Milkweed and Monarchs

It is so incredibly exciting after having planted milkweed to one day discover that very first Monarch butterfly gracefully fluttering around. Even in the most built-up of areas these incredible creatures seem to be able to find a mere few humble plants.

Plight of the Monarch

The Monarch is undoubtedly the most iconic, well-known and most beloved butterfly; quite a feat considering over 750 butterflies are native to the US! Monarchs dazzle with looks and an almost unbelievable 3000 mile annual migration from Mexico to as far as Canada.   Widespread use of pesticides, loss of habitat, modern farming techniques and a lack of Milkweed plants are all factors responsible for the drastic decline of the Monarch in recent decades. Milkweed, a group of plants once so prolific they were named weed, have suffered a similar fate under a regime of widespread herbicide use and RoundUp Ready crops.

Why Milkweed?

Monarchs need Milkweed, it is as simple as that. These native plants provide both a source of nectar and a host plant for Monarchs to lay their eggs on and Monarchs cannot reproduce without them. There are 73 species of Milkweed native to the US, of which all are of equal benefit to the Monarch. At Pesche’s we sell 6 different types of Milkweed which are listed below. For those of you new to Milkweed, one of our qualified members of staff in Perennials will be happy to provide advice on selecting and maintaining Milkweed.

Monarch Movement

The plight of the Monarch butterfly has received substantial media attention and the results have been immense. Increased public awareness has led to individuals and organizations throughout the country taking action to help save this iconic species. Schools now use Monarch Rearing Projects to teach youth about the predicament of our local wildlife, the causes therefore and the solutions available. Even more importantly however, these projects create a connection and an affinity to nature itself.

What can you do?

  • Plant Milkweed!
  • Add native plants to your garden.
  • Eliminate the use of herbicides and pesticides.
  • Diversify your plants to extend your bloom period.
  • Select pollinator friendly annuals plants.
  • Make your friends and neighbors aware of Monarchs. You can help by planting as little as single Milkweed plant! Enjoy the exquisite sight of Monarchs fluttering around your garden this year, whilst knowing how you have helped secure the future of this national gem.

Click here for Milkweed Facts

Other Resource Information

National Wildlife Federation

National Audubon Society

Monarch Watch 

Conservation at Home

Conversation at Home – Cook County

Illinois Wildflowers

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder

Grow Native

Bees and Pollinators

The Xerces Society

Million Garden Pollinator Challenge

USDA Forestry Service

Seed Savers Exchange