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I recently read about the... #216493 - Ask Extension


I recently read about the... #216493

Asked October 11, 2014, 1:11 PM EDT

I recently read about the decline of the Monarch butterfly population and began looking for milkweed. It is difficult to find, which could explain why the Monarch population is declining. I have a small "field" and am thinking about planting milkweed there. Is this feasible? Advisable?

Harford County Maryland

Expert Response

The monarch population is declining due to pesticides, weather, shortage of habitat, etc. Planting milkweed in our gardens may help to increase the number of butterflies.
There are three milkweeds native to Maryland: swamp milkweed (Ascelepias incarnata), common milkweed Asclepias syriaca), and butterflyweed or butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa). You should consider a combination of milkweeds if possible. Common milkweed likes dry soil, butterfly milkweed takes dry or medium moisture, and swamp milkweed likes medium to wet. You may be able to find these plants in native plant nurseries.

Also, you did not mention how large the field is. You may want to consider planting a wildflower meadow for plant and insect diversity.
A regional seed resource which specializes in conservation landscaping is Ernst Seed:

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