Bringing local wild land plants into your garden will increase the number of butterflies inhabiting your airspace.
Two monarch butterflies cruising together beneath a Coast Live tree. (Elizabeth Wallace)
For residents in Southern California, gardening with native California plants can be unfamiliar. Most homeowners appreciate the ease of shopping at their neighborhood Home Depot Garden Center, Lowes, and True Value for plants. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find California native plants at these outlets.
The showy orange-colored, non-native tropical milkweed is available from local retailers like Home Depot, but tropical milkweed is not healthy for adult monarch butterflies in Southern California.
Native milkweed for sale at Rogers Gardens in Corona del Mar, California. Photo by Ron Vanderhoff.
Tropical milkweed (non-native) hosts a protozoan parasite that harms adult monarch butterflies in Southern California.
To help increase monarch butterfly populations, plant milkweed that is native to your area. In Southern California, narrow-leaf milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis) is one of the best species of milkweed to support monarch butterfly populations.
Narrow-leaf milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis) growing in the wild at O’Neill Regional Park in Southern California. (Elizabeth Wallace)
You can find native milkweed at nurseries that grow or source California native plants. Tree of Life Nursery in San Clemente is the largest grower of California native plants in the state. Roger’s Gardens in Corona del Mar also sells California native plants that are safe for birds and butterflies.
Fall flowers for pollinators at Tree of Life. (Elizabeth Wallace)
When you visit Tree of Life Nursery, you can choose among thousands of California native plants that are all beneficial to birds and butterflies.
In the next post, I will talk about some of the easiest California native plants to grow in your garden, including the California buckwheat of course!
California buckwheat growing in a home garden. (Elizabeth Wallace)
If you would like more information about butterflies, including monarchs, visit The Xerces Society.