Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin. This information will help growers produce the best plants possible for Monarchs. The winner is the Asclepias incarnata, common name: Swamp milkweed Monarchs favor a variety of milkweeds, and in fact, with variety they’ll lay more eggs. Whenever possible, I recommend planting native plants in your garden. The main monarch host plant is Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed). IMPORTANT NOTE: The species of milkweed we offer is Asclepias syriaca. Natural chemicals the caterpillars ingest from milkweed also protect them and the adult butterflies they’ll later become from predation. They arrive at their summer breeding grounds—the Midwest—in late spring and increase their population size over two to three generations before returning to Mexico. Milkweed is the sole host plant of the monarch butterfly. Monarchs get their poisonous chemicals from the milkweed plants they eat as larvae. The first thing to consider is where you live. With over 1000 species of milkweed around the world, which is the best for your garden? (Peggy Greb, D4226-1). To help sustain monarchs and other butterflies, you should plant at least a few milkweed species that are native to your area. However, when given a choice, their favorite milkweed by far, is the Asclepias incarnata, common name: Swamp milkweed. The findings indicate that while female monarchs do make choices, they don’t specialize in reproducing on a single milkweed species. The decline is partly attributed to shrinking milkweed habitat, especially in the Midwest. Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata). Midwest Ecoregions include: 212, 222, and 251 Not all milkweeds are created equal when it comes to species of the native flowering plants that monarch butterflies prefer most. The height and number of blooms on the milkweed plants across all nine species weren’t factors influencing the female butterflies’ egg-laying preferences. Common Milkweed. To find out more about the various species of milkweed and which are best for your area, check out this factsheet courtesy of Monarch Joint Venture. Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) and common milkweed (A. syriaca) averaged the highest number of eggs. Monarch’s Favorite Milkweed. The Florida Wildflower Foundation is supporting research at the Florida Museum of Natural History that is documenting the effect of chemicals applied to Tropical milkweed on Monarch caterpillars. Over the past 2 decades, however, monarch numbers east of the Rockies have fallen by 80 to 90 percent. We send out two Northern Varieties called Syriaca and Speciosa which can survive the winters at the end of the growing season, and Asclepias Curassavica (southern milkweed / red and yellow flowers) to appropriate areas. What’s more, their egg-laying preference can change according to the time of season, the prevalence and habitat of the milkweed species they encounter, and the plants’ robustness and maturity. The scientific name of milkweed is Asclepias. Below are highlights of the team’s findings, led by ISU scientist Victoria Pocius, and reported in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution: A monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus, feeds on a New England aster, Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, flower. The goal of this site is to share what I've learned (and continue to learn), what's worked in our garden (and what hasn't), and to hopefully inspire you to get a little dirty and join us in helping the Monarch butterfly avoid extinction. Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). It is a favorite egg-laying plant which grows quickly and will sprout many seed pods. You can plant them closer and then thin the plants as they grow in, or, plant Swamp Milkweed and its cultivars between 30” and 36” apart. When you are looking for milkweed plants, either at your local garden center or online, they will normally list both the scientific and the common names. The Florida Museum of Natural History, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Butter˜y Conservation Initiative and the Monarch Joint Venture are working to help raise awareness and produce reliable sources of native milkweed. A monarch chrysalis hangs from the leaf of common milkweed, Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research Unit, Monarch caterpillars hatching from eggs laid on tall green milkweed. Not all species of milkweed will survive in all climates. The monarch’s top 4 favorite milkweed species are bolded in the list below.. Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa. Milkweed is also well known for attracting butterflies and serving as a host plant for their caterpillars. Answer: There are three species of milkweed that are recommended for the Orange County, CA area: 1. I’ve caught the milkweed bug. Information on monarch population dynamics and milkweed seed availability by region can be found in Appendix IV of the Xerces Society document Milkweeds: A Conservation Practitioner’s Guide . Milkweed plants, primarily from the genus Asclepias, are the only food source of monarch caterpillars. Save Our Monarchs is a grassroots 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to saving the embattled monarch butterflies. The long, oblong leaves are light green and grow to about 8 inches long. This is the stage in the life cycle where the caterpillar changes to a butterfly. In addition to their scientific names, they also have common names which are much easier to remember (and pronounce). However, there’s been no systematic study of which milkweed species the butterfly prefers most—an important consideration in maximizing the effectiveness of conservation efforts, notes Hellmich. Download this milkweed information sheet from Monarch Joint Venture for regional recommendations. If that changes in future, I will update this section. Native Narrow-leaved Milkweed is perfectly suitable to most of our gardens, as long as you understand its growth cycle and know what to … Prior to James being born, we had lost a son, Jackson, during pregnancy. The last two are highly ornamental and available in a variety of cultivars. Planting Time: Milkweed plants can be planted in spring or fall. A monarch butterfly perches on milkweed at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md., Friday, May 31, 2019. Best Milkweed for Monarchs Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica). Are you looking for inspiration, or ideas? They arrive in their summer breeding grounds – the Midwest - in late spring and in two or three generations dramatically increase their populations before returning to Mexico. There may be many factors that have caused the