Cathy Isom has a few important tips about why you should grow milkweed for a specific insect. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.
Milkweed plants may not be the first thing you think of growing in your garden… but you should. The nectar in all milkweed flowers provides valuable food for butterflies, bees and other pollinators. Butterflies don’t only need nectar, but also need food at the caterpillar stage. The leaves of all milkweed species are the ONLY food that the caterpillars of American Monarch butterflies can eat!
There are over a hundred milkweed varieties, and which milkweed you choose to plant depends a lot on where you live. However, there is one variety called the tropical milkweed – though quite beautiful – it is problematic. Avoid planting this one as a perennial because it doesn’t die back as others do.
If Monarchs lay their eggs at the wrong time, the eggs hatch infested with a parasite.
Milkweed is a tough, disease-resistant plant, but it can attract an undesirable element. Slugs and aphids can become a problem. They want to eat all the milkweed leaves and leave nothing for the caterpillars.
I’m Cathy Isom…