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Quick Hint: Attract butterflies to your yard by growing more flowers and less lawn. Mowing destroys butterfly habitat. They like weeds better than grass. Here is a list of butterfly host plants, to keep the butterflies happy in your yard, instead going somewhere else to lay their eggs. Butterfly Host Plants from Blossom Swap.
Monarch butterflies like their local, wild milkweed best. Lots of other weeds and scrub may look like milkweed. The easiest way to identify the real thing is NOT by the leaves or the milky sap, but by the blossoms and seed pods. Here is an article about identifying wild milkweed. It likes well-drained soil, but is usually found near a stream, so moisture is important. Some varieties of Milkweed grow 3-5 feet high.
I planted a whole packet of Showy Milkweed seeds, purchased commercially. Not one seed sprouted. I've read about others having the same problem. Someone suggested keeping the seeds in the fridge for a few weeks before planting.
Beware of hybrids. I accidentally brought home a little Monarch caterpillar on the leaf of a tiny milkweed plant I'd salvaged on a day trip, several hours from home. I knew I didn't have nearly enough to feed the baby, so I asked for some leaves at a professional garden. What they gave me was a hybrid. My caterpillar couldn't eat it. It took several hours of traipsing through our local woods to find the good old wild stuff, but my baby finally got a good meal, grew big and fat, formed a chrysallis, emerged as a beautiful big Monarch, and flew away to explore the flower garden.
Here is a link to another website for more info on growing milkweed from seed.
Here is a link to my new website, Butterfly-Moth.com, for more information.
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