How many of you have heard that Milkweeds are really good in your garden as a host plant for Monarch butterflies? I’m going to give you a quick guide to Milkweeds and then show you that they are important for more than just Monarch butterflies.
The Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT) has a good guide to the common varieties of Milkweed in Texas. There are more than 30 species of Milkweed in Texas. The list below shows a few of the most common ones you’ll come across in our area.
- ANTELOPE HORNS Asclepias asperula is in full bloom right now and can often be see along the sides of roads. This plant gets its name from the huge brown seed pods that look like antelope horns!
- GREEN MILKWEED Asclepias viridis – sometimes called Green Antelope Horns.
- BUTTERFLY WEED Asclepias tuberosa – This should not be confused with Tropical Butterfly Weed Asclepias curassavica which is readily available in the big box stores and may contribute to problems with the Monarch butterfly problems because of it’s longer blooming period. If you can, try and get the native plant instead of the tropical variety. Butterfly Weed is a very attractive addition to your garden as well as being very useful. I have some but it’s not in flower at the moment
- PEARL MILKWEED VINE Matelea reticulata – I’m adding this to my list because it is part of the Milkweed Family and according the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower center is a host plant for Monarchs. I also have a lot of it in my property and think that it’s a shy but beautiful plant. Personally, I haven’t seen anything feeding from this plant, but I love it anyway!
I’ve got A LOT of Antelope Horns growing on my property and I admit that it took a while for me to learn to love them, the plants do tend to straggle across the ground! Once I learned how important they are as a host plant for Monarch Butterflies they earned new respect in my book! And then I took a good look at them – the flowers are beautiful.
Since starting my adventure as a Beekeeper, I have become generally more aware of plants as hosts for pollinators. Yesterday, when I was out having a stroll around the garden I quickly noticed that virtually every Antelope Horns flower head had several Honeybees feeding on nectar and gathering pollen. A bit of an eye opener for me and my love for this plant went up a couple more notches!
Hope you’re stay home and keeping well. Big shout out to all the Emergency, Health, Grocery, Delivery workers out there. And a special shout out to my son, Henry who is plumbing around San Antonio. Stay safe everyone and try to enjoy beautiful nature around us.