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When to Plant Milkweed

When to Plant Milkweed

When to Plant Milkweed

Milkweed is a flowering herb found throughout North America. It grows wild in almost every state and is a favorite for local gardeners, as it provides a great place for bees to make honey.Milkweed are beautiful American wildflowers and delightful garden plants. Fragrant clusters of flowers are a magnet for butterflies and pollinators. Four species of native milkweed are found in most states: the Whorled Milkweed, Common Milkweed, and Swamp Milkweeds, and Butterfly Weed. They will thrive in a wide range of garden and meadow habitats from the eastern seaboard to the Rocky Mountains, including southern Canada. Plant milkweed in your meadow or garden to provide much-needed habitat and food for monarch butterflies, bees, and other beneficial insects. Follow our guide to learn how to planting and growing healthy milkweed.

Milkweed

Planting Time: Milkweed plants can be planted in spring or fall. In spring, your milkweed plants will likely arrive in a dormant state, with no green leaves above the soil line. This is perfectly normal! At this stage in your milkweed's growth, all of the energy is being focused on developing a strong root system. After you plant your milkweed, you should see it 'wake up' as the soil warms and should begin to see leaves form - often, milkweed can be slow to wake up from dormancy compared to other perennials in your garden. Be sure not to overwater while they are dormant.The leaves of all milkweed species are the host plant for the caterpillars of beautiful American monarch butterflies - meaning milkweed leaves are the ONLY food that they can eat to survive.

However, because of widespread pesticide use and the destruction of meadows across the country, wild-growing milkweeds are disappearing in places where these butterflies breed. This has led to a nearly 90% decline in monarch populations over the last 2 decades! Looking ahead, if we don't replenish these lost milkweeds, Monarch butterflies will vanish from the American landscape forever. Fortunately, you can plant milkweed to help support your local monarch butterfly and pollinator population! When it comes to saving the monarch butterfly, many people know that milkweed is essential. I’m often asked, “When should I plant it, and does it matter what kind of milkweed?” To answer these and other questions about helping these iconic pollinators, I have compiled this compendium of much of what you need to know. (Source: environmentmaine.org)

 

 

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