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Butterfly Bush

Butterfly Bush

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    • Asclepias tuberosa. Butterfly Bush Milkweed seeds, sometimes called Orange Milkweed, is a hearty perennial intensely attractive to butterflies and other beneficial garden insects. It is highly drought resistant, so useful for xeriscaping. Unlike other members of the Milkweed family, Butterfly Weed does not issue a milky sap when broken. Waxy green stems to 70cm (27") tall are topped by vivid orange flower clusters. Grown in small clusters, this plant attracts butterflies like no other, even in urban gardens. Flowers are followed by exotic looking fruits that release easy-to-harvest seeds. All milkweeds are useful, nectar rich food plants for butterflies, including the Monarch butterfly.

      This is not the milkweed species that is used as a food plant by the Monarch caterpillar. That plant is A. incarnata, or Swamp Milkweed. Download our Butterfly Milk Fact Sheet.

      NOTE: All parts of the plant are harmful if swallowed. Asclepias leaves can be toxic to chickens, so plant out of range of foraging flocks.

      Perennial

        • Perennial
        • Vivid orange flower clusters
        • Waxy green stems to 70cm (27") tall
        • Attracts butterflies
        • Non-invasive species

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      Latin

      Ascelpias sp.
      Family: Apocynaceae

      Difficulty

      Easy

      Season & Zone

      Exposure: Full sun
      Zone: Hardy to Zone 3

      Timing

      Sow indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date and transplant or direct sow towards late spring. Optimal soil temperature for germination: 10-25°C (50-75°F). Seeds should sprout in 7-35 days. Asclepias may benefit from stratification: Seeded trays are wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for two to three weeks before being placed over bottom heat. This may result in more even and speedier germination.

      We have had success direct sowing A. tuberosa in March, with blooms the first year. In our experience, A. speciosa returns with vigour in the second year and begins blooming by June here on the west coast.

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