A Good Year for Milkweed — and Monarchs

milkweed flower and bee
A bee lands on milkweed

Walking around the ponds near our house this spring, I’ve noticed this has been a great year for milkweed (Asclepias) with stands of it everywhere and many of the plants now in beautiful bloom. I like the look of milkweed for both its broad leaves and pink, pom-pom flowers. But milkweed’s real benefit is that it is the only plant Monarch butterfly caterpillars feed on. Last year, I planted a special type of milkweed to attract butterflies — and it worked, except that the caterpillars ate the plant down to the stalk!

I’ve seen Monarchs three times in the past two days (no photos yet), so I’m hoping that this year’s big crop of milkweed will mean an equally large crop of butterflies.


6 thoughts on “A Good Year for Milkweed — and Monarchs

  1. After reading this post, I’ve decided to leave a stand of milkweed for the butterflies, too. The flowers really are pretty even if no caterpillars take advantage of the plant.

  2. Live near liberty Missouri. Spotted first monarch caterpillar on this day. I would guess it is about a week old. I have swamp and the typical wild milkweed. I am very excited to see the new generation..!

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