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Asclepias Planting Instructions

Planting Instructions for Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed):

Bloom Time:  Summer Light:  Full sun to part sun
Soil:  Sandy loam, dry and well-drained Moisture:  Little or no extra moisture required, keep dry when dormant
Planting Depth:  With top of root 1/2" to 1" below soil level Spacing: 15" to 18"

Upon arrival:  Unpack box and check that you have everything on your packing list. Bare root butterfly weed should be dry but firm in the bags. If condensation has formed on the inside of the bag, open and let it air out then close it again. Plant everything within a day or two.

Soil/Location:  Plant your butterfly weed in a sunny spot in a sandy loam that stays relatively dry and well-draining. Add compost or peat humus to enrich and loosen the soil if needed, but they are very adaptable to almost any soil conditions provided it dries out thoroughly between watering. Remember to keep the soil light and airy for perennials, so cover them with loose soil and don't pack it in after planting.

Moisture:  Asclepias tuberosa is native to sandy banks and meadows where they thrive in hot and dry conditions. Little or no extra moisture is required.

Spacing:  Plant about 15 to 18" apart, usually in groups of 3 for the most dramatic effect.

Depth:  Plant with the top of the tap root about 1/2" to 1" below soil level. After planting and watering in lightly the root should not be showing.

General Instructions:  Amend your garden with compost or peat humus to enrich or loosen the soil, if needed, however Asclepias tuberosa is very adaptable to any loose, well-draining soil and will thrive in a good sandy loam. Mix a couple teaspoons of garden food or bone meal into the planting hole if desired, digging deep enough to plant the carrot like root vertically without coiling or breaking the roots. After planting you can water in once lightly and then they prefer a bit of a dry start when they are dormant in spring and have no foliage.

Landscape Uses:  Plant butterfly weed in the dry perennial garden with Achillea, Gaillardia, shasta daisies, Echinacea, Salvia, Rudbeckia, and other prairie wildflowers.

Once established, these members of the milkweed family are extremely drought tolerant and very long lived. They are a food source for selected butterlfy larvae and an excellent nectar source for adult butterflies. They can be transplanted when dormant but because the tap roots grow so deeply they may be difficult to move without damaing the root system if they have been planted for a long time. Propagation is best done by seed.