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Butterfly Milkweed
updated: Jun 13, 2014, 2:15 PM

By an Edhat Subscriber

These are my newly planted Asclepius tuberosa (butterfly weed). I would like to share with any growers/potential growers of this weed some info on the yellow aphids that live upon the butterfly weed. Also, I want to caution buyers against buying plants which have been sprayed with pesticides.

I have been growing butterfly weed for decades. It is my belief that the yellow aphids that occupy these plants have a symbiotic (advantageous to both) relationship with the milkweed.

Recently I accessed an online gardeners chat line, wherein growers of the weed were asking how to get rid of these aphids. I commented on the chatline and I wanted to tell all of you, If you are growing these plants, *please* do not wage a vendetta against the aphids.

It is my belief that the aphids are there to help the plants. I have seen these aphids "grooming" the seed pods. I have never ever killed off any of these aphids, and my plants are perfectly healthy. I just wanted to share my "home grown" knowledge with others.

Also: Please make sure that the source of your plants, if you buy them already in pots, is not selling you "sprayed" plants. Spraying with pesticides, in order to keep the females from laying eggs, seems to be common practice. The nurseries don't want the plants eaten by caterpillars before the plants are sold. If your plants have been sprayed, the females won't lay eggs on the plants and any caterpillars you try to relocate to the sprayed plants will quickly vacate the premises. (I bought my plants, shown in these photos, at Island Seed & Feed.)

Thank you for providing host plants for Monarch butterflies. It is an immensely rewarding experience.

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