Milkweed a Monarch Favorite

Because Monarch butterflies love milkweed, I do, too! I have two species in my garden, deliberately to attract the king of butterflies. Bees flock to it also. One is Asclepias speciosa, or showy milkweed, treated by the English “as a garden aristocrat.”  Not us. Many people, horrified, say, “Milkweed–that one along the roads or out in the fields?” Well, not exactly, not the one with the big pods that burst open sending orbs of fluff all over.  This one can grow to 2-4′ on stiff erect stems with clusters of pinkish, star-shaped flowers. My garden is “natural”; I let many varieties of flowers spread at will. It might not be suitable for more formal, structured gardens as it acquires space and can take over. The second species is Asclepias fascicularis, or narrow-leafed milkweed.  I think Monarchs and their larvae love this one even more. It is greener and slimmer by habit, but it, too, will spread. My showy milkweed started out as a single 1-gallon plant; it now occupies about 60 sq. ft. My narrow-leafed milkweed has been slower to spread because it’s in an area of rocks and mulch. I’ve been warned to “be careful what I wish for.” It’s especially good advice for plants with which one might be unfamiliar. Just because it looks beautiful doesn’t mean it’s right for your garden. We Master Gardeners always recommend putting “the right plant in the right place.” Well, I’m a fool for a good looking plant, particularly one I know attracts pollinators. I’m still learning. (But I’m not sorry about my milkweeds!)


About writersandy

Writer, Gardener, Crafter
This entry was posted in Habitat Gardening, Invasive plants, Milkweed for Monarchs, Monarch Butterfly plants, Native plant gardening and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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