Monarch butterflies have suffered alarming loss of habitat. Thinking of raising your own monarch butterflies to release? You can help rescue monarch butterflies and help them thrive by putting together your own rescue kit. Witnessing the metamorphosis is truly an amazing experience.
Common milkweed is the only plant in northeast Ohio on which monarch butterflies will lay their eggs. So you will need to locate some milkweed in your community or plant your own in your backyard. To do this, you will need:
- Milkweed. There are several varieties of milkweed, including common milkweed and butterfly weed. You can often get seeds from local stores that sell seeds, like hardware and building supply stores and nurseries. Nurseries may also have ready-to-grow plants. For more information about types of milkweed to grow, check here: Monarch Watch Milkweed Market
- Somewhere to plant milkweed. You can find a place in your yard.
- A butterfly ”cage.” These are available from several places, including Amazon and Monarch Watch. Do a search for “butterfly cages” to find the best product for you.
Directions for growing milkweed
- Choose a location that gets at least 6 hours of full sun.
- Loosen a 12-inch square of soil and add all of the organic soil to enrich the plot.
- Scatter milkweed seeds and cover with 1/2-inch of soil.
- Place the labeled stick in the plot to identify the plot.
- Water the area frequently until the plants are established.
Be patient. Germination is weather-related.
- Thin plants if necessary.
For more information about growing and tending milkweed, check out this site at Monarch Watch: https://monarchwatch.org/milkweed/
Once you have some thriving milkweed, it’s time to look for eggs and tiny caterpillars. Keep your eye out for monarch butterflies flying around the milkweed and carefully examine spots where they have landing. You may be rewarded with tiny yellow eggs which will eventually become caterpillars. For more information about what to do when you find monarch eggs, check out this page at Monarch Watch.
A few monarch videos
Some other helpful resources are:
School Butterfly Garden Guide—Garden Club of Ohio
For more information and help in raising and releasing monarch butterflies, you can contact the Avon-on-the-Lake Garden Club. Use the “Contact” form below to submit your name and email address.