Perennial Flower Information
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Asclepias – Butterfly Weed, Pleurisy
Milkweeds are members of this genus of plants. Asclepias
tuberosa, the Butterfly Weed, is one of the showiest
and most beautiful of our native plants. The beautiful,
flat-topped clusters of bright orange-red flowers are
followed by long, curious pods containing numerous white,
feathery seeds. In the wild state the flowers bloom
in August, but the flowering season is prolonged if
the plants are given good cultivation. In some sections
the Butterfly Weed has been largely used as a substitute
for Geraniums because of some of the intense orange
and scarlet shades of the flowers. However, it grows
a little taller, from 1 1/2 feet to 2 1/2 feet.
The Butterfly Weed is nice for sunny spots in the rockery
or border. When found wild they are blooming when many
of the surrounding, plants are dried up.
These plants are long lived and capable of taking care
of themselves without any attention. They freeze out
in heavy soil and should have sandy, well drained soil
in full sunlight. The Asclepias is a deep rooting plant
and dislikes removal very much. One should be careful
that it has completed its growth and every root should
be saved, if the plants are to be transplanted from
one place to another. Transplanting is usually considered
difficult, but many persons have reported success if
the hole is filled with sand.
Raising them from seeds is the most certain method of
propagation. Sow only a few seeds in a pot of rather
firm soil, and allow the young plants, which grow slowly,
to remain in these pots for at least a year before setting