If you love butterflies, monarch butterflies, get some milkweed seed and start it indoors right now. If you don’t have the opportunity to start the seeds, wait a few more weeks and buy plants from most any nursery.
Butterflies have plenty of sources for nectar, but without milkweed, monarch butterflies cannot survive. They need that type of plant on which to lay their eggs and propagate the species. Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on the leaves of milkweed. Without milkweed, they perish.
Many think that if they plant butterfly bushes, that will do the job, but it doesn’t. It only feeds adult butterflies, not the larva.
My cousin Estelle Hill from Clemmons, NC gave us some milkweed seeds last summer. Nancy put a few in her starter pots and they popped right up. Milkweed is easy to grow. It grows like a weed. It is, in fact, a weed. Many varieties of milkweed, however, grow beautiful flowers. Butterfly Milkweed, Asclepias Tuberosa, is one such variety.
The decline in monarch butterflies is directly related to the destruction of meadows and edges. Farmers and landscapers use poison to eradicate weeds, and milkweed is a weed.
We need more weeds for wildlife, not less. Plant some milkweed. Right now.