SOUTHPORT, N.Y. (WETM) – This summer in Upstate New York has been dry. July 2022 saw several fewer inches of rain than July of last year.
The dry weather is especially important to keep in mind with milkweed. Milkweed is exclusively what monarch butterfly larvae eat, but the drought has kept the plants from producing as many seed pods as possible.
“They’ve gotten as tall as they normally are, but they’re not as full,” said Charlie Todd of Chamberlain Acres.
This also means that insects and deer are looking for just about anything with moisture, leaving many hosta beds chewed off.
Another plant that’s popular among the butterflies is Joe Pye weed. However, this year the leaves on many of the stalks have curled up and dried and the plant failed to produce a flower at all.
“It affects everything and the stress goes through even Mother Nature and the animals that depend on those plants,” said Todd.
If you want to plant a butterfly-friendly garden, wait until the milkweed seed pods dry out and open. The seeds will be attached to very fine fibers to float off in the wind, much like a dandelion.