2017 Perennial Plant of the Year — Asclepias tuberosa


Asclepias tuberosa


A virtually hassle-free, very long lived perennial, offering three months of tangerine orange blooms (occasionally red or yellow) from early through late summer. Deadheading the flowers will stimulate another bloom cycle about a month after the first one. The flowers, which are heavily laden with nectar and pollen, are particularly attractive to hummingbirds, Monarch butterflies, bees, and other beneficial insects.

Landscape Uses

Asclepias tuberosa is a prairie plant native to North America from S. Ontario and New York, west to N. Dakota, southwest to Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico, and south to Florida (zones 3-9). Found naturally in dry fields and on slopes, it does not require rich soil or much moisture. A full day of sun is best along with a slightly acidic, sandy-humus-loam that is well-drained (especially in winter).


Once established, Butterfly Weed is drought-tolerant and requires little care. Though it is perfectly cold-hardy in the north, mulching plants in winter will help prevent frost-heaving. In spring, trim back last year's growth and await the beautiful new foliage which will appear quite a bit later than other perennials. It's a good idea to grow this perennial from seed; division, though seldomly needed, is difficult because of the plant's long tap root.