Attracting Monarch Butterflies

Dated: 04/05/2014

Views: 1450

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The sight of a beautiful orange and black monarch butterfly in Missouri is likely to be less common this year, but you may be able to help the ones that do arrive here. Unusually hot weather in the spring of 2012, unusually cold weather last spring, and the loss of habitat throughout the Great Plains have combined to create hardships for the insects.  Monarchs lay their eggs on milkweed plants, of which Missouri has 17 native species. Caterpillars emerge from the eggs and feed on the leaves and stems. Planting milkweeds, especially in areas where they are currently scarce, can help monarchs be more successful in rearing new generations. Milkweeds are appropriate for use in home landscape plantings and several species are popularly used, especially by gardeners who enjoy helping monarch butterflies. Several milkweed varieties grow well in Missouri and range from 2 to 6 feet tall in a variety of colors. These include marsh milkweed, purple milkweed, common milkweed, and butterfly weed.

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