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What's Up in Barb's Yard? Milkweed!

June 17, 2019

By: Barb Holtz

I've welcomed y'all into my yard as I plant and seed my way to native-ness. This is our second summer in what our kids call "the retirement home". It's a pretty standard suburban setting. My goal is non-standard, suburban plants. Native, northeast Ohio plants are my standard.

Last November I sprinkled a Milkweed Madness packet over a prepped bed. Don't tell my boss, but I'm pretty sure I overseeded this bare soil, weed-free spot. More seed per square foot does not equate to greater success but I have a plan. Like an expectant mother, I watched for any sign of sprout. When green appeared, I didn't recognize my own milkweed children until a couple ranks of true leaves shone. To be sure, I pruned with a pinch one of the seedlings. Sure enough, latex ooze! This sticky, milky substance is the life-giving juice for monarch caterpillars. Without it, monarch caterpillars cannot transform into adult butterflies.

So, congratulate me...I HAVE MILKWEED BABIES! Four different kinds to be exact. I can't wait to see which greenling becomes which species. Until then, I'll simply dote over them like a new mom in hopes of welcoming monarch mamas ready to lay eggs in later seasons. Oh, and the crowded seedlings? I'll have my kids yards adopt them.

Please remember that all site conditions differ and plants germinate at different times. It can take up to three growing seasons before milkweed species are fully established.

Shop our Milkweed Madness Packet!

Milkweed seedlings amongst some clover. Careful weeding called for.
Latex dot just above leaves.

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