Ever since I heard about the plight of monarch butterflies, I’ve wanted to do something to help these important pollinators.
Our beautiful monarchs are suffering due to increased pesticide use, climate change, and habitat loss. They are the longest migrating butterfly and make the trek each fall from northern areas to Mexico and California, where they reside during colder months.
Creating a monarch habitat in your yard, by planting native milkweed plants can help provide needed food and rest for our traveling butterfly friends. Here are some ideas for little steps each of us can take to assist them, and prevent extinction:
Plant milkweed that is native to your area for monarchs to lay eggs on and for caterpillars to eat. Even just a pot or two helps.
Provide nectar-rich plants for monarch butterflies to feed on. I had some fun planting a Baptisia plant and caught this blue beauty feeding:
Other pollen-rich plants to consider are: wildflowers, calendula, marigolds, butterfly bush, phlox, lavender, oregano, lupine, and astor… the list goes on! A succession of blooming annuals, perennials and shrubs is the best way to create a welcoming habitat, by providing nectar and pollen throughout the season.
The great news is that any size garden can attract and support pollinating butterflies and bees. And, every little bit helps!
Lastly, it’s best not to use pesticides at all in your garden. This is for your health as well as that of our precious visitors. A little diluted white vinegar spray will work in most cases, to shoo away pests.
With everyone’s help, we can help support nature’s pollinators by creating flowering habitats in our own garden.