Exposure: Sun / Shade

Water: Medium

Mature Size (H x W): 2’ x 2’

Blooming Season: June – September

Flower Color: Orange

Region: All parts of Greater Albuquerque

A must-have for all Monarch butterfly enthusiasts, this cheerful, easy perennial has a place in most gardens. Use it in rainwater swales, perennial beds, or cutting gardens. Native to most parts of North America, it does well in poor, dry soils. The flowers provide an important nectar source for Monarch butterflies, and the leaves are food for Monarch caterpillars.

Look for plants grown from local stock, which are better adapted to the desert than plants propagated from cooler, wetter parts of the country. Prune the first flowers in summer to encourage a longer blooming season. Spread these plants out in the garden; greater concentrations of the plants draw more predators to the caterpillars. Don’t be alarmed if your plants attract aphids – high quality habitat brings with it a greater diversity of insects, which are not necessarily harmful to the plants or to the Butterfly weed. (A mild solution of soap and water can be applied to treat the aphids.)

Water every two weeks while blooming. If planted in a shadier location, Butterfly weed will need less water. Leave the stems and dried seed pods intact over the winter and then trim to the ground in early spring. The silky fluff in the seed pods looks beautiful when backlit.