Butterfly Weed

April 2, 2019

Butterfly Weed

Characteristics

Height: 24-36 inches Spread: 18-24 inches Habit/Form: Upright/rounded Zones: 3-9 Growth Rate: Slow

Cultural Requirements

This hardy, midwest native plant is a wonderful addition to a low maintenance or beginner’s garden. The drought tolerant plant performs at its best in full sun, well drained soils. Butterfly Weed is also a great plant for shallow, rocky dry soils. Some patience is required, since new growth is slow to emerge compared to most perennials, not appearing often until late spring. Because Butterfly Weed develops a deep taproot, it does not transplant well and it is important that it is left undisturbed, once planted.

Ornamental Features

The bright orange/yellow clusters of flowers appear above bright green foliage in summer and continues through early fall. Following the flowers, appear long seed pods that, when dry, split open and release silky seeds. This is how the Butterfly Weed reproduces. The seed pods make a wonderful addition to the winter garden or used in dried floral arrangements. If you don’t want your Butterfly Weed to spread, simply cut-off the seed pods before they ripen. The leaves and flowers are loved by a variety of beneficial insects, but most importantly they are the primary food source for the Monarch butterfly and its larvae. This low maintenance perennial is a favorite of our designer, Danielle Buesch, because of its unique flower color and its importance to the natural environment as a native.

Landscape Uses

This perennial is a great complement to many others, such as purple Salvia, yellow Black-Eyed Susan & lavender Russian Sage. Use in mixed perennial beds, wildflower and naturalized gardens and any spots that have drought like conditions.

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