Prairie Gold Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)Prairie Gold Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Prairie Gold Butterfly Weed - Exclusively From High Country Gardens

By David Salman, High Country Gardens Founder and Chief Horticulturist

The genus Asclepias, commonly called Milkweed or Butterfly Weed, is a fascinating group of wildflowers native to North America.

They have become increasingly popular in recent years because of their association with the endangered Monarch Butterfly. Some species of this genus are host plants for Monarch caterpillars, and most plants of the genus will attract adult butterflies to feed on their nectar. 

Asclepias tuberosa, often called Butterfly Weed, is an eye-catching species with typically bright orange flowers, which may range from deep to medium orange hues. We're excited to introduce a new cultivar to expand on the color palette of these beautiful pollinator magnets.

Starting From Seed

Some years ago, a kind gentleman customer sent me seeds of a unique yellow-flowered Asclepias tuberosa. Apparently, he had found a colony of yellow-flowered plants in its Indiana habitat, in a natural area. Well, I was very excited to give it a try. After planting a handful of seeds and watching the plants grow in my test garden, they finally reached mature size and began blooming. The flower clusters were a gorgeous deep yellow with a blush of gold.

As I continued to grow this cultivar, the plants have proven to be uniformly colored and good growers in my crummy northern New Mexico loam. Over time, I have been able to collect a nice amount of seed each year, and now have enough to officially introduce the plant for sale. Now, for the Fall 2021 season, High Country Gardens is introducing a new Asclepias tuberosa cultivar, ‘Prairie GoldButterfly Weed

Growing Prairie Gold Butterfly Weed

  • ‘Prairie Gold’ does well in most soils, except predominately clay mixtures and pure clay.
  • It is a deeply tap-rooted plant and requires two or three growing seasons to reach maturity and begin blooming.
  • Place them in full sun where the water doesn’t puddle after a rainstorm and the soil drains well.
  • Leave standing over the winter and don’t cut off the large, ornamental seed pods which ripen their seeds in the fall.
  • Where happy, Asclepias will re-seed itself and hopefully colonize your garden.
  • For more information about growing Asclepias, see our guide and video: How To Grow Asclepias - Milkweed & Butterfly Weed

Companion Planting With Asclepias

Recommended companion plants for 'Prairie Gold' include other prairie dwellers like Bouteloua (Grama Grass), such as 'Blonde Ambition' or Sideoats Grama Grass; Sporobolus heterolepis (Prairie Dropseed), Liatris (Blazing Star), Hymenoxys (Sundancer Daisy), and wildflower Penstemon (Beardtongue).

Below are some planting examples featuring Butterfly Weed and Swamp Milkweed.

A waterwise garden with Agastache, Nepeta, Asclepias tuberosa, and more.A waterwise garden with Agastache, Nepeta, Asclepias tuberosa, and more.
A waterwise garden with Agastache, Nepeta, Asclepias tuberosa, and more. Photo by our customer, Pam K.
A native planting with Swamp Milkweed, Liatris, and Echinacea.A native planting with Swamp Milkweed, Liatris, and Echinacea.
A native planting with Swamp Milkweed, Liatris, and Echinacea.
Butterfly Weed planted in contrast with Sharon Roberts Lavender and Mojave Salvia.Butterfly Weed planted in contrast with Sharon Roberts Lavender and Mojave Salvia.
Butterfly Weed planted in contrast with Sharon Roberts Lavender and Mojave Salvia.

‘Prairie Gold’ Butterfly Weed‘Prairie Gold’ Butterfly Weed
‘Prairie Gold’ Butterfly Weed

Milkweed & Butterfly Weed For Your Garden

Butterfly Weed (A. tuberosa) and Swamp Milkweed (A. incarnata) are considered the best varieties for an ornamental garden. Showy Milkweed (A. speciosa) and Common Milkweed (A. syriaca) are easy to grow, spreading by underground roots, and are best for natural-style plantings and meadows where they can multiply freely.