As you might have read the Monarch Butterfly's population is drastically being reduced each year.
This year alone the winterizing Monarch's population in Mexico is has dropped to 59%, the lowest
record to date. Six of the last seven years have shown drops, and now sadly there are only one-fifteenth as many butterflies as there were in 1997. Staggering figures in my estimation.
World Wildlife Federation has blamed climate conditions as well as agricultural practices for this decline, sighting pesticides as a major contributor. Pesticides have been killing off the Monarch larva's soul source of food, milkweed.
Migration is an inherited trait and no butterfly lives to make a round trip. As a result they need this plant to exist along their migration trail in order to survive. Feeding exclusively on milkweeds, a plant readily available at some local nurseries as well as mail order catalogs.
According to Craig Wilson a senior researcher at Texas A&M University, if people want to help, they should plant milkweed. "There are more than 30 types of milkweed in Texas alone, go to your local garden center, you'll see lots of Asclepias cultivars that'll look great in your garden.
According to Wilson, it's important to have a national priority in the US and Canada of planting milkweed to assure that Monarchs will not be wiped out. "If we could get several states to collaborate," he said, "we might be able to provide a 'feeding' corridor up to Canada for the Monarchs."
Not always the most appealing plant out of flower, when planted in along with daylilys or ornamental grasses they create a very handsome combination. If this is not to your liking why not try a planting of this important resource behind a garage or shed, the Monarchs will thank you for it!