|Critical for Monarch Butterfly Conservation|
| Milkweeds are rightfully celebrated for their role as host plants for monarch butterfly caterpillars, but they are much more than just food for monarchs. With abundant, high quality nectar, milkweeds support a diversity of pollinators such as native bees, honey bees, beetles, wasps, and hummingbirds. |
You can help conserve monarchs by planting milkweeds and other native wildflowers that provide nectar throughout the growing season.
In many areas of the country it can be tricky to find milkweed seeds or plants. In 2010, the Xerces Society began working to increase the availability of milkweed seed in several southern states where monarchs breed in the spring and summer. In collaboration with native seed producers, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and community partners, we're producing new sources of milkweed seed for restoration projects that benefit monarchs, pollinators, and other wildlife.
Here are a few tips to help you find the right plants for your garden.
Native is best! Plant species that are native to your region, and use seeds and plants that are as locally sourced as possible.
Non-native tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica, is available from many plant nurseries, but scientists are concerned that it has negative impacts on monarchs. To avoid the potential risks, plant native milkweeds instead.
When buying plants, ask if they have been treated with systemic pesticides, such as neonicotinoids, which persist in plant tissues and can harm or kill insects that feed on them. Some nurseries use these practices to produce unblemished plants for sale.
Please contact the following nurseries to check if they have native milkweed seed or transplants for your region.
- Pacific NW: Fourth Corner Nurseries, Bellingham, WA
- California: Hedgerow Farms, Winters, CA
- South-central: Native American Seed, Junction, TX
- Great Lakes: Minnesota Native Landscapes, Otsego, MN and Cardno JFNew, Walkerton, IN
- Southeast: Roundstone Native Seed, Upton, KY
- Northeast and Mid-Atlantic: Ernst Conservation Seeds, Meadville, PA
To locate many other great sources of native plants, please visit our Pollinator Resource Center, and browse the list of native pollinator plant nurseries for your region.
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|DO YOU WANT TO HELP POLLINATORS?|
|Take the Pollinator Protection Pledge, plant your pollinator garden, and hang your Pollinator Habitat Sign to do your part to protect pollinators.|
|Learn how to create pollinator habitat with resources from our online store, including:|
|MILKWEED PLANTS AVAILABLE IN CA|
|Hedgerow Farms has milkweed transplants for sale. The plants are $2.50 each and can be shipped to California addresses. Sales support the Xerces Society. Read more. |
Banner: Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) nectaring on butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), by Bryan E. Reynolds.
Monarch caterpillar on milkweed, by Fiona Reid, Painted Lady Vineyard.
Showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) with bumble bee, by Claudia Street, Lake County Farm Bureau.