Growing health milkweed

Asked June 14, 2015, 8:15 PM EDT

I, along with a growing number of people, am growing common milkweed around my home. They are essential to survival of monarch butterflies, which lay their eggs on the milkweed leaves, enabling the development of the larvae. Milkweed habitat is down, due in part to urban sprawl, but also to farmers eliminating habitat for birds, bees and butterflies by removing hedgerows at field edges. The milkweed I am nurturing has its leaves turning yellow and dropping, from the lower, to higher leaves, jeopardizing any eggs laid on them. I notice that some growing on a mulch pile are doing fine, so is this a nutrition problem? What can I do to grow healthy milkweed?

Rock Island County Illinois milkweed monarch butterflies horticulture

2 Responses

Could it be placement? It really likes full sun but still can limp along in semi-shady conditions. Maybe too much water? They grow very well in soil that drains well so excessive irrigation (and poor soils) can cause some health problems.

Thanks for the suggestions. These are in semi-shade. . will see what happens next year in a sunnier spot, and maybe some soil amendment.