Asclepias tuberosa is a drought-tolerant and robust plant native to the eastern parts of Canada and the Midwestern US.
Its common name is the Butterfly weed. It derives this name because it can readily draws butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden.
Butterfly weed - Asclepia tuberosa photograph by Mark Levisay.
Some other names it goes by include Orange milkweed, Yellow milkweed, Indian paintbrush, and Pleurisy root.
It belongs to the Apocynaceae (dogbane) family and grows to a height of about 1-3 feet (30 to 90 cm). Its flowers are bright orange, and plants normally blossom around early summer up to early frost.
Asclepias tuberosa plant in the wild, photograph by gailhampshire; CC.
They are well-loved by many wild flower garden enthusiasts as their bright flowers attract insects and birds like butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees; which can pollinate other plants.
Its roots also have medicinal benefits. They are ideally planted in a place that has a lot of sun.
Asclepias tuberosa Botanical Diagram, image sourced by Swallowtail Garden Seeds; CC.
You can plant the Asclepias tuberosa from seed, then directly sow the seeds into the soil. It is recommended to sow them in fall, allowing them to shoot during the following spring. It is also important to water it often in early stages of growth.
When sowing, you should give the seeds a space of 15-18 inches (40 to 60 cm). There is no need to fertilize Butterfly weed.
Topdressing it with composted manure or compost annually (or twice a year) is also good for growth.
Asclepias Tuberosa does best in a rocky or dry soil, clay soils, and dry conditions. It blossoms the best when grown in a lot of sun.
As the butterfly weed grows it may attract some pests, especially aphids. To get rid of those, do not use strong pesticides as they may damage the plants ecosystem and the soil.
Spraying the plant with water from a hosepipe will work just fine in getting rid of the pests, or better still use soapy water. That said, in a wild nature garden you may wish to let the aphids be, as they will help to attract insects such as ladybirds to the garden.
Blooming Butterfly Milkweed flowers, photograph by Cathie Bird; CC.