*UPDATE: WE ARE CURRENTLY OUT OF MILKWEED SEEDS* WE RECOMMEND CONTACTING http://www.livemonarch.com/free-milkweed-seeds.htm FOR SEEDS* THANK YOU TO THOSE THAT PARTICIPATED*
Drastically Low Levels of Monarch Butterflies: (info from www.livemonarch.com)
“Monarchs need your help NOW! This year AGAIN marks the lowest number of over wintering Monarchs in the Mexican mountains in the last 20 years…and we have only known about their over wintering sites for a little more than 20 years!. There are 97% fewer than at their recorded height and 50% less than there were last year. This is a back to back 50% decline in their overwintering numbers. Researchers are worried we may lose a large part of their migration this year if immediate action is not taken and severly threaten all Monarchs if the pattern continues.”
“This is a crisis situation! In 1991, over 75% of the wintering Monarchs from North America froze to death in Mexico as a result of three days of rain and sub-freezing conditions. Their numbers showed some recovery but now there is a nationwide shortage of milkweed. Freak weather patterns destroy habitat and kill millions of helpless Monarchs. But these natural events are not the only challenges that face the Monarch. Pesticide application and genetically modified crops cover important parts of the Monarch’s migratory path and serve as killing fields for any Monarch that pass through these millions of acres of toxins and biological agents that kill them and their young. They are unintended casualties in a war to protect crops. Are our Monarchs worth our efforts to protect? Do we even know the total effects on our environment from the use of these agents? The Monarch habitat must be protected now to ensure their survival, before we see the day when this miracle of nature is only a memory. The Monarchs need your help NOW. Please plant seeds and ensure their survival. A Milkweed in every yard!”
Importance of Monarch Butterflies:
Just like bees, butterflies are pollinators. Without these insects, we wouldn’t be able to have the delicious produce we enjoy and need for nourishment.
- Clean Air from flowering plant reproduction
- More plants equals erosion control & water purification
The Flight Migration:
Monarch Facts: (from http://www.monarch-butterfly.com)
- Monarch butterflies are the only insect to migrate up to 2,500 miles to get out of the cold weather and hibernate.
- Only the fourth generation of monarchs can migrate each year because the first three generations die after about six weeks from escaping their cocoons.
- Once a monarch butterfly is an adult (after the metamorphosis into a full grown butterfly) it can eat the nectar from any flower, not just the milkweed plant. Only the caterpillars need the milkweed plant to live.
Important Info About Milkweed & the Relationship with Monarchs:
Milkweed is an important plant because so many species of insects depend on it. Monarch Butterflies, Milkwee Bugs, and Milkweed Leaf Beetles only eat milkweed, and could not survive without it.
Milkweed, when broken, lets out a milky sap. This sap has toxins in it called Cardiac Glycosides. Some animals can eat the glycosides and not be harmed. When the Monarch butterfly’s caterpillar munches the leaves of milkweed, the glycosides go into its body, making the caterpillar poisonous to predators. Even after the caterpillar has changed into an adult butterfly, it keeps the glycosides in its body.
Milkweed species in the genus Asclepias contain cardiac glycosides that are poisonous to humans, but they pose the most danger to grazing animals. Humans can eat milkweed, but its toxicity depends on its species, age, how it is prepared and how much is eaten.
Sowing Seeds: (from monarchwatch.org)
- After last frost
- Plant early in the season
- Light soils with great drainage
- Full sun to part shade
- If you can sow indoors then transplant, do so.
How To Get Your Free Seed Packet ($25 Value):
Though it is only 200 packets, we are giving away a packet of Southern Milkweed (Asclepias Curassavica) that contains 50+ seeds, free to each person that signs up to our newsletter and likes our Facebook page (can be done by the slider bar on the left). The form to get your seed packet can be found here.
If you want more or to order bulk, visit here.