Home Home & Garden The Ultimate Milkweed Plant Growing Guide

The Ultimate Milkweed Plant Growing Guide


Why grow milkweed plants?

A monarch butterflies lands on a milkweed plant in a swamp.

The number of monarch butterflies is rapidly decreasing due to habitat loss and pesticide use. Milkweed is the best plant to grow because it sustains monarchs through their entire life cycle. It produces a chemical which makes monarchs bitter and toxic to their predators.

“The bottom line is, if milkweed disappears, so will monarchs,” says Laura Lukens, who works as a national monitoring coordinator for the Monarch Joint Venture, a partnership of American federal, state and other organizations. “Home gardeners have a huge role to play in providing habitat for monarchs, pollinators and other wildlife. Residential properties have the potential to contribute many thousands—maybe even millions—of acres of habitat.”

Find out fascinating facts about milkweed.

What is milkweed?

butterfly weed
Monarch on native butterflyweed

Milkweed has scientifically been called AsclepiasIt is a large genus with over 140 species in the Americas. It’s the only plant that hosts and feeds monarch caterpillars. The milky sap found inside the stems, leaves, and flowers gives milkweed its name.

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