Wednesday, July 9, 2014

My favorite garden plant this week is... Asclepias tuberosa!

As we move into the heat of the summer the delicate flowers of spring start to fade and the tough mid-summer bloomers start to shine. In this case I'm talking about Asclepias tuberosa [butterfly weed] a native wildflower that provides nectar for bees and wasps.

Even better than helping out the native pollinators it is a larval host plant for the rapidly declining Monarch Butterflies! Of course I almost never see them here in New England but when I lived in North Carolina I would have whole plants denuded of leaves by the caterpillars. But these little toughies would come right back.

Don't baby this "weed" - it likes dry, hot weather (can't you tell by the color?) and neglect. It will gently reseed in the garden so if you don't want more you'll need to remove the very obvious, kind of neat looking, seed pods before they open (I probably have a photo but I'm not well organized enough to find it... sorry).

Thanks to Danger Garden for this meme.

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