Help Save the Monarch Butterfly

Help save the Monarch Butterfly

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You can help save the Monarch Butterfly.

The Monarch butterfly is a beautiful and amazing insect. An insect that is disappearing right before our eyes. The Monarch population has decreased by 80% over the last 20 years due to habitat loss and pesticides. Do we have a chance to help save the Monarch butterfly?

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These majestic butterflies migrate from Canada to Mexico as they lay eggs along the way. It takes 4 generations of Monarchs to make the trip. It’s a multi-generational journey.

Vanishing

When you see a Monarch butterfly, it’s almost as rare as seeing the Loch Ness monster. They are few and far between compared to when I was a kid.

Monarch butterfly on a zinnia flower
Monarch butterfly on a zinnia flower
Photo by Chris Keats on Unsplash

Monarch butterflies exclusively lay their eggs on milkweed plants. As a child, we used to pick these “weeds” and break them open to see the white “milk” drip out.

I never see these plants where I live now. Aside from my mother growing them in her garden. These plants are no longer considered a weed, but a necessity to increase the Monarch population.

How can we save the Monarch butterfly?

I’m glad you asked.

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Monarch butterflies need a habitat

The Monarch relies on milkweed as a nursery for the precious butterfly eggs. Those eggs hatch and out crawls a very hungry caterpillar. The caterpillar eats the milkweed and once it’s ready will form into a chrysalis.

Monarch butterfly caterpillar
Monarch caterpillar

If you want Monarch butterflies in your garden here are a few simple tips. Plant a patch of milkweed and other bright colored flowers that attract butterflies, such as zinnia’s and poppies.

If you want them to reproduce you will have to have milkweed in your garden. This is readily available at garden centers as a plant or in the form of seeds.

Don’t have a garden but want to help?

Twenty years ago I ordered monarch caterpillars by mail for my daughter. We received a little container with milkweed leaves and caterpillars in a mesh cage. We watched the lifecycle and released them outside. She loved it! You can still order these today. See below.

Monarch butterfly on a milkweed plant
Monarch butterfly on a milkweed plant
Photo by Ryan Carpenter on Unsplash

Additional habitat luxuries

If you really want to make your garden a welcome oasis for the Monarch butterfly, add some additional luxuries for them to enjoy.

You can help save the monarch butterfly by giving them a watering station. Do this yourself by using a shallow dish or birdbath and fill it with water. Add stones or glass beads that reach the water surface to give them a spot to light on to while they take a drink.

You can also help save the Monarch butterfly by avoiding all chemical pesticides in the garden. Read my other gardening posts about natural ways to keep pests away here.

Watch them grow

Keep an eye out for Monarch chrysalis on your milkweed. They will hang from the underside of the leaves of the plant. Be careful not to disturb it and let it finish creating a beautiful Monarch butterfly.

Thank you for reading, I hope you will hop over to my Gardening Section for more articles on creating a beautiful garden on a frugal budget.

Help save the monarch butterfly
Photo by Alex Guillaume on Unsplash
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16 thoughts on “Help Save the Monarch Butterfly

    1. You’re welcome, thanks for your comments. Yes, that is an interesting fact and a big part of the decline in numbers. Milkweed is so easy to grow and it spreads as well. If everyone put a little in the garden, we’d do some good.

  1. I’ll definitely include some milkweed in my spring garden this year! Do hummingbirds next! I just set up my hummingbird feeder; I’ll have to look up hummingbird plants!

    1. The hummingbirds are returning to our area on March 15 from their migration. I will have content up soon in preparation. Zinnias, dahlias, daisies, honeysuckle, mandevilla, are some great starters for hummingbirds. These same plants attract a lot of bees and butterflies as well! Happy planting.

    1. I know! Every kid in grade school watched them hatch in science class. Now, if you see one it’s a rare spotting. Glad you’ll be planting in Michigan!

  2. We put in another rain garden this last summer and included a milkweed patch in our backyard, as well. I’m so excited to see more butterflies! We already see quite a few as they love the anise patch, lobelia, and coneflowers we currently have.

    Our local nature reserve has a awesome native plant sale every spring. I do NOT have a green thumb, but all these things seem to thrive!

    1. I love watching the butterflies. I’m glad to know it’s a sturdy plant. I’ve seen it sold in seed and root form. I’ll be trying from seed this year. My mother had patches of it that continued reseeding year after year. I’m hoping my results are as good! Fingers crossed.

    1. You’re the 2nd person to tell me that, I had no idea! That’s a shame because these are such majestic butterflies! I hope we get lucky this year.

  3. These majestic insects are my spirit animals so this really breaks my heart that they’re dying out but also makes me feel special that, as rare as they’re becoming, I’m blessed to spot one at least once a week. Thank you for the tips. I’m looking forward to implementing some of them to keep them alive as best as I can x

    1. Hi Lydia, They are so beautiful. I have 12 Milkweed seeds started on my windowsill getting ready for this year. I hope I will find a monarch caterpillar or pupa this season. That would be amazing! Thanks for reading.

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