Butterflies in Mind -- Zinnia
Susan C. Dunlap
A collection of 50 images as if seen from a butterfly’s point of view. Includes the names of native Zinnia species and the most complete list of US butterflies that will feed on Zinnia blossoms.
Butterflies in Mind -- Asclepias
Susan C. Dunlap
“Milkweed is the single most important plant for Monarch butterflies. This lavishly illustrated book contains details about the structure and cultivation of native Milkweeds, information about the 139 nectar-feeding butterflies they...
Butterflies in Mind -- Monarch
Susan C. Dunlap
This abundantly illustrated volume enables you to select from a complete list of well described perennial nectar plants that are known to attract & feed Monarch butterflies. Over 40 genera are described that are suitable to be grown...
Butterflies in Mind -- Perennials
Susan C. Dunlap
Butterflies in Mind - Perennials. This book is a definitive guide to perennial nectar plants preferred by US butterflies. It empowers you to feed, attract, support (and help identify) nectar-feeding butterflies that reside in the US....

Asclepias curassavica
(sold as Silky Deep Red)

Family: Apocynaceae


Native to: South America


Types: annual, perennial

Forms: erect, open form

Leaves deciduous

Leaves evergreen

Max height: 3.6 feet

Max width: 1 foot


orange, red, secondary color present, white/off white, yellow




Attracts wildlife: adult butterfly, bee, hummingbird, specific butterfly species

Plant part consumed by birds: nectar

Plant features: deciduous, evergreen, weedy

Exposure: sun

Landscape uses: container, cut flower, deer resistant


Propagates by: division, seed

flowers in fall

flowers in summer

Soil type: loam

USDA Zones: zone 7 to 0 f, zone 8 to +10 f, zone 9 to +20 f, zone 10 to +30 f

Temp. range: 0 to +40 °F

Water: moderate

Butterflies that feed on this plant

Abaeis nicippe

Achalarus albociliatus

Achalarus lyciades

Agraulis vanillae

Anartia fatima

Anteos clorinde

Aphrissa statira

Apodemia mejicanus

Apodemia nais

Apodemia palmeri

Apodemia virgulti

Apodemia walkeri

Ascia monuste

Asterocampa celtis

Asterocampa leilia

Atalopedes campestris

Atrytone arogos

Atrytone deleware

Atrytonopsis deva

Atrytonopsis python

Autochton cellus

Battus philenor

Battus polydamas

Brephidium exilis

Calephelis arizonensis

Calephelis borealis

Calephelis virginiensis

Calycopis cecrops

Calycopis isobeon

Celastrina ladon

Chlosyne janais

Chlosyne nycteis

Colias eurytheme

Colias philodice

Copaeodes minima

Cupido comyntas

Cyaniris neglecta

Cyanophrys longula

Cymaenes odilia subsp. trebius

Danaus eresimus

Danaus gilippus

Danaus plexippus

Dione moneta

Echinargus isola

Emesis ares

Emesis emesia

Emesis muticum

Emesis tenedia

Epargyreus clarus

Erora laeta

Euphydryas phaeton

Euphyes bimacula

Euphyes conspicua

Euphyes dion

Euphyes dukesi

Euphyes vestris

Euptoieta claudia

Eurema mexicana

Eyphyes conspicua

Fixsenia favonius

Greta morgane

Heliconius erato

Hesperia attalus

Hesperia meskei

Hesperia ottoe

Icaricia icarioides

Incisalia niphon

Junonia coenia

Junonia evarete

Lerodea arabus

Lerodea eufala

Lethe eurydice

Lethe eurydice subsp. appalachia

Limenitis archippus

Limenitis arthemis

Lon taxiles

Lon zabulon

Lycaena dione

Lycaena hyllus

Lycaena phlaeas

Mastor aenus

Mastor aesculapius

Mastor cassus

Mastor celia

Mastor celia subsp. belli

Mastor elissa

Mastor exoteria

Mastor fimbriata

Mastor vialis

