Butterfly Weed: If you plant it, they will come!

A new beginning to a more colorful world.

If you plant it, they will come! Butterfly weed is an absolute must-have this summer to start your own butterfly garden! Butterfly Weed is famous for its vibrant bright orange blossoms, and many butterfly visitors, especially inspirational to our ever missed Monarch’s! Plant this Spirit near your favorite summer sitting area while curious pollinators join along, attracted to these fragrant flowers and their nourishment. This native plant’s qualities are inspirational to our little winged friends as they are grown neonicotinoid free, which means they can enjoy rich nectar unharmed. The benefits of having Butterfly Weed planting in your garden are bountiful and endless!

Ornamental Value 

One of the joys of summer, and appropriately named attracting a bevy of beautiful butterflies. Butterfly weed has a strong personality with its bold tangerine blooms and alluring scent. Adding a touch of exuberance to your quiet garden beds, it is so much more than its good looks and charm. 

Watching butterflies is a delight at any age, and discovering a treasure trove of them is even more exhilarating! Invite this colorful character to all your summer garden parties, bringing kids and families together in wonder and conservation. Do you remember the magical moment as a child seeing these winged jewels flutter by? Planting Butterfly Weed is one of the best ways to get children interested in gardening and introducing them to Monarch protection. Bring color and life from your garden beds into your home!

Pollinator Value

You don’t have to own a farm to make a difference, even the smallest of gardens can make a big impact. Butterfly Weed can play a significant role in enriching conservation efforts for our pollinators. Bees are very fond of Butterfly Weed blossoms and its nourishing nectar. It can feed the bees enough to make a small crop of honey. They say, “Bee the change you want to see,” more honey is the sweetest reason to plant.

Oh, to be a butterfly, and flutter upon a delightful feast; those golden orange blooms saturated in sweet nectar! Butterfly Weed contributes to many of our pollinating friends, and one of the most beautiful and graceful are the Monarchs. They certainly do their fair share in bringing seed and fruit production to neighboring crops, and always pleasing to watch. Butterflies of all kinds, and particularly Monarch’s have enchanted mankind for centuries. A population that is dwindling as humans destroy habitats. An amazing way to help is by planting a butterfly-friendly garden with multiples of Butterfly Weed! Even the smallest of gardens can bring uplifting change!

BUTTERFLY WEED IN YOUR GARDEN

 

Should I plant Butterfly Weed?

There are a couple of reasons to consider planting in your landscape. Vibrant blooms are certainly one of them; as they will add a wonderful pop of color to gardens with clusters of bright tangerine flowers. But there’s another reason so many people are planting it now. 

You may have heard that Butterfly Weed is important for monarch butterflies. While it is a source of nectar for them, it’s more than that, it is actually a necessary host plant for them. This is because the monarch butterfly caterpillar only eats milkweed, and this is why mature butterflies only lay their eggs on them. Without these host plants, the caterpillars will starve. Planting milkweed is such a simple way to help the monarch butterfly population!

 

Where to plant, and care:

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! Once you’ve determined what conditions your plant needs to thrive, plant them somewhere you (and butterflies) can enjoy them! 

Is Butterfly Weed toxic?

Butterfly Weed secretes a milky sap (hence its name). This sap can be harmful to humans, pets, livestock, and other animals—but ONLY if it is consumed in very large quantities. Fortunately, the sap tastes so foul that most critters (monarch caterpillars excluded!) are more than happy to leave the entire plant alone. Thank goodness for common sense!

Is Butterfly Weed invasive?

Butterfly Weed is often seen as an invasive weed. Truthfully, although “weed” is in the name, it is not a weed at all, and over 100 varieties are native to the US! While it is not a weed, it does grow very quickly, so you’ll want to maintain it to make sure it doesn’t quickly outgrow the planting spot you’ve chosen. Be prepared though, as caterpillars will readily handle pruning if present.

How do I water?

For many varieties, you don’t really need to! As long as your area is not prone to drought, you can leave your plants alone and they will do just fine.

How do I care for Butterfly Weed over winter?

Butterfly weed, will enjoy the protection of a little mulch during colder months, most varieties require very little winter care. Once the plants start to die back in the fall, you can trim them all the way down and wait for them to re-emerge in spring.

Butterfly Weed is grown neonicotinoid free. What does that mean and why is it important?

Neonicotinoids are systemic pesticides chemically related to nicotine which are used to make plants and trees less susceptible to insect damage.  A growing number of studies have shown that neonicotinoid pesticides harm birds and pollinators – both by leaching into the soil and causing neurological effects, and by killing off insects that some species rely on for food. For this reason, our growers do not use this to protect our winged friends.

Dealing with aphids and other pests

Aphids (often very small and bright orange-gold in color) suck sap from plants. To deal with a severe infestation of aphids, spray plants with cold water (but be careful not to harm any monarch butterfly eggs in the process). Cold water should be sufficient in removing aphids; if it does not solve the problem, you can spray affected plants with insecticidal soap. This should only be done if absolutely necessary. 

These plants are also extremely attractive to slugs, which will eat holes in the leaves and badly damage flowers. If you see large holes in your plants’ foliage, check for slugs in the evenings. Dropping slugs into a bucket of water mixed with dish soap is an effective and mess-free way to remove these pests from your garden.