Allow Milkweed To Grow and Plant Nectar Flower Gardens to Help Monarch Butterflies
GRAPEVINE, TEXAS ( June 22, 2021) - Fluttering monarchs will fill the air on Saturday, October 16 during the 24th Annual Butterfly Flutterby, sponsored by Cook Children’s Healthcare System, Marshall Grain Company, Camp Bow Wow, HomeLight and TrueSpot. The event is presented by the Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Grapevine Garden Club and the City of Grapevine Parks & Recreation Department. Butterfly Flutterby celebrates the migration of the monarch butterfly from Canada to Mexico by way of Grapevine. To help ensure that hungry monarchs and other butterflies have enough fat stored for their fall journey south to the mountains of Mexico, consider adding some milkweed and nectar flowers to your garden.
Did you know that the monarch is also known as the “milkweed butterfly?” Milkweeds are critical to the survival of monarch butterflies because monarchs lay their eggs on milkweeds in the spring and fall, and Monarch caterpillars only eat milkweed. Many Texas milkweeds, vital to butterflies, have been wiped out across the state by several factors, such as the increased use of pesticides, expanding land development and Winter Storm Uri. If you see milkweed in your garden, don’t pull it! Save it for hungry caterpillars and butterflies.
In addition to plants that may grow naturally around your home, several milkweeds, nectar flowers and beneficial bushes can be added to your garden. The native Texas Green milkweed with its white-green flowers and large leaves is a feast for caterpillars and butterflies alike. Antelope Horn milkweed also is native to Texas and is characterized by its fuzzy leaves and greenish-white bloom. It is a hearty perennial that may grow up to two feet tall.
Fully grown monarchs enjoy nectar from a wider variety of plants, and just a few added nectar-producing plants can make a big difference. Some varieties are easy to find at local chain nurseries, while others may be found at independent nurseries or ordered online. The Grapevine Garden Club has worked with Carol Clark, a North Texas Master Naturalist, member of the Native Plant Society of Texas and a Conservation Specialist with Monarch Watch to provide a list of recommended butterfly-friendly plants that grow well in the DFW area.
Easy to Find in Chain Nurseries: Candytuft, Celosia, Coneflowers, Cosmos, Lantana, Penta, Pincushion Flower, Salvia, Mealy Blue Sage, Verbena, Zinnia and Glossy Abelia Shrub.
Found at Independent Nurseries: Aster, Butterfly Weed, Black-Eyed Susan, Blackfoot Daisy, Butterfly Bush, Buttonbush, Gregg’s Mistflower, Four Nerve Daisy, Fragrant White Mistflower, Frostweed,Mexican Sunflower, Mexican Mint Marigold, Pipevine, Phlox, Turk’s Cap, Frog Fruit (ground cover) and Yarrow.
The Grapevine Garden Club recommends that people begin slowly with plants that are easy to grow and find at local garden centers. To learn more about gardening and helping butterflies in your area, visit GrapevineGardenClub.com. To experience the beauty of hundreds of monarchs fluttering overhead, make plans to attend the 24th Annual Butterfly Flutterby on Saturday, October 16 at the Grapevine Botanical Gardens (411 Ball St.). The event will include a Gossamer Parade, costume contest, student art show and contest and live butterfly releases at the Botanical Gardens.