Butterfly Milkweed Attracts Pollinators

is valued for its magnificent clusters of bright orange to yellow-orange blooms that bloom all summer. They tend to be a great additon to many gardens. The lush vegetation creates a dark green backdrop that enhances the colourful blooms. This plant is a well-known choice for all sorts of gardens due to its vibrant orange colour, low mounded form, and capacity to attract and maintain butterflies.

Quick Growing Guide

Botanical Name: Asclepias tuberosa

Botanical Family: Apocynaceae

Also Called: Butterfly Weed; Orange Milkweed

En français: Asclépiade tubéreuse

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Pollinators

The colourful blooms of Butterfly Milkweed attract a diverse range of bees, wasps, and butterflies, including Fritillaries, Swallowtails, and the Monarch. The blooms also attract the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. Butterfly Milkweed, like other milkweeds, is a larval host plant for the monarch butterfly. Milkweed is critical to the survival of the Monarch butterfly. It is the sole plant on which the caterpillar can survive and form its elaborate chrysalis.

Butterfly Milkweed and Monarch Butterfly 

The monarch population depends on flowering plants, especially milkweed grown on fields, roadsides, open areas, wet areas, or urban gardens. The monarch butterfly depends and feeds on nectar from a wide variety of flowers, but it breeds exclusively when milkweeds are nearby. 

Butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed plants.

A female Monarch butterfly produces one egg at a time (a total of 350 to 500 over a month) that is usually laid on the bottom of a leaf near the top of a milkweed plant. The eggs are off-white or yellow, with longitudinal ridges running from their tip to their base, and they’re around the same size as a pencil tip or a pinhead.

Do monarch butterflies eat milkweed?

The butterfly’s larval form requires a single plant as a food source. The host plant is what they consume during their larval stage. The monarch butterfly larva cannot develop into a butterfly without milkweed, the host plant for the butterfly. During their adult lives, monarch butterflies consume the nectar of the plant, which contains sugars and nutrients.

How do Monarch butterflies find milkweed?

The monarch butterfly does pollinate milkweed since it draws nectar from the plant; however, pollination is not their primary relationship with it. As an anchor or a host plant for their caterpillars, milkweed is essential for monarchs. 

With the help of their sense of sight and smell, as well as their other sensory receptors, monarch butterflies tend to locate milkweeds. The antennae and front legs of this monarch have sensory receptors. A female typically tastes a milkweed plant with her feet before laying an egg.

Is butterfly milkweed invasive?

Butterfly milkweed is an essential plant for monarch butterflies. It is important to remember that common milkweed is aggressive and can quickly take over your butterfly garden. This can be controlled by removing seed pods prior to them splitting open. It is also possible to find several non-invasive options that benefit butterflies and pollinators. In order to grow milkweed successfully, it is important to match the plant’s growing conditions with your garden.

Should butterfly milkweed be fertilized?

Many people may want to fertilize large milkweed gardens because of their benefits for Monarch butterflies. However, that is not necessary. In part becuase of their ability to thrive in poor soil, they grow well without much assistance.

Sources and References

North Carolina State University

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