What should I do if I haven't seen any monarchs in my milkweed patch?
Because monarchs are distributed across a very wide range, and there are so many fewer monarchs than there were previously, it can take a long time for monarchs to find a patch of milkweed. However, if you live in the monarch's breeding range, your milkweed is important! It is vital to get as much milkweed as possible out on the landscape, so that they monarchs that are out there are the most likely to find viable habitat in which to breed.
There are a few things you can do to make your habitat more enticing to monarchs, which may help them find your habitat.
- Plant a variety of species of milkweed. This allows females various types of milkweed to choose from as a host for their eggs. Find species of milkweed native to your region here, and sources of milkweed plants can be found at www.plantmilkweed.org.
- Plant a variety of flowers that bloom throughout the season. Adult monarchs need to eat the nectar from flowers. For regional recommendations of monarch-preferred nectar flowers, see the Xerces Society Monarch Nectar Guides.
- Provide shelter from the wind, and sunny places for monarchs to bask. This handout provides other general recommendations on gardening for monarchs to consider.