Plant Milkweed and Nectar Flowers for Monarchs

From: Monarch Joint Venture (www.monarchjointventure.org)

Monarchs cannot survive without milkweed. Monarch caterpillars need milkweed plants (Asclepias spp.) to grow and develop, and female monarch butterflies monarchs2only lay their eggs on milkweed.  Much of our milkweed has been lost from our landscape due to changing land management practices such as urban and suburban development and agricultural intensification.  Historically milkweed has been viewed as a crop weed or a threat to livestock and has been eradicated.

Please plant milkweed native to your area and a wide variety of high quality nectar bearing flower species to support monarch populations, and their incredible migration!  Adult monarchs follow nectar corridors, a series of habitat patches of plants that flower at appropriate times during the spring and fall migrations.  They provide stopping off points for the butterflies to feed and stock up during their long migrations.

ButterflyMilkweed

Planting milkweed is a great way to help other pollinators too, as milkweed provides abundant, high-quality nectar or shelter for a diverse array of other insects, including nectar-seeking bees, flies, and butterflies, and such specialist herbivores as seed bugs, longhorn beetles, and leaf beetles. Native milkweeds are clearly worthy of wider adoption.  More than a hundred species of milkweeds (Asclepias) are native to North America and they can be found in deserts, plains, valleys, foothills, open woods, and wetlands. Milkweeds typically grow in disturbed environments including agricultural areas, livestock pastures, ditches, and roadsides; indeed, in some areas, these marginal habitats are the only places where milkweed is regularly seen.

PlantForMonarchs2

For an information fact sheet on the North American Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) and its incredible migration please visit:

http://www.wildones.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/mjvfactsheet-redesign_final.pdf

For great information about the history of tracking the Monarch Butterfly please visit:

http://www.wildones.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Monarch-Matters-2.pdf

To learn about the White House’s unprecedented alliance for bee and Monarch butterfly recovery

http://makewayformonarchs.org/i/archives/1153

Milkweed Regions

There are many native milkweed species in MonarchZones
each of the six “Milkweed Regions” shown on this map. The species below are known
to be used by monarchs, and are easy to
establish.

To Purchase Seeds:

Western Region:  
Asclepias fascicularisMexican Whorled MilkweedDry climates and plains except CO, UT, AZ, NM
Asclepias speciosaShowy MilkweedSavannahs and Prairies
California Region:  
Asclepias fascicularisMexican Whorled Milkweed (Narrow-leaf)Dry climates and plains except CO, UT, AZ, NM
Asclepias speciosaShowy MilkweedSavannahs and Prairies
Asclepias erosaDesert MilkweedDesert regions
Asclepias californicaCalifornia MilkweedGrassy areas
Asclepias cordifoliaHeartleaf MilkweedRocky slopes
Asclepias VestitaWoolly MilkweedDry deserts and plains
Asclepias eriocarpaWoolly Pod MilkweedClay soils and dry areas
Arizona Region:

 

  
Asclepias tuberosaButterfly WeedWell drained soils
Asclepias asperulaAntelopehorn MilkweedDesert and sandy areas.
Asclepias subulataRush MilkweedDesert areas.
Asclepias angustifoliaArizona MilkweedRiparian areas and canyons
Southeast Region:  
Asclepias tuberosaButterfly WeedWell drained soils
Asclepias verticillataWhorled MilkweedPrairies and open areas.
Asclepias variegataWhite MilkweedPrairies and open areas.
Asclepias perennisAquatic MilkweedHydrated soils.
Asclepias humistrataSandhill/Pinewoods MilkweedFor use in some regions of FL.

Dry sandy areas and soils.

NE Region:  
Asclepias syriacaCommon MilkweedWell drained soils.
Asclepias incarnataSwamp MilkweedDamp, marshy areas.
Asclepias tuberosaButterfly WeedWell drained soils
Asclepias verticillataWhorled MilkweedPrairies and open areas.
Asclepias exaltataPoke MilkweedWoodland areas (except in

NE, KS, MO, ND & SD).

South Central Region:  
Asclepias viridisGreen Antelopehorn MilkweedDry areas and prairies.
Asclepias asperulaAntelopehorn MilkweedDesert and sandy areas.
Asclepias oenotheroidesZizotes MilkweedSandy/rocky prairies and fields.
Note:  Be careful to not purchase or plant tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica,  if you are in a temperate region.  These plants are becoming naturalized and are suspected in ‘luring’ overwintering monarchs into breaking their dormancy and becoming reproductive which can also spread parasites endangering the population further.

 To see what  milkweeds grow in your state:

http://monarchwatch.org/bring-back-the-monarchs/resources/milkweeds-by-state