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Asclepias (as-KLEE-pea-us)

Common Name:  Butterfly weed

Light:  - Full sun to part sun

Soil:  Sandy, well-drained

Moisture:  Average to dry

Blooms:  Early summer

Zones:  3 - 9


Asclepias tuberosa

Asclepias Description and Cultural Information

Asclepias incarnata, swamp milkweed. 3' - 5'. As you might guess from the name, swamp milkweed prefers to be grown in wet, humus-rich soil, but they can also tolerate some drought. Plants have flat clusters of mauve flowers atop tall stems with lance shaped leaves. 'Ice Ballet' has white flowers. Swamp milkweeds grow from a creeping rhizome.

Asclepias tuberosa, butterfly weed. 1 - 3'. Butterfly weed is native to roadsides, meadows, and prairies. They have flat clusters of bright orange flowers atop tall stems. 'Gay Butterflies' is a seed-grown strain with mixed flower colors of orange, red, or yellow flowers.

How to Grow:  Swamp milkweed prefers wet, humus-rich soil in full sun to light shade. Butterfly weed is native to sandy banks and hillsides so prefers well-drained, dry, sandy or loamy soil in full sun to part sun.

Landscape uses:  Plant swamp milkweed with Joe-Pye weed, Monarda, ornamental grasses, asters, Japanese Iris, Ligularia, and other moisture tolerant plants for sunny areas. Plant butterfly weed in the dry perennial garden with Achillea, Gaillardia, Chrysanthemums, Echinacea, Salvia, Sedum, and prairie wildflowers.

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