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sowing butterfly weed seeds

Butterfly Weed Seeds 6375. Bright, sun-loving plants are filled with brilliant orange flower clusters 10 cm (4″) across from June through to September. Mound shaped plants average 60 cm (24″) tall. Like its name suggests, this beautiful plant is a favourite of butterflies and other nectar loving insects. Butterfly Milkweed is a native Ontario perennial wildflower that is very heat and drought tolerant and an excellent choice for the low maintenance garden. Hardy to Zone 3.

125 seed/gram. Sow seed indoors in a soil-less mix in early March for late summer flowering in the first year. Growing medium temperature should be about 20 C (68 F). After germination, grow-on under lights at a cooler temperature of 15 C (60 F) before hardening off and planting out to a sunny site after the danger of frost has passed. Dormant fall seeding in mid October is also a good way to start not only this plant but many other perennials. Late fall seeding allows any dormant seed to be naturally stratified over the winter.

How to Grow

During its first year of life (or until new plants start showing mature growth), you should maintain a moist soil environment for the Butterfly Weed. Once the plant appears to be well-established, you can cut back to watering it only occasionally, as it now prefers dry soil.

Butterfly weed is a must-have plant for green thumbs looking to coax its namesake beautiful winged insects into their garden. Also known as Asclepias tuberosa, orange milkweed, pleurisy root, and yellow milkweed, the plant can grow to be anywhere from one to two feet tall and is characterized by glossy green leaves and clusters of bright orange-to-yellow blooms that are rich with nectar and pollen, which in turn attracts butterflies, along with bees, insects, and hummingbirds, all summer long. First grown in the prairies of the Midwestern United States, Butterfly Weed boasts a long medicinal history as well—Native Americans used to chew the roots as a remedy for pleurisy and other pulmonary issues, and they can also be brewed into a tea that can then be used to treat diarrhea and other stomach ailments. Butterfly weed should be planted in the early spring (after the final frost)—it will be slow to emerge, but will grow quickly once it does, hitting peak height and bloom in mid-to-late summer.

Chances are there are more finicky flowers in your garden than the Butterfly Weed, so feel free to allow them to dictate the soil composition—when it comes to this plant, you don’t have to stress. Butterfly Weed can prosper in a variety of soil conditions and compositions, from clay to gravel, and generally prefers a neutral to slightly acidic pH.

Temperature and Humidity

Though considered non-toxic, the roots and sap from Butterfly Weed can cause vomiting, weakness, and spasms in both animals and humans if consumed in very large quantities.

The low maintenance Butterfly Weed does not require any additional fertilization—in fact, doing so can harm the plant, so it’s best to just let it do its thing.

Because the Butterfly Weed is adaptable to zones three through nine, it can thrive in a variety of different temperature and humidity settings. Generally, the plant emerges in late spring, hitting its peak bloom during the warmer summer months and drying on the stem throughout the autumn and winter. It also tolerates heat and drought well.

Beloved for its ability to attract a variety of helpful (and beautiful) insects to the garden, Butterly Weed is an easy-to-nurture varietal that can also be found growing as a native wildflower in a slew of untamed environments, like meadows, prairies, and forests. Typically grown from seeds you sow directly in the garden in the fall, the butterfly plant does not require much tending to in order to thrive, prospering well in everything from clay soil, to dry or rocky soil, and even throughout drought-like conditions. Its seed pods will brown towards the end of its growing season (early autumn) and, if left on the plant, will burst and spread seeds throughout your garden to emerge as new growth the following spring. While the plant can take up to three years to fully mature and produce flowers, its blooms will gradually grow denser with each season that passes.