July 11, 2008


Butterfly Weed

Bear's Britches

A little lull in the garden design business in mid-July gives me time to go over my own garden . I discovered that two of my favorite perennials didn't make a comeback : Acanthus Mollis, or Bear's Britches and Ascrepius tuberosa, or butterfly weed.

I have tried two or three times to get Butterfly weed to grow but without success. Last June was my first attempt at Bear's Britches but from what I read it was " hardy and low maintenance. " I love plants with bold foliage which attracted me to it in the first place, and the long lasting purple flowers were an added bonus.

Should I give up on these two ? Any tips are welcome.


  1. Very interesting. And you know I've hung a hoe or two in a tree.

    I better knock on wood now, too!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  2. Once you get that butterfly weed going, it won't stop.
    No tips on getting it going tho!

  3. My favorite book on perennials is "The Well Tended Perennial Garden" by Tracy diSabato-Aust. My copy is dog-eared and dirty from being dragged around the garden.

    For butterfly weed, Di-Sabato-Aust says well draining soil is essential, especially in the winter. It's a drought tolerant plant that prefers an acid soil. It's late to emerge in the spring, so perhaps you inadvertently dug it up? I've done that a thousand times myself.

    For the bears breeches, it's probably not reliably hardy in zone 5, so that could be your problem. I love the picture you posted, it is a gorgeous flower.

    Love your blog!

  4. My bear's breeches just sits in a shady nook of my garden and doesn't do mucyh. I think it's too crowded. As to Butterfly weed, I had to plant it on a hill in my worst soil. I'd tried for years to get it going and couldn't. I went to the empty field by my house and saw it was growing in red sand. I came home and tried something as close to this as possible. The plant grew & is happy. This year I planted seeds in a similar spot. They are happy too.~~Dee

  5. I have killed my share of butterfly weed and bears breeches. Finally this year a piece of butterfly weed seems to be taking. I guess I will know next spring if it really is going to make it. The bears breeches I had just sat in a spot for a long time and did nothing. I moved it one year and it did less. It finally gave up the fight. I wish I could give you something that was helpful but I thought you might like to know you aren't alone in you quest to grow them both.

  6. Hi, I have bear's britches lining one whole side of my house and it needs almost nothing at all other than an occasional cleanup at season's end. I guess it's happy in Northern California. It's a dramatic plant so I can see the attraction to it. No suggestions for other climates. Sorry. :(

  7. bjmallow@frontiernet.netOctober 12, 2010 at 6:14 AM

    A friend gave me a branch of bear breeches, do I open the pod and plant the small seed? tks jm from southern mi


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...