Friday, August 11, 2017

Monarchs on Butterfly Milkweed

Monarch on Butterfly Milkweed, August 10
I saw my first Monarch Butterfly of the year on July 30. It was sipping from some clover blooms in the middle of a hayfield in Shelton. About fifty feet away, on the perimeter of the community garden, Butterfly Milkweed were in full bloom. The pretty orange flowers can host Monarch caterpillars, and I wondered if we might start seeing some soon.  The eggs hatch in about five days and the caterpillars grow rapidly. On August 10, I checked the Butterfly Milkweed and we did indeed have a Monarch caterpillar.

Monarch on clover, July 30
Butterfly Milkweed, also called Butterfly Weed, and not to be confused with Butterfly Bush, is a favorite of mine. It's a perennial that doesn't need to be watered, brings a nice shade of orange to the garden, is fine in our acidic soils, and the deer don't touch it. It doesn't spread throughout the garden like other types of milkweed and, of course, it can host Monarch caterpillars because it's in the Milkweed family.  It does need full sun and ground that isn't too wet. This dry hilltop is a perfect spot for it, and in fact the plant grows wild in the hayfield, blooming after the hay has been cut.
Butterfly Milkweed