Calling all gardeners! Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) are in trouble and they need your help!
Monarch populations are divided into two regions: the eastern population who breed and live during the warm months in southern Canada and the Great Plains and then migrate to central Mexico during the winter and the western population who spend summers in the Intermountain and Pacific Northwest states before migrating back to southern California when the weather turns cold. Since the 1980s, the western population has declined by almost 99% while the eastern population has been reduced by 80%.
At the heart of the issue is the loss of wild milkweed (Asclepias spp.) plants throughout their range due to indiscriminate herbicide use, mowing and general clearing of agricultural fields, right-of-aways, ditches and other disturbed areas where milkweed tends to grow. Milkweeds are the only larval food plant monarch butterfly caterpillars eat and so without milkweed monarchs can not regenerate their populations.
This is where gardeners like you can be of help! By planting way-stations of milkweeds native to your area you can help play a vital role in saving this remarkable and iconic species!!
Use the following link to determine which milkweeds you should select for your region: https://monarchwatch.org/bring-back-the-monarchs/milkweed/milkweed-regions-seed-needs/