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Audubon® Butterfly Weed
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You may think of Butterfly Weed as only a monarch butterfly host plant, but this valuable native makes a fine addition to your backyard bird habitat as well. Its blaze-orange flowers lure in hummingbirds. The plant also attracts insects like aphids, which some birds find delicious. But perhaps the most special thing about it is the silky floss in the seedpods. It makes choice material for lining bird nests! Leave your Butterfly Weed standing over the winter, so the birds can gather it in spring. Better yet, store it in a dry place and put it out for them at the end of winter.
May Benefit & Attract: Chickadees & titmice, orioles, sparrows, vireos, waxwings, wood warblers, and wrens.
Take Birds Under Your Wing
New! Introducing our bird-friendly collection of Audubon® Native Plants & Trees
- Better for Birds, 100% Neonic-Free
- Not Available in non-native regions, states or counties (see Native Regions map)
Bower & Branch is proud to grow Audubon® Native Plants for Birds in partnership with the National Audubon Society to help birds and other wildlife thrive.
- The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow
- This bird-friendly native plant provides food and shelter for local and migrating birds and other wildlife
- Your purchase and planting of this native flora directly supports Audubon’s conservation mission and impact
- Learn how you can help birds in your home and community through Audubon’s Plants for Birds program
- Audubon Native Plants & Trees are free of neonicotinoids and exclusively grown by Bower & Branch
Audubon® is a licensed and registered trademark of the National Audubon Society. All rights reserved.
- Hardiness Zone: 3-9
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Calling all monarchs! Give our beautiful native monarch butterflies a boost with Butterfly Weed, a type of Milkweed that monarchs use as a host plant for their young. In fact, monarch caterpillars will ONLY eat Milkweeds, so if you truly want to help the monarchs, this is the Spirit you need to plant. Butterfly Weed grows wild from the Rocky Mountains to the East Coast in average to dry soil. In spring, female monarchs that have made the incredible journey to Mexico will head north, following Butterfly Weed and other Milkweeds as they emerge from dormancy. They will lay their eggs and die, their mission completed.
In 2017, the Perennial Plant Association selected Butterfly Weed as the Perennial Plant of the Year. In making their decision each year, the PPA chooses a Spirit that is adaptable to growing conditions over a wide area, that is relatively easy to grow, that is showy during multiple seasons of the year, and that exhibits resistance to pests and diseases.
How to Grow
Butterfly Weed loves to bask in all-day sun, and it will grow in just about any type of soil as long as it’s well drained. Once it’s established, the plant will be quite drought tolerant. Butterfly Weed develops a thick taproot to enable it to survive during dry periods, which makes it difficult to transplant, so don’t try to move a well-rooted plant. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage rebloom. Cut back plants any time before new growth appears in the spring. Be patient—this Spirit is slow to emerge. You may want to mark its location before winter comes, so you don’t forget where it is!
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