Get your yard ready for monarch migration

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What kind of milkweed do you have?  You can still plant milkweed, just keep it watered.   If you can, it would be great to plant more milkweed for next year, and you can sow seeds now—they’ll stay dormant until after winter/spring.  Some patches of milkweed (and different kinds is even better) around your yard is ideal.   A female won’t lay all her eggs on one plant; she tends to flit around to different plants which is smart to disperse her eggs.  Very few eggs laid make it to adulthood, and the eggs and young caterpillars can be eaten by any number of predators/parasitic wasps/flies (generally excepting mammals/birds ).

Eggs are laid on the underside, and I’m not so sure if you’ll find any more eggs now; right now is sort of transitional time between the reproductive ones and the ones that migrate for our area.  They are different.

An important thing, really important– is to have nectar plants that are fall blooming because you could have Monarchs that are migrating from further north come through your yard.  That’s where native asters and goldenrods and annuals like zinnia and Mexican Sunflower come in really handy.   The Monarchs have to GAIN weight as they travel down to Mexico because they will not feed while they hibernate.  I guess that on warmer days they wake up a little and might get to some water, but that’s it.

I think we are planning on having some seeds available, and I can try to pot up a lot of seedlings I have that are about a foot tall (too many in one section).  Mine are mostly Swamp/Rose Milkweed.  I still have some Showy Goldenrod seedlings—I can pot those up too. If anyone has any extra small yogurt containers and potting soil, that’d be helpful.


Photo Credit : Nancy Ortenberg

One Response to “Get your yard ready for monarch migration”

  1. Donna Czarnecki

    You ask the question:”What kind of milkweed do you have?” The majority of my milkweed plants are Asclepias incarnata ( swamp/rose milkweed). I also have common milkweed. However, I find that the Monarchs are really attracted to my tropical milkweed ( asclepias currasavica), even when the plants are only 7-12 inches high! If three leaves, each from one of the varieties I just mentioned, were put into the object in which I raise my Monarchs, the Monarchs would choose to eat the tropical milkweed.
    What kind of milkweed do you grow besides Asclepias incarnata and which kind do you find that your Monarchs are most attracted to?


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