Time to Cut Back Milkweed - Monarchs

Asked August 13, 2018, 11:26 AM EDT

When is a milkweed plant no longer useful to the Monarch. I let all the milkweed grow in my yard if they come up in one of my flower or vegetable beds (city will fine me otherwise). I have other items planted in these beds. When can I cut them back so that more sunlight will be available to the other plants in those beds and at the same time not affect the last Monarchs to use them? I have many at different stages. Are the monarchs done with them when they go to seed?

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

It takes about a month for an egg to turn into a butterfly so they can continue to lay eggs that would still be ok but it is getting toward the end of the time for the plants to feed caterpillars. Once it is close to the time when the plants will freeze it isn't possible complete the process. The caterpillars eat the milkweed and the butterflies drink nectar from all flowers not just the milkweed. You could thin out some of the plants if they have taken over spaces. You can also clip the seed pods off so that the seeds can't blow over to another yard. Here is a link that explains the life of the monarch. https://www.saveourmonarchs.org/how-to-raise-monarch-butterflies-at-home.html