Cape Ann Milkweed Project

Monarch Butterfly Monarch Butterfly Emerging from Chryslais ©Kim Smith 2011

Monarch Butterfly Emerging from Chrysalis

Order Your Milkweed Plants Today!

In March I shared an article about bringing back the Monarch Butterflies. Great interest in planting milkweed was expressed by many. The way to bring as many Monarchs as possible to our region is to help recreate the butterfly’s habitat in our own gardens. The number one way to do this is by planting native wildflowers, milkweed for the summer caterpillars, and asters and goldenrod for the fall migrants. Number two is to make a commitment not to use pesticides, which will indiscriminately kill all the creatures that your milkweed plants invite to your garden.

Monarch Butterfly Eggs Common Milkweed ©Kim Smith

Monarch Eggs on Common Milkweed ~ see the tiny yellow pinhead-sized dots on the top of the upper leaves of the milkweed plants (click to view larger)

Milkweed is the only food plant of the Monarch caterpillar and the flower is a fantastic source of nectar for myriad species of bees and butterflies.

So many GMG readers wrote in requesting milkweed plants that Joey has very generously offered his place of business—Captain Joe and Sons—as our go-to-place for picking up plants!! It’s going to be a super fun morning–stop by with your coffee, visit, learn about milkweed and Monarchs, and pick up your order.

Please place your order today or tomorrow. I am not pre-collecting the money and am fronting the funds to purchase plants. I don’t want to have dozens of homeless plants, so I am asking everyone to please be on the honor system.

We are ordering two types of milkweed. The cost is 7.00 per plant, which will come in a 3.5 inch square pot. The plants are on the smallish side however, that is the ideal size for shipping and transplanting milkweed. I am writing instructions for planting and they will be provided at the time of purchase.

Monarch Caterpillars Common Milkweed ©Kim Smith 2011

Monarch Caterpillars J-Shape on Common Milkweed Getting Ready to Turn into a Chrysalis

Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is the milkweed we see most typically growing in our dunes, meadows, roadsides, and fields. It grows quickly and spreads vigorously by underground runners. This is a great plant if you have an area of your garden that you want to devote entirely to milkweed. It prefers full sun, will tolerate some shade, and will grow in nearly any type of soil. The flowers are dusty mauve pink and have a wonderful honey-hay sweet scent.

Marsh Milkweed (Aclepias incarnata) is more commonly found in marshy areas, but it grows beautifully in gardens. It does not care for dry conditions. These plants are very well-behaved and are more clump forming, rather than spreading by underground roots. The flowers are typically a brighter pink than Common Milkweed.

Monarch Butterfly Emerging from Chryslais ©Kim Smith 2011.JPG

Monarchs deposit their eggs readily on both types of milkweed and in my garden I grow Common Milweed and Marsh Milkweed side-by-side.

The cost of the plants includes shipping from Missouri. Hopefully everyone will be good and if they place an order, will honor their commitment. If there is any money beyond what was spent on plants and shipping we will donate it to the ongoing fundraising drive for the Rocky Neck Cultural Center purchase of the beautiful center on Wonson Street.

Plant pick-up is at Captain Joe and Sons, 95 East Main Street, Gloucester, on Saturday, May 18th from 9:00am to 12noon. If you cannot pick up your plants at that time, please ask a friend.

My order to the nursery is being placed on Tuesday night, so please get your orders in asap. Place Your Milkweed Order in the comment section of this post. Be sure to indicate which type of milkweed, Common or Marsh, and number of plants.

Our deepest thanks to everyone who is participating. 

Monarch Butterfiles Female left Male right Milkweed ©Kim Smith 2012

Female and Male Monarch Butterfly on Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

Rain date pick up: Sunday, May 19th from 9am to 12noon.

73 thoughts on “Cape Ann Milkweed Project

  1. How large an area? You can plant milkweed plants fairly far apart because they grow so vigorously. If the area is around 5 feet by 5 feet, I would say 5-8 plants will get you started. In the fall you can allow the patch to go to seed, which is another method in which milkweed spreads.


    1. No Donna, I do not have your order. If anyone ordered in the post last month, i am requesting that they restate their order here in the comment section to make it official, as i did not know the the price or the varieties available at the time of writing the initial post. Hope that is clear!


  2. Hi Kim, 3 marsh and 3 common please! I’m so glad you’re doing this. i tried to “seed” our field and they didnt take. See you May 18th .Lauren


  3. It’s Sarah Swart again, a friend would also like 2 marsh milkweed plants, so please put me down for FOUR (two already on order, now another two). Thanks!


  4. Hi Kim
    Earlier this morning I ordered 4 but did not specify the type.
    We live on the beach, not marsh. Which one is better for sandy soil? Last year one plant appeared on it’s own but it didn’t survive the winter.
    I’d like to change to 6 plants please! Whatever you recommend.


  5. Hi Kim,
    I am hoping that you got my order for two of marsh and two of common type milkweed. Please check if you already have it. Thanks for making these available.
    Sandy Shaw


  6. Hi Kim – Would the marsh milkweed tolerate 1/2 day sun ? Thank you so much for doing this – I have been wanting to have milkweed plants in my butterfly garden for years!


  7. Please, I’ll take two of the marsh milkweeds. Just saw the IMAX about the Monarchs at the Smithsonian in Washington DC


  8. I would like to order 4 common milkweed and 4 marsh milkweed. I have a lot of space.
    However I may not be able to be there on the 18th and may have to send a friend.


  9. Hello again, Kim – Just want to make sure you got my order (of yesterday)
    for 3 of each. Thanks again, Isabel


  10. I’m going to do this in Woodmont, CT and with the Urban Roots Bridgeport Community Gardens. (please like us on FB) We are all coastal communities that’s fun. Thanks for this inspirational simple idea. I have a yard full of them. I’ll have enough for the community gardens. I’ll need to order some for Woodmont. Thanks again!


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