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syz's avatar

Have you ever thought about helping out the monarchs?

Asked by syz (35649points) August 5th, 2015

The Eastern population of monarch butterflies has declined by 90% over the past 20 years, in part due to loss of habitat – specifically, the milkweed plants that they use for procreation.

If you have a small yard, you can purchase and grow many varieties of suitable milkweed, and many of them are quite attractive.

If you have a little more space, you can apply for free plants from

I took about 3 minutes to fill out the application and promptly received 120 plants for the acre or so of land at work that is zoned so that we can never develop it. We’re gradually turning the area into a pollinator habitat, with milkweed, blazing star, joe-pye weed, butterfly bushes, and native species that are attractive to butterflies and bees. And it’s costing practically nothing.

Want to join me?

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20 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

I grew up learning that the monarch butterfly was an invasive pest insect. What changed?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I haven’t checked my milkweed in a bit. I’ll do it tomorrow and see if I need some more plants. I have 10 acres of meadow.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I love monarchs. I may need to trim some trees to give them better habitat.

syz's avatar

@talljasperman Why would it be considered an invasive pest? The caterpillars only feed on milkweed, which are not agriculturally valuable in any way and it is a native species.

It’s a fascinating species that migrates over several generations and creates an amazing spectacle in its overwintering site in Mexico.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@syz Are you surprised that people don’t understand nature? You know how complex it is, but unless you study it, you don’t know.

talljasperman's avatar

@syz It was from school and hinterlands who’s who. Like 25 years ago in Canada. I really need to sue my grade school teachers for all the BS that they filled my head with. I even got in trouble for suggesting that the contents fit together on a map. East to West. Man my teachers where ass hats. No wonder that I skipped so much school.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I haven’t checked my milkweed? Is that a little kinky?

Coloma's avatar

I’m too busy helping out the geese, ducks, and horses over here. haha
We did plant a bunch of white and red clover this year though and I have been seeing a lot of different butterflies, but no Monarchs. Maybe I’ll look at our local organic farm and seed catalog and see if they sell Milk thistle seed.

Coloma's avatar

Milk weed extract is good for your liver and digestion too, I take it on occasion.

Brian1946's avatar


”...contents fit together on a map.”

There’s something you should put “in” your contents. ;-)

Coloma's avatar

Oops…Milk weed not Milk Thistle. never mind. I will still look into buying some milkweed.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Come to think of it, I haven’t seen a monarch in the city for several years, which is odd because the town is such a magnet for so many other tourists.

LuckyGuy's avatar

What a great idea! I usually have some milkweed growing somewhere on the property but this year I’ve only seen a few plants. I wonder if the extreme cold we had this winter killed them.

gailcalled's avatar

^^ My lower fields are filled with milkweed plants, and I had the same winter cold as you.

cazzie's avatar

I don’t live anywhere near their habitat, but I always garden with bees in mind. I don’t have much of a patch in my new condo, but I managed to clear away an overgrown area to uncover two lovely flowering shrubs which are now flowering gloriously and are being enjoyed by loads of bees.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@gailcalled Good point. I wonder where they went. Insects damage?

tinyfaery's avatar

I can always try. Can’t grow much here anymore.

No free plants for CA.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

My milkweed isn’t competing well with the other vegetation. I may need to manage it better.

gailcalled's avatar

@LuckyGuy: I can’t answer that. Do you have an agricultural extension near you who might know?

syz's avatar

For any that are interested, there’s a Facebook page of Monarch enthusiasts that provide lots of support and information about growing milkweed and even raising and releasing monarchs:

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