Enjoy–and Help Sustain–Monarch Butterflies

     As you may know, monarch butterflies are in decline. 

     A major reason for the decline of the fluttering little orange and black beauties is the disappearance of their main food–milkweed.  But this is a situation that can readily be addressed by increasing the amount of milkweed that is available to monarch butterflies.

     Now, in late spring, is a good time to plant milkweed.  Plant seeds or seedlings in full sun.  As the plants mature, adult monarchs lay their eggs on them.  The caterpillars that hatch, then, eat the milkweed leaves.  The caterpillars also build their pupae on the milkweed plants.

     The milkweed is a lovely plant that we humans can enjoy too.  It produces orange flowers in mid-summer, and in late summer the large seed-pods begin developing.  In the fall, the pods split and disperse their seeds.  You may want to save some of the seeds to plant more milkweed next spring.

     Milkweed seeds and young plants are readily available at garden stores.  Planting a good stock of milkweed will bring monarchs to your yard and will support them through their life stages.  In addition to the pleasure of watching these butterflies, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping to rebuild the population of this once-ubiquitous butterfly.–April Moore

 

 

 

 

Monarch laying eggs on milkweed

Monarch laying eggs on milkweed

2 Responses to “Enjoy–and Help Sustain–Monarch Butterflies”

  1. Andi Miner Says:

    This is wonderful. Something anybody can do. Count on me to plant some in my garden. I have also told my neighbors the same and we’re all going to do this. The way up side of this besides the obvious help to the Monarch is that we’ll have the pleasure of seeing these beautiful creatures around the properties!! Andi

  2. April Says:

    Thanks for writing, Andi! I am pleased that you and your neighbors are going to be planting milkweed!

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