Audubon Society of Ohio
The Cincinnati Chapter of National Audubon Society

Swamp Milkweed and the Monarch

Not birds….but butterflies…..since we have an upcoming walk to find them.  My luck with the regular kind of milkweed plants was a bust so this spring I planted two swamp milkweeds and I now have five monarch caterpillars.

I couldn’t believe how fast it happened; had not even seen a Monarch in my garden.  I’m an “old lady” and if this excites me then I can just imagine how kids could be fascinated in their own back yard.   I hope this type

milkweed continues growing; I am sure it got a head start with all the rain we have had this year.  I am now an advocate for everyone to plant a couple of milkweeds and watch nature happen up close and personal.





    comment on August 18, 2015 at 11:16 pm by Joshua Eastlake :

    I have more Monarch (and Milkweed Tussock Moth) cats this year than I could possibly count. Large Aphid and Milkweed Bug populations are usually also part of the deal when you grow Asclepias. I have Swamp Milkweed (A. incarnata), Butterflyweed (A. tuberosa), and Common Milkweed (A. syriaca), as well as Tropical Milkweed/Bloodflower (A. curassavica), which is treated as an annual here. Monarchs seem to have a very strong preference for Swamp and Tropical Milkweed in my experience, although I’ve certainly seen them on the other two. I hope many other people throughout their range are doing the same thing and meeting with similar success. They need our help.

    If anyone is interested in Swamp or Tropical Milkweed seeds, I will have some to offer in the next month or so. The Swamp Milkweed plants are already loaded with pods. Just let me know if you’re interested. The seed of perennial Milkweeds like Swamp Milkweed and Butterflyweed should be sown on bare ground in the fall. Sow Tropical Milkweed seed after Mother’s Day in the spring. Sprinkle them on bare soil – don’t bury them. They require light in order to germinate. I have found mulching lightly with pine straw is very effective; it keeps the surface-sown seeds in place and also allows light to reach the seeds.

    Eric Burkholder also told me the other day of a local nursery that offers several other Milkweed species a few times per year. Perhaps he will chime in with that info…

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