How to Grow Pleurisy Root | Guide to Growing Pleurisy Root

How to Grow Pleurisy Root | Guide to Growing Pleurisy Root  



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Some Native American legends tell of the roots being used as a body wash for lifting and running strength. Also used as a drug in chant lotion, and as a ceremonial emetic. Asclepias tuberosa has a long history of use as a valuable alternative medicine and is one of the most important of the indigenous American species. Butterfly Weed is used internally in the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery, chronic rheumatism, and as an expectorant. It has a specific action on the lungs, making it a valuable medicinal herb in all chest complaints and in the treatment of many lung diseases.


Perennial (zones 4-9)

14 to 21 days

2 years


Full sun


12" apart

2-3 Years

Growing Guide
Pleurisy Root grows outward and to a height of around 36" and produces clusters of distinct orange flowers; a favorite of butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators.


Pleurisy prefers full sun and can do well with medium moist to dry soil but well-drained soil.


Pleurisy is best sown in fall, just below the surface of the soil (~3/8") with light tamping. Otherwise, it may be sown in the spring but will require a period of cold stratification. Seeds may be mixed with moistened starting medium, then placed into refrigerator for a period of around 4 weeks. Be sure to check periodically to make sure that mixture has not dried out-keep moist. If seeds begin to germinate, plant immediately.

After stratification, seeds may be started in flats in a greenhouse or similar warm indoor location. Tamp seeds lightly into surface of the soil, or cover with a thin layer of soil and moisten. Keep soil or potting medium moist until seeds begin to germinate. Transplant outdoors once first true leaves have developed and the threat of a spring freeze has passed.


Harvesting Guide
Harvest the taproot in fall after the plant has gone to seed, or early next spring. In some cases, root may be collected in the first year, but will likely require several years of growth to reach suitable size for collection. Exercise patience with Pleurisy-while it may take some time to yield medicine, it is a rich source of nectar to a variety of beneficial pollinators and is a lovely ornamental.



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