Native Narrow-leaved Milkweed is perfectly suitable to most of our gardens, as long as you understand its growth cycle and know what to … The decline is partly attributed to shrinking milkweed habitat, especially in the Midwest. 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 . The main monarch host plant is Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed). A native plant is one that has occurred naturally in a particular region without human introduction. IMPORTANT NOTE: The species of milkweed we offer is Asclepias syriaca. 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. I’ve caught the milkweed bug. Milkweeds in the genus Asclepias provide the only plant material monarch caterpillars can eat. Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana. Which Milkweeds Do Monarch Butterflies Prefer? Because there are so many different species of milkweed, it would be next to impossible to list and describe them all here. This site is owned and operated by Jeff Fulkerson. The monarch’s top 4 favorite milkweed species are bolded in the list below.. The leaves contain cardiac glycosides, compounds that affect heart function, making them toxic to most species of birds and mammals. This information will help growers produce the best plants possible for Monarchs. Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa. Restoration efforts call for reestablishing milkweed populations in these important summer breeding areas. Save Our Monarchs is a grassroots 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to saving the embattled monarch butterflies. With over 1000 species of milkweed around the world, which is the best for your garden? Milkweed is the sole host plant of the monarch butterfly. For example, Asclepias syriaca is a specific species of milkweed. Over the past 2 decades, however, monarch numbers east of the Rockies have fallen by 80 to 90 percent. Northeast Region Common milkweed ( Asclepias syriaca ) 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 last two are highly ornamental and available in a variety of cultivars. We call it by one of its common names: Butterfly Weed. 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. Whenever possible, I recommend planting native plants in your garden. Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming. For now I will just list about 30 varieties that can be found around North America. 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. However, when given a choice, their favorite milkweed by far, is the Asclepias incarnata, common name: Swamp milkweed. Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa), Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) are considered the … 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. ), and monarch butterflies need milkweed to lay their eggs. 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. Are you thinking about starting a butterfly garden? ), planting native milkweed is a critical component of supporting monarchs and helping their numbers recover. They're ready to grow outside the greenhouse at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. If you want to help increase the Monarch population, milkweed is the first plant you should consider adding to your garden. The long, oblong leaves are light green and grow to about 8 inches long. Monarchs lay eggs specifically on milkweed, the eggs hatch into caterpillars and the caterpillars eat the foliage. 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