New This Week

October 20, 2022

More than Milkweed

As growers who are conservation-minded, we are always looking at what we grow (and plant at home), in order to provide diverse food and habitat sources for pollinators, birds and other wildlife.

As growers who are conservation-minded, we are always looking at what we grow (and plant at home), in order to provide diverse food and habitat sources for pollinators, birds and other wildlife. We recently came across an excellent article written by Benjamin Vogt (a must read!), which we strongly agree with. In short, his message is that while monarch conservation and milkweed planting is great (and it typically does have a trickle down effect of encouraging planting for other pollinators), it can be harmful if folks are encouraged to plant milkweed and nothing else. It's very important to remember that monarchs are far from the only butterflies or pollinators at risk, and even if you only wanted to support monarchs, the adults feed on nectar from a range of flower species.  You don’t want to feed adults but then have no food for the larval stage when their eggs hatch, and likewise you want to be sure you don’t bring home milkweed and caterpillars and then not have nectar for the adults once they metamorphose. In order to fully and effectively support monarchs and other at-risk species, we need to plant both host plant and nectar plant sources, and overall ensure we are creating a balanced, healthy habitat. Added bonus: planting a wider range of native and nectar-producing plants leads to a much more colorful and diverse garden landscape and more varied and beautiful garden visitors!