Milkweed in Bloom

Milkweed blooming in a Florida garden. This variety of Asclepias tuberosa is aptly named "Hello Yellow."
“Milkweed in Bloom”

Last year, I experimented with adding some native perennials to my yard. A few of them didn’t do well where I put them and eventually died out, never to be seen again. Fortunately, a few others weathered the winter and are now coming back.

One of those is my “Hello Yellow” milkweed. I took the photo above last year while it was in full glory, just as the Monarch butterflies were beginning to flutter around. By the end of the season, the caterpillars had decimated it. Unlike some milkweeds, this species (Asclepias tuberosa) will grow back. Even though the new stems are still short, it’s already attracted a milkweed bug. I’m hoping that means the Monarchs will be back soon, too.

Monarch populations have declined drastically because milkweed (their host plant) is being killed off by herbicides like Roundup. The good news is, milkweed is native to most of the United States, as well as Ontario and Quebec. It’s also a beautiful landscape plant, as it keeps blooming all summer long. So add a little native color to your garden and help the Monarchs at the same time!

If you want more information, the Monarch Butterfly Garden website has an excellent page about different species of milkweed, including where they grow.

© 2015 Karen Joslin