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Proactive Conservation for Working Lands

Plant Recommendations for Monarch Butterflies in the Midwest


For the monarch-friendly conservation plantings biologists recommend that 50 to 75 percent of plants come from this list with at least 3 percent of the plantings consisting of milkweed species. Milkweed is the only larval food source for the monarch butterfly. In the Midwest, NRCS recommends two-thirds of milkweed be common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). Common milkweed is native to this region and is readily established there. The remaining third of the milkweed seeds should be butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) on sandy, well drained soils or swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) on richer, less well drained soils. Both of these species are available in quantities large enough to be used in conservation plantings.

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