The Twelve Days of a Green Christmas – Fifth Day

milkweed-plant

…on the fifth day of Christmas my green friend gave to me…five milkweed plants…four smart bulbs…three Amazon Echos…two Ecobees…and a live Christmas tree!

A couple years ago my green friend gave me 2 milkweed plants which the monarch butterflies loved and laid a multitude of eggs!  Unfortunately after a couple hurricanes this past year and flooding waters with all kinds of unhealthy ingredients I lost all my milkweed plants..

Although not native to Florida, the Asclepias curassavica plant, aka milkweed or butterfly plant, is a favorite nectar source for monarch butterflies and an important food source for their caterpillars.  Milkweed plants are self-sowing so with these 5 milkweed plants I should be well on my way to a creating a new butterfly garden while also helping to reverse the decline of the monarch butterfly population!

milkweed-plant
Milkweed Plant
Photo: Stan Shebs

So why the declining butterfly population you wonder? With stronger and more toxic chemicals added to pesticides/lawn fertilizers milkweed fields have been disappearing from our landscapes, most importantly in the Midwest. As agricultural cornfield areas have increased their use of GM (genetically modified) corn seeds and herbicides to intentionally kill milkweed plants the monarch population has dramatically decreased  Also, too many homeowners believe the milkweed plant to be a nuisance “weed” and do not want it in their manicured landscapes so the lawn services rid their yards of these beneficial plants. Other thoughts on the declining population include climate change, increased use of genetically modified plant seeds/plants use and illegal logging and deforestation in Mexico.

According to the data from the WWF (World Wildlife Foundation)-Telcel Alliance and Mexico’s National Commission for Protected Areas the number of butterflies hibernating in Mexico was at an all-time low in 2013.  At a 44% drop from the 2012 migrating season (November-March) only 1.65 acres of forest were inhabited in December, 2013! This is the lowest since the surveys began in 1993.

Monarch Butterfly
Photo: Wikipedia

Monarch butterflies are not only valuable for aesthetic reasons but butterflies and moths are also valuable indicators of our environmental health and a healthy ecosystem! They are an important element in the food chain and are prey for birds, bats and other insectivorous animals. 

My green friend knows I love butterflies and am concerned about the declining population of monarch butterflies so 5 milkweed plants will be a great addition to my front and backyards!  Have you planted any milkweed plants or do you plan to plant some in 2018?  Please share your story in the comments area below.

If this is the first post you have read of my Twelve Days of a Green Christmas and you can’t figure out what the heck I am writing about or why I’m writing about the Twelve Days after Christmas click here to read how this all began. Thank you for reading my rendition of the Fifth Day of Christmas and I hope you join me tomorrow for the Sixth Day of a Green Christmas!

 

 

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