Prairie Wildflower of the Day: Butterfly Milkweed

Butterfly Milkweed is definitely my favorite prairie wildflower of the tallgrass prairie! It blooms near the end of May and early June and usually only for a short time, providing pops of bright orange in the lush green of the growing prairie.

Of course, it attracts large numbers of butterflies. Cattle do not eat it, but it doesn't bother them, either.

I had always been told that you could not transplant butterfly milkweed to domesticated landscape, but I tried it anyway! I dug up about half of a bush from our pasture, digging deep to get as much of the deep root as possible. I planted it immediately in my yard and watered it daily throughout May and early June. Despite all the water, it died. But...I soon noticed new shoots poking through the soil and after removing the dead stems, I realized it hadn't really died! It regrew into a lovely shrub and even bloomed again. Since then, I have divided and transplanted lots of this native plant in my yard. Once established, it needs little watering and it blooms every year!

A note of not try to dig it up from roadsides. That is actually illegal. If you own some native grassland and can dig it there, that is fine. But if you don't, I have seen it available to purchase at greenhouses! It is a perfect late spring/early summer pop of color and it is drought resistant. Perfect for my yard.

Watch for more Prairie Wildflower of the Day posts!

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