This year, MSHS is working with Save Our Monarchs to provide free milkweed seeds to up to 650 fairgoers. If you are not familiar with Save Our Monarchs, it is a Minneapolis-based nonprofit organization of gardeners who are concerned about monarch butterflies.

Monarch caterpillars swarm a planting of butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa). Milkweed is the only plant monarch caterpillars eat.

Monarch caterpillars swarm a planting of butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa). Milkweed is the only plant monarch caterpillars eat.

Destruction of habitat and other factors have led to a dramatic decline in monarch numbers. According to Save Our Monarchs, the number of monarchs is about half what it was just 10 years ago. Monarch caterpillars depend on one plant — milkweed — for their nourishment. Milkweed is a hardy plant, but mowing of ditches and more habitat put into housing and agriculture has resulted in less milkweed being available to monarchs. Gardeners can help by planting milkweed in their gardens. To assist, Save Our Monarchs distributes thousands of packets of seed to gardeners who want to grow milkweed.

This year, our MSHS Minnesota State Fair education booth has the theme of helping pollinators. You can learn all about bees, butterflies and other pollinators at the booth, which is located near The Dirt stage in the Agriculture/Horticulture building at the fair. We’ll be handing out free seeds during the fair (as long as supplies last) and would love to talk with other gardeners about how they are encouraging monarchs and other pollinators.

What plants do you plant for butterflies?

4 Comments

  1. Deb Gieseke on September 9, 2014 at 9:21 am

    Want to have monarch visit my flower garden, but could not get the free milkweed seeds. Sad!

  2. Linda Morley on September 27, 2014 at 8:27 am

    I spent $12 to have 3 kids spend 10 minutes in the butterfly tent at the fair…..thought that was a pretty good donation of sorts. I then sent a SASE to receive “free” milkweed seeds to plant. My SASE came back with an empty seed packet that said to send $2 for each seed packet requested. This miserably failed the integrity test. Shame on you!

    • Mary Lahr Schier on September 29, 2014 at 9:31 am

      We’ll check on what’s happening here. I’m not sure if they ran out of seeds or what, but will find out.

      Thanks for letting us know.

  3. Kath b on August 27, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    What plants/flowers (besides milkweed) were recommended on today’s broadcast?

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