Milkweed is a required plant for monarchs to live and thrive. Caterpillars munch only on milkweed leaves and the females lay their eggs on the plants as well. Milkweed is also a great nectar plant for many other pollinators like bees and other butterflies, but also hummingbirds.
Most people think of the plant common milkweed when someone mentions milkweed, but there are other varieties that can be found in Minnesota and are great for your gardens too. Remember that named varieties you might see in the garden center are great plants, but insects and birds prefer the native varieties they have seen for almost ever.
Butterfly Weed is a fantastic garden plant since it is a shorter, more compact milkweed bursting with orange flowers.
Despite its name, Swamp Milkweed, will do just fine in average garden soil. This variety also doesn’t spread except by self seeding and is easy to dig up or move early in the season.
Other native varieties of milkweed include whorled, purple and poke. No matter which you plant, the insects and birds will be sure to gather!