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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.

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

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Friday - August 05, 2005

From: Santa Fe, NM
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Possibility of over-watering of Asclepias tuberosa
Answered by: Joe Marcus and Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Another question about butterfly weeds, the leaves on one of my plants are turning a yellow-red color and the blossoms seem to be dying (drying up) before they can bloom. It is right in the same area as the other 2 plants. Is it getting too much water? The other 2 are doing great. Thanks!

ANSWER:

It is hard to say exactly what is going on with your butterfly weed without seeing it. If the affected plant is not right beside the other two that are doing well, it could be that it is getting too much water. Most of the Genus Ascleipias (milkweeds) prefer dry soil. The orange butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) in particular likes dry, well-drained soil. However, if they are all close together and only the one is not doing well, it may be something (a fungus, perhaps) affecting the roots or the crown. Too much watering would encourage fungal growth.
 

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