As Arizonans begin the fall planting season, the City of Phoenix’s Office of Environmental Programs encourages families and gardeners to plant native plants that help the monarch butterfly population. September is Planting For Monarchs Month.
The western population of the monarch butterfly has declined by more than 90% over the last 20 years. Researchers believe one of the primary causes is habitat loss. Because the butterflies migrate through the Phoenix each year from about September to May, milkweed and native nectar plants can help give them a food source and a place to lay eggs while they’re here.
“We want to make sure that we are helping to provide the migratory resources that this species needs to be able to complete its life cycle and its migration cycle,” said Environmental Programs Coordinator Tricia Balluff.
What can I do to help the monarch?
- Plant native milkweed such as desert (rush) milkweed or Arizona Milkweed.
- Plant native nectar plants such as pink fairyduster, desert lavender, blackfoot daisy, and desert marigold.
- Protect your monarch garden by avoiding the use of pesticides as much as possible
- Trim monarch plants when the flowers aren’t blooming.
“It can be any size of effort, from a potted plant on a balcony to a whole yard full of native nectar resources,” Balluff said.
Mayor Kate Gallego proclaimed September 2021 as ‘Planting For Monarchs Month’ to raise awareness for the need for more milkweed and nectar in the area. The City of Phoenix also made the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayor’s Monarch Pledge. This pledge commits the city to take action to support the monarch butterfly population.