Save the monarchs! Learn about native plants they need to survive and how you can help.
Below, find the information about monarchs and what you can do to help.
Monarch have been declared endangered
In the United States alone, there are over 1,300 endangered or threatened species. Monarch butterflies are now among those. After being recently added to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species as endangered, monarch butterflies are getting more attention. Is it too late?
At Graf’s Garden Shop, we’ve advocated for the protection of pollinators of all kinds since opening. We take pride in offering a wide assortment of native plants that can be easily added to gardens and flower beds to attract and feed butterflies, bees, moths, and hummingbirds. If you haven’t added these plants to your outdoor landscaping, here’s what you can do.
What you can do:
1. Monarch butterflies feed and lay their eggs primarily on native species of milkweed. By adding varying types of milkweed to your landscaping, you can attract monarchs, give them a place to feed and lay their eggs and provide food for the caterpillars when they hatch, grow, and prepare to form chrysalises. When planting milkweed, it is extremely important to plant pesticide-free plants. At Graf’s our milkweed plants are pesticide free and you can keep them pesticide free at home too. We offer organic solutions for treating pests in the garden. Once you have planted your milkweed and other pollinator-friendly flowers, it is important not to apply chemical pesticides. At Graf’s we carry Neem Oil and organic fertilizers so you can naturally treat and feed your plants.
2. Never plant tropical milkweed! At Graf’s we have a variety of native milkweed that you can choose from. Tropical milkweed should be avoided because it lacks the same nutrition as native milkweed and monarchs rely on the nutrition for their migration to and from Mexico.
3. Don’t gather chrysalises and caterpillars and bring them indoors to hatch. While it may seem like you’re protecting the chrysalises from predation by moving them inside, the caterpillars actually need to be in natural sunlight, which cues their natural and proper development. If you want to provide protection to chrysalises, it’s best to screen them in where they can remain outside. However, with access to ample, pesticide-free food sources, the caterpillars will develop and hatch on their own.
Why are monarchs important? Monarchs play a vital role in pollination at the continental scale. Pollination is necessary for food production. They are also integral to the food web, providing food for small animals, like birds and mice. There are entire species of birds who rely solely on monarchs for their food source.
When looking at one butterfly, it is beautiful but its impact may appear small. However, the extinction of the monarch butterfly and the decrease in pollinators in general would greatly affect our own food source, as well as the food source for many animals. In addition, the species that rely on monarchs for food would also be wiped out. The extinction of one species cannot be looked at as an isolated event. All plants and animals on this planet rely on one another. The more species you pluck from the web, the harder it becomes for the other inhabitants of the planet to survive.
Butterflies are beautiful creatures. It brings so much joy when one lands on your flowers, or on your brightly colored shirt. If you’d like to see and help more butterflies and natural pollinators, Graf’s is here as a resource. Our team will be happy to help you find the best native plant options for your space. Feel free to email or call us with questions, or stop into the shop anytime during business hours. We can’t wait to see you – and the butterflies.