Monarch butterflies were recently reported as endangered. While it’s a big problem there are things we can all do to help support the Monarchs. Monarch butterflies are 100% dependent on a group of plants called milkweeds to support their young. While the adult Monarchs sip nectar from a variety of flowers, their caterpillars can only eat the leaves of milkweeds.
Many species of milkweed are easy to grow from seed. Head outside in the autumn, or even in the early winter, and sprinkle the seeds around the garden. Burying the seeds can reduce germination rates since milkweed seeds need light to germinate. Just drop the seeds in the garden and press them down with your hand. Once you’ve sprinkled the seeds over the soil there’s nothing else to do but wait. In spring, they’ll germinate and begin to grow. Once the seedlings are a few inches tall, you can transplant them to different areas of the garden. Be sure the new plants stay well-watered until they’re established. Milkweeds are hardy plants that will survive with very little care.
The Dexter Farm to School program grows milkweed, collects milkweed seeds and passes seeds out to students in late fall. If you would like some milkweed seeds please contact us and we will send some seeds to you.