2 to 4 feet x 2 to 4 feet
Regional Advice and Care
This native has less stature, compared with the butterfly bush, but is just as effective at drawing in winged friends, such a butterflies, ladybugs and beneficial insects, into the garden. It’s particularly a favorite of the Monarch butterfly. Butterfly weed is also hardier and more adapted to a wider range of soils, making it a good choice if you’re having a hard time growing butterfly bush successfully. The plant is slow to emerge in spring, so don’t give up hope. My butterfly weed often will just start growing when other plants are fully leafed out around it. But it makes up for lost time quickly growing to 4 feet tall and wide with brightly colored flowers. Once growing it has few problems.
Plant butterfly weed in a perennial garden close to where you can view the butterflies from a window or deck. Since butterfly weed can have loud, hot flower colors, pair it in the garden with complimentary colored perennials, such as Russian sage, coneflowers and ornamental grasses. It can also be grown in the cut flower garden for arrangements.
Companion Planting and Design
Butterfly weed is hardy through New England. Sow seeds indoors in peat pots 6 to 8 weeks before your last frost date, thinning to one plant per pot. Or plant locally purchased plants in spring after danger of frost has passed or summer, in full sun on compost-amended, well-drained soil. Poor soil drainage is the one thing butterfly weed won’t stand. Space plants 2 to 3 feet apart. Butterfly weed has a taproot, so once planted it’s difficult to move.
Butterfly Weed should not require any special care if you plant it in full sun and well-drained soil. No fertilizer or special soil amendments should be necessary.
Ok – so I must give you my personal experience with Butterfly Weed, which is extensive. But in 8 years of growing Butterfly Weed, I have found that Butterfly Weed is deer resistant. In fact I’ve never seen damage from deer.
3 – Squish them.
When does Butterfly Weed emerge
 – Haddad, N.M. and Tewksbury, J.J. (2005), LOW‐QUALITY HABITAT CORRIDORS AS MOVEMENT CONDUITS FOR TWO BUTTERFLY SPECIES. Ecological Applications, 15: 250-257. https://doi.org/10.1890/03-5327
Butterfly Weed is easy to grow from seed. You can direct sow the seed on disturbed soil in the Fall. Just gently sprinkle and then walk on the seed. Then you just need to wait until Spring!
Oleander Aphid Control on Milkweed
A second year Butterfly Weed Plant.
Butterfly Weed is a herbaceous perennial native to North America. It produces showy orange flowers for up to two months in Summer, with a typical bloom time of June to August.