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Monarch Favourites!

The Monarch Butterfly has been in the news frequently and it has not been good news. Monarch populations have been on a long term decline for many years now. The number of Monarch butterflies making it to their winter refuge in Mexico has dropped to the lowest level since comparable record-keeping began over 20 years ago. There are now only one-fifteenth as many Monarchs now as there were in 1997. Experts have called the recent numbers “ominous.”

Habitat loss due to development and the widespread use of toxic chemicals on farmlands and roadsides throughout their migratory path through the USA has seriously reduced the numbers of the native plants that are critical to the survival of Monarch butterflies.

Recently the connection between milkweed and monarch has become well known. Milkweed plants (Asclepias) are the exclusive host plants for the Monarch caterpillar. The adult butterfly lays its eggs on Milkweed plants and the caterpillars eat the leaves of milkweed and only milkweed to reach the next stage of growth and undergo the miraculous metamorphosis that allows an adult Monarch butterfly to come into existence.

But the adult Monarchs also require nectar sources – native plants that bloom from early summer to late fall. (Fall-blooming asters will help fuel their fall migration to Mexico.)

What has all this got to do with you? Simply put, it is an opportunity to be a part of a solution!

The 3-D film Flight of the Butterflies, does a beautiful job of explaining the Monarch’s life cycle, its migration path, and the story of how scientists discovered the secrets behind Monarch migration. Towards the end of the film, a third-generation Monarch is heading south and looking desperately for a place to lay her eggs. She must find a milkweed plant or the next generation will be born into starvation. As she flies over acres of fields of chemically-treated corn she finds no milkweed to land upon, and begins to sink down to the ground, her life nearly over, her mission incomplete. But suddenly, on the horizon, a sub-division of houses appears. One of those homes stood out from the sterile boxes of evergreen yews that surrounded it. In that one sweet flowery haven, the butterfly landed on a milkweed. The butterfly laid her eggs, thus ensuring that the next generation would make it to Mexico and carry the life-cycle forward.

Which also gets us back to the current situation with milkweed, there are so many things we either have no power to change or very little power to change; but if enough people plant a variety of native plants in their yards and in their community spaces, we can provide enough biodiversity to preserve many things which are currently endangered, including Monarch butterflies.

You can make a difference!

Our "Monarch Favorites" list offers a wide selection of plants to support their life cycle, including both host plants and favorite nectar plants. And remember all of our seeds are hardy throughout North America and all are non-GMO.

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Achillea millefolium - White Yarrow
This fragrant wildflower is known for its feathery, fern-like foliage and flattened flower cluste..
Agastache foeniculum - Anise Hyssop
Excellent for semi-shaded spots or in full sun, Anise Hyssop is a beautiful plant that is in the ..
Allium cernuum - Nodding Wild Onion
Nodding Wild Onion is a very attractive, low-growing wildflower, producing globes of white bell-s..
Amorpha canescens - Leadplant
Blooming in mid-summer, Leadplant produces beautiful long spikes covered with purple flowers with..
Anaphalis margaritacea - Pearly Everlasting
The butterfly-attracting Pearly Everlasting produces showy clusters of globular pearly white, but..
Aquilegia canadensis - Wild Columbine
Wild Columbine is one of our most familiar and beautiful wildflowers. It has fascinating hollow s..
Asclepias incarnata - Red Milkweed
Naturally found in low-lying areas at the edge of swamps and ponds, Red Milkweed produces rich cl..
Asclepias syriaca - Common Milkweed
Common Milkweed produces a profusion of sweet-scented lavender flowers in mid-summer and is the m..
Asclepias tuberosa - Butterflyweed
One of the most striking of all wildflowers, the brilliant orange flowers of the Butterflyweed ap..
Baptisia alba - White False Indigo
One of the longest living wildflowers, a mature White False Indigo plant practically jumps out of..
Baptisia australis - Blue False Indigo
Blue False Indigo is a very showy plant producing clusters of dark indigo blue, flowers on long s..
Baptisia bracteata - Cream False Indigo
Cream False Indigo is a low-growing wildflower featuring gorgeous clusters of lush cream-coloured..
Baptisia sphaerocarpa - Yellow Wild Indigo
Yellow Wild Indigo is an extremely long-living plant. It produces beautiful large yellow blossoms..
Coreopsis lanceolata - Lanceleaf Coreopsis
This daisy-like flower with bright yellow rays makes an excellent cut flower that lasts about sev..
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