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Grow Milkweed for You and the Monarchs

Support the monarch butterflies, hummingbirds and bees while adding color, fragrance and beauty to your landscape by growing milkweed.

The monarch caterpillars only feed on the leaves of milkweed and the adult butterflies can be seen visiting the flowers for a sip of nectar.

Butterfly weed’s (Asclepias tuberosa hardy in zones 3 to 10) adaptability, brilliant orange blooms and monarch appeal won it the 2017 Perennial Plant of the Year. Combine this beauty with yellow, purple and blue flowers.

Common milkweed’s (Asclepias syriaca hardy in zones 3 to 8) purple-pink flowers are fragrant at night and you will find a variety of butterflies stopping by for a visit. Keep it contained by removing unwanted suckers and seedpods before they open to prevent reseeding.

Or try its less aggressive relative Sullivant’s milkweed (Asclepias sullivantii) hardy in zones 4 to 7. Also known as prairie or smooth milkweed, it has great butterfly appeal.

Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata hardy in zones 3 to 9) also has fragrant flowers and tolerates wet and dry soil, making it a perfect plant for the rain garden.

A bit more information: Add a few other native and pollinator friendly perennials to help attract monarchs and other butterflies to your garden. Complete the butterfly habitat with a water source and stone for resting and warming.

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