SOUTHPORT, N.Y. (WETM) – Butterflies and other pollinators can really spruce up your garden, but when it comes to deciding which plant is best, there’s one that rises above the rest.
Despite its name, milkweed is an essential plant for the butterfly population. Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on the leaves of the flowering plant, and the larvae use it exclusively as their food source. Milkweed is common, too, found along fields, highways, and any weedy parts of your plot.
From a farming perspective, I more often than not find milkweed to be a nuisance any time it crops up along the edge of a field. It’s persistent but ultimately serves as a life source for the monarch population.
The seed pods release clouds of silky and fine seeds in the fall, which help re-seed the plant each year.
“It’s not a good plant that’s going to transplant well unless you do it right in the beginning stages,” said Charlie Todd of Chamberlain Acres Garden Center. His advice: if you want some for your garden, look along the road for the pods that are about to burst. Then collect them in a bag and scatter them wherever you want them to grow.
“It’s always nice to have the butterflies around and… it’s not just butterflies, you’ll see moths, you’ll see all types,” said Todd.