Mideastern NJ: To assist in
Mideastern NJ: To assist in the desperately declining numbers of Monarch butterflies, would like to urge every NJ garden to have some version of milkweed. The common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is 5-6 ft and spreads quickly. It is milkweed of choice but is better in meadows or a section of isolated sun/part shade garden. Better for home gardens is Ascelpias tuberosa, "Butterfly Weed", a brilliant orange, 20-28" height, visited by all pollinators, often hosting a bunch of our favorite cheerful Monarch caterpillars. For new timers, Asclepias curassavica, "Tropical Milkweed" with beautiful red-yellow blossoms, 18-24", is annual in our area. Purple milkweed (purpurascens)is a more manageable, shorter version of Common milkweed, with lovely purple blossoms. And Asclepias Incarnata (Swamp or Marsh milkweed) is a more elegant 4-5 ft. shrub if you have room and part shade. Harvest the seed pods or cut the flowers as they fade to eliminate seed disbursement of all your milkweed. All produce flowers to feed your bees and butterflies. Your gardens will be humming and buzzing happily mid-spring to early summer with pollinators. Sadly, have not yet spotted a single Monarch, or any eggs or caterpillars on a 2 acre property with large milkweed beds.