Grow Native Butterfly Weed for Monarchs 

Monarch butterflies benefit from growing native butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), which hosts their larvae and supplies nectar for adults. To attract monarchs, cultivate native butterfly weed:   

Plant butterfly weed in a sunny garden or landscape. Butterfly weed hates damp feet, so make sure the soil drains adequately.  


Plant butterfly weed seeds or transplants following frost. Butterfly weed's strong taproot makes transplanting difficult, so sow seeds directly in the garden.   


Butterfly weed likes well-drained, dry to medium soil. Sandy or rocky soils are fine for it. Before planting, add compost to improve soil fertility and structure.  


Butterfly weed is drought-tolerant, but it needs regular watering in the first growing season to build a robust root system. Water deeply but rarely, letting the soil dry between waterings.  


Once grown, butterfly weed takes little care. You can deadhead wasted blooms to keep them flowering and avoid self-seeding. Lean soil is best for butterfly weed, therefore avoid extensive fertilizer.  


Monarchs only deposit their eggs on milkweed, including butterfly weed. Plant butterfly weed with coneflowers, asters, and black-eyed Susans to attract monarch butterflies.  


Habitat loss and pesticide use threaten monarch numbers, so cultivating native butterfly weed can help. Pesticides kill monarch caterpillars and butterflies, so avoid them in your garden.  


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