Asked June 2, 2020, 2:30 PM EDT

Milkweed has sprung up in the two gardens around my front porch and in the adjacent garden (close to the house). Came in a couple/few years ago. By last summer is had completely taken over those three gardens and made it look ugly. I have been wanting to redesign the two gardens around my front porch making them a pretty landscape. I set out late in the season last summer hitting the leaves with chemicals to kill them (after soul searching about the monarchs). They of course are still around come this spring since I didn't get them all and the root system was probably very extensive last fall.

I began again this spring to hit them with the chemical, which will be an ongoing process for a while I am sure.

But I am still wrestling with the monarch issue. And I got a text from a dear friend who was really not trying to guilt me but did in fact hit home. "But what about the monarch, that's where they lay there eggs and the only thing they eat"

Please help steer me to the right thing to do.

Oakland County Michigan

1 Response

It sounds like you have common milkweed, Ascepias syriaca, which is too aggressive for small gardens, and can be a garden “thug”.

You can have a beautiful garden incorporating different milkweeds for monarchs. Choose Asclepias tuberosa, butterfly weed, and Asceplias exaltata, Poke milkweed, which are not as aggressive. Consider other areas that milkweed could be used. Surround milkweed with other plants that have different bloom times. Here are some other milkweed choices, which are not as aggressive as common milkweed.
By planting a variety of flowers, herbs, shrubs and trees you support a wide variety of wildlife including important pollinating insects, such as bees, other butterfly species and birds. They all need an assist in our urban landscapes.
Select some plants from these resources to use in your new garden beds-
Do what you can with a few selections for wildlife, and you can rest easy that you have done your part! Thank you for being so considerate of your environment.