Species Name: Asclepias tuberosa
Common Name: Butterfly Plant
Zone: 3 to 8
Light: Full Sun
Soil Moisture: Medium to very dry
Soil Types: Sand, Gravel, Well drained loam (Does not like clay)
Fertility: Medium to Poor
pH: 5 to 7.0
Bloom Time: July, August, September
Habit: Butterfly plant (BP) requires very well drained soil to prosper. BP survives in prairie plantings as scattered clumps and individuals, never as dense stands as it reproduces only from seed and not vegetatively from its roots. It develops a deep taproot which allows it to survive extreme drought, poor soils and tough competition from other prairie species. The harsher the site the easier BP is to establish due to lack of competition. The plants are slow to mature from seed but long lived and grow larger and more floriferous with age. Butterfly plant should be a desirable component of any meadow planting. It is a host plant for Monarch caterpillars, is highly deer and pest resistant and attracts numerous pollinators when in flower. It is easy to propagate and naturalize from seed.
As a garden plant Butterfly plant has many desirable qualities already mentioned above:
adaptability to poor dry soils, long lived, deer resistance and it is one of few plants with bright orange flowers. If early blooms are removed after flowering the plant will rebloom later in the year. It can be planted in mixed plantings or massed for dramatic effect.