Mestra amymone

Mitoura gryneus

Nymphalis antiopa

Ochlodes sylvanoides

Panoquina ocola

Panoquina panoquin

Papilio andraemon

Papilio canadensis

Papilio cresphontes

Papilio eurymedon

Papilio glaucus

Papilio multicaudata

Papilio palamedes

Papilio polyxenes

Papilio rutulus

Papilio troilus

Papilio xuthus

Papilio zelicaon

Parrhasius m-album

Phoebis neocypris

Phoebis sennae

Phyciodes tharos

Pieris rapae

Plebejus acmon

Poanes massasoit

Polites coras

Polites mystic

Polites origenes

Polites themistocles

Polygonia comma

Polygonia progne

Pompeius verna

Pontia protodice

Problema bulenta

Protographium marcellus

Pyrgus communis

Pyrrhopyge araxes

Satyrium acadica

Satyrium calanus

Satyrium caryaevorus

Satyrium edwardsii

Satyrium liparops

Satyrium titus

Speyeria aphrodite

Speyeria atlantis

Speyeria cybele

Speyeria diana

Speyeria edwardsii

Speyeria idalia

Strymon kingi

Strymon melinus

Strymon saepium

Thecla ilavia

Thecla serapio

Thessalia leanira

Thorybes daunus

Thorybes drusius

Thorybes pylades

Thymelicus lineola

Vanessa atalanta

Vanessa cardui

Vanessa virginiensis

Vernia verna

Wallengrenia egeremet

Yvretta carus

Zerene cesonia

Asclepias is an Apocynaceae known as MILKWEED or SILKWEED. There are 225 species of MILKWEED. Four perennials are cultivated that grow in Zones 3-10 – Asclepias currassavica Silky Deep Red grows to 3 1/2 feet high.
Asclepias currassavica Silky Gold grows to 2 1/2 feet high, incarnata grows to over 6 feet high, speciosa and tuberosa to 3 1/2 ft high. They prefer moderate irrigation during dry months. A. incarnata needs regular water.

Butterflies attracted to this genus include:
Atalopedes campestris, Sachem
Callophrys gryneus, Juniper Hairstreak
Colias eurytheme, Orange Sulphur
Danaus gilippus, Queen
Danaus plexippus, Monarch
Epargyreus clarus, Silver-spotted Skipper
Euphyes vestris, Dun Skipper
Hylephila phyleus, Fiery Skipper
Lycaena phlaeas, American Copper
Papilio cresphontes, Giant Swallowtail
Papilio polyxenes, Black Swallowtail
Papilio troilus Spicebush Swallowtail
Pholisora catullus, Common Sootywing
Phyciodes tharos, Pearl Crescent
Polites carus, Carus Skipper
Polygonia interrogationis Question Mark
Satyrium auretorum, Gold-hunter's Hairstreak
Satyrium calanus, Banded Hairstreak
Satyrium californica, California Hairstreak
Satyrium sylvinus, Sylvan Hairstreak
Satyrium titus, Coral Hairstreak
Speyeria cybele, Great Spangled Fritillary
Strymon melinus, Gray Hairstreak
Thorybes pylades, Northern Cloudywing
Vanessa atalanta, Red Admiral
Vanessa cardui, Painted Lady
Vanessa virginiensis, American Lady
Zerene eurydice, California Dogface

Container plants that attract adult butterflies - perennial

This plant can be grown in a container and will attract and feed adult butterflies. These plant can be found in every height range – from tiny to large – from less than a foot high to over 10 feet tall.

Our database of nectar plants for all US butterflies contains over 10,000 entries. The top five nectar plants -- Cirsium, Lantana, Asclepias, Salvia, and Verbena -- will appeal to 90% of all US butterflies. Pick from these if you want to provide nectar for your local butterflies.

Once you start with these, you can add from another 630 genera in 110 plant families to attract more insects to your garden.

By far the most import butterfly nectar plant family is Asteraceae. If you grow plants in from this family, butterflies will find your garden.