|Monarch, ready to be released. Image credit.|
Note: This post was originally posted in 2021, a year that the numbers of Monarch butterflies counted in the southern California populations plummeted! (only 2,000 counted in southern California nesting sites in January of 2021). LINK-Western Monarch populations
Feb 19, 2023 LINK: "...Over 130,000 butterflies were reported in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties alone. The San Francisco Bay Area also witnessed a comeback from last year with more than 8,000 butterflies reported in surrounding counties.
This season’s results are a welcome reprieve from the dismal total of less than 2,000 individuals counted in 2020—and larger than the 250,000 counted last year.
335,479 is squarely back into what was considered “normal” in 2000-2017."
|Pic credit: https://earthwiseradio.org/2015/07/monarch-butterflies-2/|
|Showy Milkweed in bloom|
|This is what seedlings should look like after placing the seeds in a damp paper-towel inside a zipper bag and refrigerating for thirty days.|
|To grow seedlings bigger, arrange in potting soil... |
|...and cover with about 1/4" soil. Be very careful with their fragile roots.|
|Seedlings after several more weeks...|
|Adri and Kaylynn with milkweed plants at about 120 days from putting seeds in fridge. Two plants per pot.|
|Milkweed plants wintered over two years in pots. Ready to get into the ground!|
This coming spring, we'll transplant them into a sunny spot. Aside from propagating from seeds, the roots also send out runners and start new plants. We have a patch of milkweeds that grew as volunteers from underneath the pots we'd wintered-over in a previous season!
|Life-cycle of the monarch butterfly (by Adri Kitchen).|
|Studies show that a mixed stand of wildflowers seems to be beneficial to monarchs (and probably to other pollinators too). In other words, it's not ideal to grow milkweed alone. Llyn with crocosmia (red) and tansy (yellow - a volunteer "weed" that, though reviled by horse-owners is beloved of bees! Super fragrant too!).|
|Plant at least a dozen milkweed plants together. This will help monarchs find them.|
|Milkweed seeds, ready for harvest.|
|Honey bee on tansy.|
1. Plant native milkweed: In Willamette Valley, that's showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) and narrow leafed milkweed (Asclepias fasciculatis)
3. Don't use broad spectrum pesticides (https://monarchjointventure.
4. Reduce your lawn size
5. Support local efforts by educating others, advocating for different practices in your community, or become a citizen scientist
|Image credit: Llyn Peabody - 2020|