In Florida, we host migrating monarch butterflies in the spring and the fall. Most people are aware by now that monarchs feed primarily on milkweed plants. Our state has ample non-native milkweed plants, but non-native tropical milkweed may be causing monarch butterfly populations linger longer than they should during their migration. This presents a significant risk to the monarch populations by encouraging the populations to overwinter where they aren’t supposed to. Planting native milkweed species for our specific state (and even our specific part of the state) helps encourage a healthy population of monarchs.
Tampa, Florida Native Milkweed Species
When choosing a milkweed species to cultivate in South Florida, be sure to specify that you want a Florida native ecotype suitable for the Tampa area. It’s best to choose a Florida grower, though if the Florida nursery that you choose can’t verify the species by name and guarantee they are pesticide free (see below), buy your milkweed somewhere else.
Perhaps more preferably, you can shop for milkweeds species suitable for Tampa by name. If you can find them, the following are excellent milkweed species specifically for the Tampa area to help the monarch butterflies:
- Asclepias lanceolata, fewflower milkweed
- Asclepias longifolia, Florida milkweed
- Asclepias incarnata, swamp milkweed
- Asclepias tomentosa, velvet leaf milkweed
- Asclepias feayi, Florida milkweed
- Asclepias curtissii, Curtiss’ milkweed
- Asclepias pedicellata, savannah milkweed
- Asclepias verticillata, whorled milkweed
Florida nurseries often carry swamp milkweed (A. incarnata) aquatic milkweeds. Asclepias incarnata do thrive in our area, but only choose these species if your yard can support the wetness these species require.
WORD OF CAUTION: Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is widely available from Florida nurseries, but it’s considered to coarse for the monarch caterpillars to actually eat. Choose a better species to support the monarch butterflies.
Never Choose Treated Milkweed
A major threat to monarchs is that as milkweed grows in popularity, nurseries are carrying them. This sounds great in theory. Unfortunately, the horticultural industry regularly treats all their plants with systemic insecticides. They must not realize that the reason people demand milkweed isn’t for the pants’ beauty, but to save our monarchs. The insecticides create a serious threat to the survival of the monarch butterfly species. These insecticides can both kill the caterpillars and cause sterility in the butterfly eggs.
SHOP LOCAL: Citrus Park Landscape Nursery in Tampa sells native milkweed plants that are free of neonicotinoid and pesticides.
THINKING OF SELLING YOUR TAMPA BAY AREA HOME?
If you’re interested in selling a Tampa Bay area home, please contact us for more information about listing your home. Check out our helpful article describing the process and how to decide if it’s the right time to sell.
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Our experienced agents know the area and would love to find you the perfect home in the Tampa Bay or any of the surrounding areas. When you’re ready, call us at 813-961-6000, or contact us online. We handle real estate in Hillsborough County (the Tampa – St. Petersburg – Clearwater metropolitan area), real estate in Pasco County (Port Richey, New Port Richey, Dade City, Zephyrhills and San Antonio), and real estate in Pinellas County (Tampa – St. Petersburg metropolitan area.) We’ll help you find the right home for your needs!