Mostly native to the U.S. and Canada, Asclepias include over 100 species of evergreen or deciduous perennials adorned with clusters of small, interestingly shaped blooms that are irresistible to butterflies. Attractive and easy to grow, they shine in many perennial gardens and are a key component of butterfly gardens, cottage gardens, or prairies and meadows.
Milkweed plants are critical to the monarch butterflies survival. The biggest danger to the monarch butterfly is the disappearance of Milkweed because of habitat destruction and the widespread use of herbicides by both commercial farms and state highway departments. Without Milkweed, monarchs cannot successfully reproduce and the species declines. In the last 20 years, the monarch butterfly population in North America has decreased by 90%. By planting milkweed in your own garden, you can help reverse the fortune of these beautiful insects!
There are many varieties of Milkweed — some varieties do well in full sun and can tolerate drought, while others prefer marshy conditions. Make it a goal to include a few plants to help the monarchs and select the varieties ideally suited for your garden and growing conditions.