Will Her Monarch Caterpillar Descendants Be Visiting Your Milkweed this Year?

Monarch Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania

She’s depositing eggs on this Milkweed leaf. Most of us know that the numbers of Monarch butterflies seen these last years is low, very low. Low enough to deeply concern many of us. Why?

Why have the numbers of Monarch butterflies collapsed? The conifer forests that they visit wintertime, in the mountains of central Mexico, continue to be logged by outlaw lumbermen. This has greatly reduced the wintering habitat for Monarchs. Additional loss of these fir trees will further decimate populations. Here in the U.S.A. loss of habitat has taken its toll, and the use of toxics for agriculture and home gardening/’bugs’ too jeopardizes Monarchs.

What do I think? There should be a national effort to save this American favorite. The U.S. government should do this, for nearly every American child learns of Monarchs in grade school, and most carry that knowledge and the accompanying fondness for Monarchs all the years of their lives.

What can You do to help? Plant Milkweed plants in your garden. Garden small or garden large, plant milkweed where you have sun and moist soil. Plant milkweed in pots where feasible. Your planted and your potted milkweed are hostplants that nourish Monarch caterpillars. Their life cycle, which you and ‘Miss McGillicudy’ probables studied back in Grade 3, is fascinating and calming and reassuring in these unique times.

Suggestion: Don’t purchase your milkweed in Big Box stores. Purchase them more carefully, at local native nurseries (nurseries that stock plants native to your state) or online, from nurseries offering natives. A little more effort . . . But alot more reward.

Me? I see a Monarch, and I’m in love. Honest.


3 thoughts on “Will Her Monarch Caterpillar Descendants Be Visiting Your Milkweed this Year?

  1. Beware that commercially sold milkweeds may have been treated with systemic insecticides … and will quickly kill caterpillars. Always good to inquire. One of my clients was horrified when her caterpillars died on freshly purchased milkweed from a chain nursery.


    • Good advice. We, in our last gardens (Pittsburgh, central Georgia) only purchase natives in nurseries devoted to native trees, shrubs, perennials, etc.. The results are stunning, and so enjoyable, when unCommon butterflies make their appearance, and set eggs in our ‘800 Garden,’ here in Macon, Georgia. Good that they recognize the total absence of chemical toxins, and the presence of increasingly difficult to fine natives! Love it, truth be told!


  2. Thank you for this reminder to plant milkweed. I have two newly planted milkweed that were gobbled up this week by about a dozen Monarch caterpillars. They were even chomping on the stems! I hope they all survive to continue their life cycle.


Comments are closed.