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Growing Milkweed and Raising Monarchs

Once you get some milkweed plants established in the ground, they will bloom for two or more years as well as produce seeds for new plants. Monarchs will be attracted to the plants for nectaring and for laying eggs. Our NABA chapter gives away milkweed seeds every fall at our meetings. Seeds can be purchased from Territorial Seed Co. in Cottage Grove, and seedlings can be purchased in the spring from Friends of Buford Park & Mt. Pisgah. Some common varieties of milkweed that will grow here are Asclepias speciosa - Showy Milkweed, Asclepias fascicularis - Narrow-leaved Milkweed, and Asclepias curassavica - Scarlet Milkweed. The last type however, is more sensitive to cold weather. More information on milkweed can be viewed at http://www.xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/OR-milkweed-guide_XercesSoc2.pdf.

It may take a while for monarchs to find your milkweed plants, so you may want to purchase monarch eggs, caterpillars, or chrysalids. They can be ordered from http://butterflybushes.com/butterfly_rearing_kits.htm for example. Before ordering monarch eggs, and especially the caterpillars, be absolutely sure that your milkweed plants are far enough along in their growth to be able to support the expected number of hungry caterpillars.

Literature about Monarchs and raising them can be obtained at https://www.bioquip.com/Search/default.asp.

General information about butterfly gardening and raising monarchs can be found at http://monarchbutterflygarden.net/.

If you have any questions about growing the milkweed or raising the monarchs, don't hesitate to ask us. Because the monarch caterpillars get to be large, they will need a lot of milkweed leaves. Therefore be sure that you have many plants and that the plants are well developed. Jim Reed, , a high school teacher in Klickitat, Washington has been teaching HS entomology classes for several years. He also may be able to provide some answers to questions you may have as time goes on.

Our chapter of the North American Butterfly Association can provide small grants for butterfly projects. Please submit a proposal if you are interested. We can also make awards to student(s) for their work in studying butterflies.



Page design: Donald Gudehus.

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