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S & J Nursery's Guide to Growing 

Florida Native Milkweed / Butterfly Weed / Indian Paintbrush / Pleurisy Root

for the Northeast Florida Landscape

                                   (Asclepias tuberosa)

Orange Butterfly Weed is a Florida native plant that can be found growing in its natural habitat of sandy dry soils in Florida.


Grown as a larval plant for the Monarch, Queen and Soldier Butterfly and in the case of Asclepias tuberosa for human medicinal purposes as well, our butterfly plants are grown here on site from seed, cuttings, or divisions and not treated with herbicides or pesticides. See Pesticides on Butterfly Plants for more information

 Preferred Exposure for Native Orange Milkweed:

 - Prefers a bright full sun location but will still grow and bloom nicely in a partially shaded garden location.


Foliage, Size and Growth Habit of the Native Orange Milkweed:




     Asclepias tuberosa has narrow alternating foliage that swirls up the stem is 4 to 6 inches in length, sometimes longer and deciduous, loosing its leaves during the winter time. 


Size when Mature:


      It can grow to a height of 2-3 ft high and 2 ft wide. Asclepias tuberosa has a tendency towards aggressive behavior when planted into it's ideal environment. Like any native plant, it is very at home here in Florida's sand and spreads by reseeding itself without assistance from us when it is planted in its ideal location. For the Orange Butterfly weed that is dry sandy soils in full sun. Their natural habitat would be much like areas on the side of a highway.


 Growth Habit:


     Plants grow from a single stem when young but as they age the plants will send off suckers from the roots forming a rounded multi stemmed habit. Mature Plants will also have a deep tap root running from the main stem into the ground to about 12 inches making survival from transplanting or dividing more difficult. So be sure to take its height and width when mature into consideration when planting so you don't end up needing to move it later on.  


Soil Preference / Salt tolerance of Asclepias tuberosa:


- Butterfly weed is not that particular about the soil that it is planted into, providing it is well drained. It will thrive when planted into very well drained sandy soils and is perfect for those hot garden spots where more tender flowers die!


- Salt tolerance for Asclepias tuberosa is poor.



Growth Rate:


- Moderate fast growing plants, Native Orange Butterfly Weed  can be expected to reach its full height in the first or second growing season depending on when it was planted in the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area landscape.




- Bright sunny orange blooms that are recognizable by their typical milkweed leaf pattern and petal count. Asclepias tuberosa will have clusters of flowers that each have 10 petals , 5 down and outward facing petals and 5 upward facing petals. When planted from seeds and not tissue or cutting grown, Asclepias tuberosa will show it's wide genetic gene pool and may have orange yellow and red colored blossoms.