterfly milkweed is not my favorite milkweed, it is my favorite milkweed for gardens. It has a tidy habit that only gets leggy with too much shade. And it attracts all kinds of bugs! – Andrew Mitchell, garden writer for the Kansas Native Plant Society

You can purchase your own Butterfly Milkweed plant online at

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