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seed pods of butterfly weed

[8] – Paola A. Barriga, Eleanore D. Sternberg, Thierry Lefèvre, Jacobus C. de Roode, Sonia Altizer, Occurrence and host specificity of a neogregarine protozoan in four milkweed butterfly hosts (Danaus spp.),Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, Volume 140, 2016,Pages 75-82, ISSN 0022-2011,

To deadhead Butterfly Weed, wait until the flower petals begin falling off a bloom. Then, remove the stalk at the first junction of leaves below the bloom.

Choose a location or flower bed that receives at least 4 hours of direct sun. But the more sun it receives, the better.


The primary disease that can kill Butterfly Weed is Chlorosis, or Root Rot [10].

Butterfly Weed grows well with other drought tolerant plants that bloom at the same time. Or, choose other nearby companion plants to keep constant blooms all summer.

The primary non-native pest for Butterfly Weed is the dreaded Oleander Aphid. These aphids are thought to have come from the Mediterranean, where the Oleander plant grows wild [9].

If you wish to control Oleander Aphids, you have 3 options:

This is one plant that can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions from medium to dry moisture levels. It needs good drainage and is drought tolerant. This is a great milkweed for a sunny dry area. Butterfly weed prefers full sun but will do well in part shade.

Female Black Swallowtail on Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Butterfly Weed Characteristics

Like most milkweeds (but not all), Butterfly Weed seeds must be cold stratified for a period of time to break dormancy but only if they are fresh (just harvested). They can also be winter sown or fall planted if you are using freshly harvested seeds for growth the following spring. If cold stratifying indoors then plan on stratifying them for at least 30 days.

Asclepias tuberosa is a native milkweed to most of the US with the exception being the Northwest. It is a perennial and is hardy in zones 4-9. Some resources include zones 3 and 10 as well in its hardiness range.

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is often confused with Butterfly Bush (Buddleia). They are not the same. Butterfly bush is a large shrub that is a great nectar plant whereas Butterfly Weed is a short milkweed that can be used as a host plant by Monarchs as well as being a nectar plant.