2017 Perennial of the Year: Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed)

This year’s winner is Acslepias tuberosa – also known as butterfly weed…this cultivated plant is an alternative to housing milkweed from a natural setting in your garden. Butterfly weed is a food source for butterflies and supports insects and birds. A long-lived perennial AND native to parts of Canada and USA.

Asclepias tuberosa is a sun lover, about 2 feet tall by about the same, with brilliant orangey flowers blooming from late spring through July, relatively free of pests and diseases; apparently, deer don’t even like it. Dead heading keeps the plant compact and encourages longer blooming. Asclepias likes well drained soil, yet is quite tolerant of poor dry conditions. It doesn’t transplant well, so make sure you place it correctly to start. It will look quite stunning with day lilies, gay-feather, cone flowers and Salvia – a lovely contrast.

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