If you still haven’t added Milkweed to your garden to help save the Monarch Butterfly, what are you waiting for? Not only is Milkweed essential to the monarch’s survival, it also looks and smells great in any garden. When in bloom, the fragrance from a patch of Milkweed can be taken in from quite a distance. With it’s height, Milkweed is the perfect plant to add to the back row of a garden, or use to conceal unsightly objects, such as gas meters or telephone boxes on front lawns.
A native species to Ontario, Milkweed is perfect for attracting not only Monarch Butterflies but other insects as well. Several species of butterfly readily feed on the nectar from it’s beautiful flowers and other pollinators like bees can be seen gathering pollen throughout it’s bloom. Aphids, gnats, and spiders can also all be found on Milkweed. Dragon and damselflies will quickly be attracted to Milkweed patches to feed on these smaller insects.
As the quantity and variety of insects increases in a Milkweed patch, so too will the number of bird species. Insects are a food source to almost all birds and they will soon find quite the smorgasbord within the Milkweed. Some of the bird species I observed this past week feeding on insects in various Milkweed patches include: Yellow Warblers, Warbling Vireos, Cedar Waxwings, Eastern Phoebes, and Eastern Kingbirds.
As you can see, adding a section of Milkweed will not only help the future of the Monarch Butterfly, but will create a diverse habitat for other organisms and thus increase the amount of wildlife in your yard. Definitely a win-win situation for both the monarch and nature lovers too.