Milkweed is the only food source for monarch caterpillars. Often considered a “weed” it does have beautiful scented flowers that bees adore too! We planted some in our butterfly/pollinator garden area and have enjoyed it. Monarchs are now on the endangered species list so increasing the population of this important plant is crucial.
Planting milkweed or allowing it to grow in your garden areas is one simple way to help this beautiful creature. A word of caution is Milkweed does NOT require irrigation once established. Now that we have a drip line it went a little crazy and I had to pull some out to keep it from choking out other flowers. You can plant it in non-irrigated areas with best practice to water seedlings and young plants till established if possible. I also collect the seed pods before they burst open and spread all their lovely silky weeds everywhere. This helps to control spread in areas you don’t want and then you can share seeds with others!
I collected just a few seeds from an open space here in Windsor a few years ago. Along the Poudre Trail there are large groves of the plants so you can easily grab a few seeds from a pod without taking too many or the whole pod.