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Planting Butterfly Weed
Butterfly weed is hardy in zones 4-9 and flower from midsummer to fall. The milkweed-shaped pods appear in fall and can be a winter interest.
The multi-colored flower clusters are a combination of yellow, gold and orange. The upright plant grows 1-2 feet tall. The butterfly weed is a host plant because its oblong shaped leaves are a food source for caterpillars of the monarch butterfly.
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Butterfly weed grows best in full sun with well-draining soil. After this plant is established with regular watering, the butterfly weed is drought tolerant and will withstand poor soil.
This versatile perennial plant can be used in many types of gardens. The butterfly weed belongs in prairie, meadow, native and wildflower plantings for its ability to compete with grasses out in the field and the wildlife it will attract.
If aphids are a bother, gardeners should allow beneficial insects to control the aphids. Insecticides will harm butterflies and other wildlife gardens are meant to benefit.
Cultivars of Butterfly Weed
Try ‘Gay Butterflies,’ it has the traditional orange color mixed with red and yellow.
The variety ‘Hello Yellow’ has bright yellow flowers, perfect side by side with the magenta and purple of coneflowers.
Regions of Butterfly Weed
Asclepias tuberosa, known as butterfly weed, is a member of the milkweed family. This native plant is found in regions spanning northern New England to southern Minnesota, in the United States.
In northern Wisconsin, this plant is called Indian paintbrush and grows along rural roads in sandy gravel.
The lantana plant has a strong structure of stiff stems and forest-green pungent-smelling foliage. Each individual flower cluster is mixed confetti of colors, and later will form berries if not deadheaded.
The plant grows from 1-6 feet high and wide. Lantana’s semi-trailing habit makes it a good choice for hanging containers as well as a ground cover.
This plant is hardy in zones 8-11. Lantana thrives in full sun and is heat and drought tolerant. Best described as a durable plant, it is deer resistant and toxic to children and family pets when ingested.
Lantana is an excellent choice for bee, butterfly and hummingbird gardens, whether in a container garden or planting bed. This plant with its fragrant flowers should be grown in scented gardens, as well.
Cultivars of Lantana
Here is a list of names to look for:
‘Tropical Fruit’ an 18-24” tall plant requiring 16-22” spacing.
‘Anne Marie’ a shorter lantana at 12-14” but trails 24-36.”
‘Peach Sunrise’ from Ball’s Landmark series is 12” tall and needs 18-24” spacing.
Regions of Lantana
The Lantana camara is commonly used as an annual plant in northern United States but can grow to shrub size in warmer climates. Native to Central and South America, lantana made its way to Australia where it is considered an invasive weed.
Xeriscape gardening is a resourceful garden technique that uses drought tolerant plants. When creating a xeriscape garden attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds of the region by adding native plants.