Marin Master Gardeners
University of California
Marin Master Gardeners

Plant Guide

Asclepias tuberosa

Common Name
Butterfly Plant
CA Native
Non-native
Plant Type
Perennial
Size
1.5' - 2.5' x 1.2'
Flower Color
Orange, Yellow/Orange, Yellow
Bloom Time
  • Fall
  • Spring
  • Spring through Fall
Leaves
Small Green
Evergreen
Deciduous
Deer Resistant
Seldom Damaged
Wildlife Value
  • Attracts Beneficial Insects
  • Butterfly & Other Insect Nectar
  • Butterfly Larval Host Plant
Growth Rate
Moderate
Hardiness
Hardy
Adverse Growth Factors
None
Special Features
  • Low Maintenance
  • Showy Flowers
Water Use
  • Low
Soil pH
Exposure
  • Full Sun
Soil Type
Not Particular
Drainage
Well Drained
Description and Cultural Plant Tips

Asclepias has large clusters of bright orange to yellow flowers that stand out above the foliage. Seed pods are valued for dried flower arrangements. Unlike other milkweeds, it does not have a milky sap. Does well in a mid-border setting. Looks great with Tithonia, Gentian Sage, Salvia greggii, and Lantana.

Plant slightly above soil grade in well-drained soil because plant is susceptible to crown rot. May be an evergreen in areas of Marin that don't get heavy frost. In which case, cut back by half in early spring.

Must have for a butterfly garden. Is a host plant for Monarch larva.  Also attracts adult Monarchs and other butterflies.

Aphids can be a problem. Wash off with water or plant in a windy area where aphids do not tend to congregate. Beneficial insects like this plant because of the aphid problem so don't use insecticides.

Master Gardener Comments

This is a butterfly magnet. Looks great in just about any garden setting. Aphids can be a problem but worth the extra housekeeping work.

Varietals

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