En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - July 10, 2009

From: Hamden, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Butterfly Gardens, Transplants
Title: Transplanting butterfly weed in Hamden OH
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I have tried transplanting butterfly weed from it's native location to my yard and each time the plant wilts and dies. Any suggestions?


We assume you're talking about Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed). Even in Ohio, we would not recommend transplanting in mid-summer. this particular species is notoriously difficult to transplant, with its long taproot. It prefers well-drained, sandy soil and would probably do better if you moved it in late April, when the ground is thawed but it is not yet hot. It has been suggested that it propagates much better from seed, and you should just plant the seeds where you want the plant, because it is so hard to transplant. 

From our webpage on this plant:


Propagation Material: Seeds , Root Cuttings
Description: The easiest method of propagation is root cuttings. In the fall, cut the taproot into 2-inch sections and plant each section vertically, keeping the area moist.
Seed Collection: Watch plants closely for seedpods in late summer/early fall. Allow seeds to completely mature before collecting seed to establish new plants in another location. A long pod is produced containing hundreds of seeds with tufts of long, silky hairs (an adaptation for wind dispersal).
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Needs to be transplanted carefully and requires good drainage. It takes 2 – 3 years before A. tuberosa produces its vibrant flowers, which appear in 2 – 3 inch clusters of orangish-red. Once established, it lasts for years, becoming thicker each year.

Asclepias tuberosa




More Butterfly Gardens Questions

Blue Mist Ageratum Shrub?
June 16, 2015 - Is there a shrub version of Blue Mistflower Ageratum? I believe we saw some at the Butterfly Center in MacAllen. Would it survive in Georgetown, TX?
view the full question and answer

Butterfly/hummingbird garden plants for Hill Country, TX
February 04, 2011 - What drought resistant plants would you recommend for a Hill Country butterfly/hummingbird garden that receives at least a half day of sun? It has afternoon exposure.
view the full question and answer

Milkweed species for Central Texas
February 11, 2015 - What milkweed should I plant in the flood plain behind my house on Brushy Creek.
view the full question and answer

Plant that attracts butterflies, perhaps?
October 06, 2014 - What is that one plant/flower in your Center that attracts wildflowers like crazy? It's got a cute name, not a Latin or Scientific name. I have the plant, but don't know how to make it spread.
view the full question and answer

Will Butterfly Plant Survive in Mansfield, Texas
January 06, 2012 - I have a butterfly plant that was very successful (about 4 feet tall) right up until the cold snap three weeks ago. I've read they have a tap root, so I'm hoping it will come back next spring. Mea...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center