Grow Milkweed, Save the World!

I’m trying to save the world. Wanna help? It’s easy!

Sure, I’ve released over 700 Monarch butterflies in the last fifteen years. Monarchs are amazing and you can find out how I do that right here! But butterflies aren’t the most important thing I grow. The most important thing I grow is Milkweed.

Scientists are always trying to get people to grow Milkweed to “Save the Monarchs!” That is absolutely true- Monarch butterflies are beautiful, with a unique and amazing migration, and they are completely dependent on Milkweed. It is the only plant they can eat as caterpillars. No Milkweed, no Monarchs. Period.

But those scientists are a sneaky lot. (Full disclosure- I am married to a scientist.) Saving the Monarchs is important. But it is not as important as saving all the insects. Monarchs are what scientists call a flagship species.  They are a pretty butterfly that many people will grow Milkweed to save. Here’s the sneaky part- when we grow Milkweed we help many other important and worthy but far less charismatic species in the insect world.  And the insect world is in danger and needs help.

Some people think they don’t care about insects. I’m not one of those people. But if you are, guess what? When we help the insects we help ourselves, too. Insects are at the bottom of the food chain and all we larger predators ultimately depend upon them. Not to mention the fact that if those insects who pollinate all the fruits and vegetables we eat disappear, we are going to be in big trouble.

The Good News is that unlike so many problems in the world, this is one thing where each of us can make a real difference. And it’s easy. I love it when things are easy, don’t you?

All you have to do is plant Milkweed and then not poison the insects that come to visit it. Common Milkweed doesn’t need to be watered, trimmed, pruned, nothing. Don’t spray poison- well, what could be easier than taking something off your chore list? Plant Milkweed, save the world, done. Here’s how.