MONARCH BUTTERFLY MIGRATION!
Hopefully, if we increase the number of Milkweed plants we will slow down the decline of migrating Monarch Butterflies.
A waystation is an area that includes both host plants (milkweed) and nectar plants. There are a wide variety of nectar plants that can be bought at local nurseries. Some popular varieties for butterfly gardens include: Butterfly Bush, Aster, Black-eyed Susans, and Cardinal Flowers, to name a few. There is a wealth of information about Monarch Butterflies and how to become a certified Monarch Waystation at www.monarchwatch.org.
Our students propagated our plants by harvesting the seed pods from our own Swamp Milkweed in the fall. Each plant produced three to four seed pods. We harvested approximately 200 pods. Once the pods were dried, the students removed the seeds from the pods and separated the fluff from the seed. We collected between 5000-6000 seeds from our small milkweed garden (about four by eight feet). The seeds next then had to go through the process of cold stratification. This is a process by which seeds are put through an artificial "wintering" process to mimic cold weather. They were wrapped in damp paper towels and sealed in bags. They were stored in a refrigerator for about two months. This process weakens the seed coat and helps to improve germination.
Care Information for Our Plants
Name: Swamp Milkweed or Asclepias Incarnata