Journey North released a report saying that the Monarch population was down 22% in the Mexico reserve.
You can help the Monarchs by planting milkweed in your yard. Mowildflowers.net has this available right now for $3.15 each. They deliver at the Kirkwood Farmers Market in April.
Greenscape and Sugar Creek are good resources in St. Louis.
My favorite species is Asclepias incarnata – Swamp Milkweed. It usually grows for around three years of so depending on your soil conditions. Early migrating Monarchs may find the new growth in mid-April.
The latest data from Mexico shows the Monarch population is down 26% from the previous year.
If you’d like to provide support for the Monarchs as they come north, you need to plant as much milkweed as possible. Here are some varieties that I have tried in the past.
Swamp Milkweed – Asclepias incarnata Does best it wet soil, but will grow for three years in typical garden soil. Save the seeds and replant in the fall or start inside after cold stratification. If you have large clumps, you can also separate them as new plants. This is the one milkweed in St. Louis that will come up and be available for egg laying in April.
Butterfly Weed – Asclepias tuberosa Does best in poor dry soil. Like lots of sun.
Tropical Milkweed – Asclepias curassavica Easy to grow annual. I start these seeds around March 15th to have plants ready for Monarchs around April 15th.
Common Milkweed – Asclepias syriaca While this plant is easy to grow in almost any setting, it does wander all over the garden and out into the yard. If you have the space where it can wander then give it a try. I took mine out. I’ve grown it in a large pot for a couple of years, but it died out.
Other Milkweeds I have tried, but without long-term success.
Asclepias-exaltata Poke milkweed
Asclepias hirtella – Tall Green Milkweed
Asclepiad purpurescens – Purple Milkweed – lovely, but doesn’t last.
June 2nd in St. Louis. as I was weeding the gardens, I found two newly emerged Monarchs. The first eggs I saw this year were around April 21st. Doing the math, it turns out that these Monarchs took six weeks to go from egg to Monarch butterfly. The extra long time period probably has to do with the cooler temperatures and extra spring rain.
If you are weeding in the garden, take some time and see if you can notice these newly emerged Monarchs.
This also emphasizes the importance of having early spring milkweed. My favorite is Ascelpias incarnata – Swamp Milkweed.
Note – June 6th – Monarch is flying around the garden. I’m not sure if it is MY monarch, but it’s nice to see.
It’s April 21st and in St. Louis we have just been visited by our first Monarch butterfly. This was a female looking for milkweed to lay eggs on.
What is interesting to note is that just six days ago, we had frost yet the cooler temperatures have not hurt the monarchs or the milkweed.
Unless you have started milkweed from seed, most people won’t have any milkweed to provide the visiting monarchs.
Swamp Milkweed is one of my favorites in spring as it has a lovely form and beautiful flowers.
The problem we have is that it only lasts three or so years before it dies off. The problem is probably the hot dry summers we have, which is not conducive to any plant with swamp in it’s name.
To avoid having to buy new plants every year, make sure you collect the seeds when they ripen on the stem, put them in a paper bag and then plant them in late fall where you want them to grow. Next year you will be rewarded with lots of new plants free of any cost. You can also buy seeds online and plant them outside in the fall.
Another trick I have learned is that your can dig up plants early in the spring and divide them. This way you may end up with six plants instead of one.
Description: Have you heard about the steep decline in the Western monarch population? Are you wondering how you can help? This webinar will explore the citizen science effort that tracks the California overwintering monarch population and will discuss the results from this year’s Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count, a record low and a 99.4% decline.
· Katie Hietala-Henschell, Endangered Species Conservation Biologist, the Xerces Society
· Nick Stong, Programs Manager, Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History
· Emma Pelton, Western Monarch Lead, Endangered Species Conservation Biologist, the Xerces Society
The webinar will be offered through WebEx. The link and participation details will be provided the day prior to the webinar.
Please feel free to share this announcement and registration information!We look forward to your participation! MJV/NCTC Webinar Team