PicturePhoto by D. Pauze (www.terralovers.com)
Monarch butterflies are so beautiful.  How can you not look at these wonderful little guys/gals and not feel an overwhelming sense of awe?  They flutter around and bring feelings of goodness to butterfly lovers everywhere.  But I have some bad news, they're numbers are decreasing at an alarming rate because of the fact that the one plant they thrive on (milkweed) is vanishing due to loss of habitat (Center for Food Safety).

Monarch butterflies migrate astonishing miles to get out of the cold weather. When we think of migration, we often think a couple hundred miles, especially for insects, but the Monarch flies over 2500 miles in some cases to escape the cold (Monarch Butterfly Website).

Since the rise of agricultural industrialization and the resulting natural habitat loses, the Monarch butterfly migration numbers have been declining (Center for Food Safety).  While the number of Monarch butterflies migrating south has been overall declining since  1996-97, the trend since 2008 has been a steady decline and the number of migrating Monarch's as of last year is at an all time low (Center for Food Safety).  

PicturePhoto by D. Pauze (www.terralovers.com)
Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on Milkweed.  But since agricultural industrialization has resulted in a decline of wild growing Milkweed, it stands to reason that if we start adding this weed to our gardens, we can create way stations for the Monarch during it's life/travel (Spector, 2013).   Planting milkweed in your gardens will help these guys by adding back some of the habitat they are losing (Live Monarch).  It's pretty simple, we are moving in and taking away their homes & habitats.  So instead of making it worse by not doing anything, we can help by simply adding certain plants to our gardens and landscapes that attract these beautiful guys/gals, starting with milkweed.  Live Monarch will provide you with seeds for the price of shipping, but if they only have the southern plant, you can find a great list of other providers at Monarch Watch.  

PictureI helped this little guy out.
Monarchs are not the only butterflies that would benefit by the planting of milkweed, and milkweed is not the only plant you can add to your gardens to attract butterflies, but it is their primary food source and they do lay their eggs on it (World Wildlife Fund).  

The fate of flutter butters is unknown, but we can help bring back places to provide them safe harbor.  Don't delay, plant milkweed & add butterfly gardens to your landscape.  You will be grateful, especially when you get to witness them in all their splendor during their mating and feeding seasons.  Remember you can get free milkweed plants here: Live Monarch & get a list of other places that provide them here: Monarch Watch.  And if you want to take part in putting together awesome butterfly gardens, all you have to do is plant, with love.  Take matters into your own hands, don't let their numbers continue to dwindle while doing nothing. Just plant a plant, or thirty.  

Some varieties of milkweed are deer & rabbit resistant.  



Additional comments &  resources welcome.  


Alicia Graef.  2013. Monarch Butterflies Are Vanishing: Here’s How You Can Help From Your Own Home.  1 Feb 2014. 

Center for Food Safety.  2014. New Report Shows Monsanto A Major Culprit in Record Decline of Monarch Butterflies.  1 Feb 2014.  http://ecowatch.com/2014/01/30/monsanto-culprit-record-decline-monarch-butterflies/

Kaye Spector. 2013. How You Can Help Prevent Decline of Monarch Butterflies Due to Roundup-Ready Genetically Engineered Crops.  1 Feb 2014. http://ecowatch.com/2013/10/30/home-gardeners-can-take-simple-steps-protect-monarch-butterflies/

Live Monarch. 2013. 1 Feb 2014.  http://www.livemonarch.com/free-milkweed-seeds.htm

 Monarch Butterfly Website. n.d.Web. 1 Feb 2014. http://www.monarch-butterfly.com/monarch-butterflies-facts.html

Monarch Watch.  n.d. Bring back the Monarchs. 1 Feb 2014. http://monarchwatch.org/bring-back-the-monarchs/resources/plant-seed-suppliers

World Wildlife Fund.  2014. Monarch population hits lowest points in more than 20 years.  1 Feb 2014. http://worldwildlife.org/stories/monarch-population-hits-lowest-point-in-more-than-20-years



02/02/2014 5:01pm

Wow Dawn, I had no idea butterflies could fly so far.. I love them and its sad we're making life hard on them.. i will seek this out and plant milkweed and read about the butterfly gardens. My Dad is an avid gardener and ensures the birds are looked after so this year we'll enhance the butterflies lives also,thanks so much for highlighting this xo

02/02/2014 5:12pm

Awww, the birds & butterflies will love it! So happy to get the word out and help our little fluttering friends. I plan on planting tons and tons of milkweed and more butterfly bushes this year. Around mid summer, you can walk out my front door and they are everywhere, and that is just from 3 butterfly bushes! Can't wait to see what happens next. Thank you so much for reading and I am so glad it helps. Much love and thanks.

02/02/2014 8:56pm

I have such a warm feeling of love when I come here, Dawn, to know you use your voice to speak so passionately for the Earth and all her creatures. I LOVE butterflies, so will be sure to keep gardens stocked with milkweed when and if I have a garden :) Their message for us is to not fear change, so if we lost them, we'd be missing a pretty amazing message, too. Big Love <3

02/03/2014 3:37am

Jenny, I am so happy you feel that! :-) Brings me joy. When I was writing this I was thinking about how I can spend hours taking pictures of these guys and not get bored. They are fascinating and heart warming and I am so happy I could bring that feeling about.

While responding to another comment I came across these two websites that list the types of plants beneficial to pollinators, including the milkweeds. Sharing with you:



Some ideas. :-) Thank you so much for stopping in. Amor y luz.

02/03/2014 3:08am

I'd love these butterflies. Do you know if deer eat milkweed? There are lots of deer on my lawn. I am going to have to plant according to what they don't like.

02/03/2014 3:22am

Bobbie, some varieties of milkweed are rabbit and deer resistant. Great question, I went looking for the information and found this really cool website that lists a garden that is attractive to pollinators, it's called an orange garden, and contains milkweed.

And I found others that are deer resistant too. :-) Enjoy.



Thank you. :-)

02/03/2014 3:25am

PS- I am going to add these sites to the blog for easy access. Thank you for reading and being curious about that, I did not think of it and now we can share that with other readers. Appreciate your support.

02/03/2014 4:24pm

Very informative post! I will definitely be planting some milkweed and spreading the word about it to others. It's heartbreaking to think of the many ways in which we as humans are having such a detrimental effect on the beautiful creatures of Earth, but I know it's largely due to ignorance, so you're doing a wonderful thing to bring to light the ways in which we can help to heal the damage. :)

02/03/2014 4:32pm

Awww, thank you Emma. All we can do is try to inform people enough to keep them fighting the good fight. I want to leave this planet knowing I am doing the best I can to preserve what we have for future generations. I hate to think they will have to clean up our mess because a few are more concerned with money than morality. I appreciate you reading and commenting. I even more-so appreciate you helping to spread the word. Amor y luz.

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