Monarch population to decline so significantly, but if there is one thing that we can do to keep them from going extinct, it is to plant milkweed. Twelve Native Milkweeds for Monarchs (blog) Fact Sheet about Milkweed. The leaves contain cardiac glycosides, compounds that affect heart function, making them toxic to most species of birds and mammals. Milkweed Native to Eastern U.S. Milkweed Native to the Great Plains. Monarch Joint Venture recommends these regional milkweed species. As I was researching butterfly gardens, I kept coming across articles about how the Monarch butterfly population was declining at a drastic rate, so I decided to make "Saving the Monarch" the goal of the garden. Milkweed Native to Southeastern U.S. Northeast Region Common milkweed ( Asclepias syriaca ) I guess you can say that it is a necessary evil to save the Monarchs. (Richard Hellmich, D4236-1). Restoration efforts call for reestablishing milkweed populations in these important summer breeding areas. ), planting native milkweed is a critical component of supporting monarchs and helping their numbers recover. That’s the conclusion of a team of Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and university scientists who monitored the egg-laying preferences of female monarch butterflies. Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming. In addition to determining which milkweed species averaged the greatest number of eggs deposited by female monarchs, the researchers calculated the survival rates of caterpillars that hatched from the eggs and pupated. Swamp milkweed and the next few listed below are known to … Before we dive into the different types of milkweed, let’s get some of the sciencey stuff out of the way. When the caterpillars hatch, they feed on the leaves of milkweed. Caption: Narrow-leaf Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis) is a native species that grows on our local hillsides and is an excellent foodplant for Monarch butterflies. Instead, conservators should also consider supplementary plantings of other species—especially in habitat areas subject to variable climates or soil types. For example, Butterfly Weed (a type of milkweed) thrives in our garden in the upper Midwest of the US, but would not survive the hot summers in southern Florida. According to an ARS and Iowa State University study of nine milkweed species native to Iowa, female monarch butterflies laid eggs in all nine milkweeds, but the swamp and common milkweed averaged the highest number of eggs. You just need to be aware that you need to take a little extra precaution with these plants. It all started with an accidental visit to a City of Santa Monica building near Santa Monica airport. Adding milkweed to your landscape is simple enough, but some types serve monarchs in your zip code better than others. Because there are so many different species of milkweed, it would be next to impossible to list and describe them all here. Other common names for Asclepias tuberosa include butterfly love, butterfly milkweed, Canada root, chigger flower, chiggerflower, fluxroot, Indian paintbrush, Indian posy, orange milkweed, orange root, orange Swallow-wort, pleurisy root, silky swallow-wort, tuber root, yellow milkweed, white-root, and windroot. Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa. Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, K, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Green Antelopehorn, Spider Milkweed (Note that Green Milkweed and Spider Milkweed are also common names for, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, link to How We Started Our Butterfly Garden, If you are looking for milkweed plants at your local garden center, you must make sure that the plants were. Throughout, the team kept data on plant height, number of blooms, and pod size as potential indicators of attractiveness to the butterflies. They had planted milkweed outside the building, 18+ plants by my count, and there were TONS of monarch larvae, with lines of chrysalises along the building’s siding. Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa), Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) are considered the … A few years ago, I decided to start a memorial butterfly garden in honor of Jackson. For now I will just list about 30 varieties that can be found around North America. I do not currently participate in any affiliate programs, and therefore, I am not compensated from any links that are included in any of the articles on this site. Asclepias californica – it has deep pink or magenta flowers. No group volunteers. 2. Varieties of Asclepias: Dr. Richard Mills’ outstanding article on “Milkweed and Monarchs” was reprinted in the Fall 2001 issue of the Virginia Butterfly Bulletin. ), and monarch butterflies need milkweed to lay their eggs. San Antonio and Austin, Texas — Fall is the time to plant wildflowers, including milkweed, the Monarch butterfly host plant. It’s also important to cut back the milkweed to encourage migration; although there are overwintering sites in Marin, it’s best for the butterflies to be in a frost free location. Monarch caterpillars hatching from eggs laid on tall green milkweed (A. hirtella) and prairie milkweed (A. sullivantii) had the lowest survival rates. Asclepias eriocarpa – also called woolypod milkweed or Indian milkweed, it has … Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana. Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is a native herbaceous perennial whose main virtue is its appeal to butterfliesespecially the monarch, which deposits its eggs on the milkweed. While native milkweeds are crucial for monarchs, commercial sources of plants and seeds remain limited. Three species of milkweed are good all-around choices for gardens in most regions of the country: common milkweed (A. syriaca), swamp milkweed (A. incarnata), and butterfly weed (A. tuberosa). The best time to cut down milkweed … monarch population reached an all-time low, with only 28,429 butterflies counted. You get the picture? Monarchs cannot survive without milkweed; their caterpillars only eat milkweed plants (Asclepias spp. For example, Asclepias tuberosa is the scientific name for the milkweed that we currently have growing in our garden. Monarchs lay eggs specifically on milkweed, the eggs hatch into caterpillars and the caterpillars eat the foliage. Monarch butterflies are more common in some parts of the United States than others and milkweed seed supplies are variable across regions. Every year, monarch butterflies make a multi-generational migration to and from overwintering sites in mountain regions of Central Mexico. Which Milkweeds Do Monarch Butterflies Prefer? 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