Plants for Water Wise Pollinator Gardens: Orange Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)


Plant Family

Milkweed Family (Asclepiadaceae)

Common Names

Orange butterfly weed, Butterfly milkweed


  • One of many native milkweeds found throughout the United States and parts of Canada
  • Hhardy and long lived
  • Grows to about 2 to 3 feet high and wide
  • Brilliant orange flowers bloom mid-summer
  • Some cultivars are available in yellow
  • Tolerates dry, well drained soils with no additional fertilizer
  • Needs full sun
  • Hardy to -33 degrees Farenheit (Cultivars may be less cold tolerant) 
    orange flowers in tight clusters
    Orange Butterfly Weed Photo credit: Anthony Zukoff Flickr CC B-NC-SA 2.0

Orange butterfly weed is a particularly important food source for the adult and caterpillar stages of a variety of butterfly species.

Butterflies on small orange flowers
Butterflies visiting Orange Butterfly Weed flowers Photo credit: Al_HikesAZ FLickr CC BY-NC 2.0


Additional Resources:

USDA NRCS Plants Database

Texas – Butterfly Weed