I learned about Flower Friday last year from Lorilin@Bugbugbooks and have been having a blast sharing some flower pics. Please check out Lorilin’s blog if you haven’t already for book reviews and more!
For today’s Flower Friday, I decided to discuss Butterfly weed. This is a perennial plant that I grew from seed a few years ago without much thought. I wanted to plant a center garden for our butterflies and just grabbed a bunch of flower seed I knew would attract them.
The following year, they bloomed into such beautiful plants with butterflies crawling all over them. Every year the plants come back which makes me love them even more. ❤ They require little to no maintenance.
This year, rather than plant Zinnias down our path through our pasture, I’ll be planting more of this Butterfly weed. So far I’ve planted roughly 240 plants which haven’t even sprouted yet, but they should in a few days. They grow fairly rapidly and I’ll transplant these out in late May when the danger of frost is over. I’ll also be planting more common milkweed from seed that was collected last year.
Growing the Butterfly weed this year ended up costing me roughly $15.74 cents for the seed and soil. You can locate the seed at many sites online, but I prefer sustainableseedco.com as they offer free shipping in the U.S. and also have larger quantities for mass sowing. It’s likely your seed will also ship the same day and I’ve had excellent germination rates on every type of seed I’ve ordered from pumpkins to flowers.
Butterfly milkweed is perfect for growing zones 3-9 and will come back year after year. It loves well draining soil and full sun. Plants can grow 1-3 feet high and spread 1-2 feet wide.
Why grow milkweed?
I’ll try to keep this short, but in a nutshell, Monarch butterfly population has seriously declined. In the last 20 years the Monarch populations in the U.S. have dropped by 90%.
It is said that a combination of pesticides and herbicides used by farmers are part of the culprit, but also habitat loss. Herbicides kill milkweeds and other nectar plants Monarchs need to survive. The young caterpillars especially rely on milkweed for food. If the milkweed is scarce, they cannot survive. Habitat loss has been an issue do to logging in Mexico where the Monarchs overwinter. The rate at which Monarch caterpillars survive (in the wild) is now roughly 10%.
By planting milkweed, you can help increase the Monarch populations by giving them the food that they need to survive. You can also work to conserve the population by locating eggs in the wild and raising them in a protected environment. It’s important to be sure that you will have enough milkweed to feed them before you take on the task, for they’re heavy eaters.
I look forward to our butterflies every year! How about you?
Thanks for checking out Flower Friday. Are you growing milkweed where you live? What do you think about Monarch butterflies? Feel free to comment below. Have a beautiful weekend!