Yards and Gardens in Northern Nevada: Plant Milkweed for Monarch Butterflies | Carson City Nevada News

Milkweed is the host plant for monarch butterflies. It is the only plant they lay eggs on and it is the only food source for their larval/caterpillar form.

“Without milkweed, the larva could not develop into a butterfly,” says the US Forest Service.

Monarchs can thrive with different types of milkweed. Nevada has 17 species of milkweed (USDA NRCS Nevada Plant List). The following plants are frequently used by monarchs here: Asclepias asperula (antelope horns), A. fascicularis (narrow-leaved or Mexican milkweed), A. incarnata (swamp milkweed), A. rusbyi (Rusby’s milkweed) and A. speciosa (showy milkweed). ). Milkweeds were once abundant along pastures and farmers’ fields, but, unfortunately, they have been listed in some states as noxious weeds. Fortunately, they are not noxious weeds in Nevada (Nevada Department of Agriculture). The reasoning behind designation in other states is that some species are poisonous to cattle and cattle.

Eradicating milkweed eliminates the main food source for monarchs, destroying their populations. They are now on the list of threatened and endangered species. I used to see many monarchs in our backyard years ago, but not anymore. However, twice recently I saw three monarch butterflies in the southern Washoe Valley around clumps of narrow-leaved milkweed.

Narrow-leaved milkweed, with its greenish-white crown-shaped flowers, likes a dry, sunny site. As its name suggests, it has very narrow grey-green leaves. It is a long-lived perennial plant. Seeds can be sown directly into the ground in the fall. It does not do well in containers.

Showy milkweed is an impressive erect plant with balls of white flowers whose nectar feeds a variety of butterflies, bees and other insects. It is slightly toxic to vertebrates. The leaves are large, greyish-green and fuzzy. It is also a long-lived perennial. Showy milkweed is adapted to many soils, provided there is good drainage. It requires some humidity and does not tolerate shade. While my plant took three years to flower, a friend I gifted a plant to last year had immediate success with flowering and propagation.

Help increase monarch breeding habitat so they can survive. Plant milkweed. The Reno-based Nevada Monarch Society is a resource for plants, seeds, and information. They recommend waiting for cooler weather to plant. They have 1 gallon or 2 inch pots of narrow or showy milkweed available.

They will be hosting an event in October where you can find Monarch Waystation kits and what you need to turn your garden into a monarch habitat. The Greenhouse Project in Carson City sells milkweed plants each year at plant sales. Comstock Seed in Gardnerville sells seeds.

About Charles Holmes

Check Also

The Automated Hydroponic Smart Planter lets you effortlessly grow up to 21 plants at once!

With the behavior and aesthetics of a large Instant Pot, the LetPot LPH-Max handles a …