Our area is a great area to help save the monarch butterfly. Did you know that the population of these pretty creatures dropped dramatically in the past 10 years and only in 2015 and 2016 did they start to make a comeback. This spring we can all help make these pollinators stronger by planting just 2 plants in our yard. A nectar plant and a host plant. And, butterflies apparently love a pretty garden, or at the very least lots of flowers to choose from! I planted my butterfly “garden” right in the middle of my hedge back in 2013.
My nectar plant is milkweed, a super easy plant to grow. This plant makes longer shoots once it has started growing. As soon as it finds the perfect spot, it grows just as it’s name implies, like a weed! It’s also a perennial, so once it gets going you have it for the long haul. I have this planted right on the back side of one of my hedges. It fits in easy and does a great job of attracting butterflies!
My host plant is a vine called the passion flower. Once this vine gets going it makes beautiful flowers. It’s easy to grow too and is planted right next to my milkweed. I was scared at first because it is a vine, but hasn’t choked out any of my other hedge plants in the area.
Both of these plants can be found at the Saturday Morning Market in Downtown, and once spring gets going at many local nurseries and Home Depot.
Once these guys start blooming, you will start to see some monarchs come near the flowers. It’s such a cool thing for my kids to look for when we get home from school. In April, we usually start to see the caterpillars on the milkweed plant. They go to town on this plant in spring. In fact, by the end of their time as caterpillars I hardly have any milkweed leaves left. Once we start to see the caterpillars it’s always a fun afternoon game to count them and see how much bigger they have gotten overnight! As they progress to getting really big, we start to look for the cocoons! They are usually on the underside of one of the bushes at the bottom end of my hedge. Then we wait for the magic!
It’s a fun process for my girls and even better it’s good for our environment! This spring, Help Save the Monarch Butterfly!