You may recall that last year I wrote a post about the sharp decline of the monarch butterfly and what home gardeners can do to help stop it. (Click here to see that piece).
What I did was find three swampy milkweed plants and put them in my garden. This year, they are as tall as I am! The delicate pink flowers are blooming and they look healthy. Unlike common milkweed can sometimes be, the swampy milkweed isn’t being invasive at all.
Milkweeds used to grow in fields, on the edges of crops and by the sides of roads. With the increase in herbicide use and loss of habitat to industrial farming and development, milkweed is in decline. (It is estimated that 147 million acres of monarch habitat have been lost since 1992). Since monarchs will only lay eggs in these kinds of plants, their numbers are dwindling. It’s just another example of how meddling with the natural order of things has unintended consequences.
Click here to find the milkweed plants native to your state.