|Male monarch on Asclepias subverticillata - Grand Canyon|
|Male Monarch in Flagstaff|
|Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa, Flagstaff|
Over this past weekend the first monarchs were reported in Skull Valley, Sierra Vista and Canelo. It's an exciting time to see where they appear and set up breeding grounds. It will be at least another month before monarchs move into the lower desert. But you still have time to get ready for their arrival while you are waiting. Here are a few ways to prepare your garden:
|Female monarch on Tithonia|
- Our summer monsoon rains are blessing our land with much needed rain, but if you live in an area skipped by the storms do add supplemental water to your milkweed and nectar plants. This will help spur new growth.
- It's not too late to plant a crop of zinnias, cosmos or sunflowers. Our warm soils and rain will help them grow fast and you'll have a nectar banquet ready.
- If you are growing Tropical Milkweed, Asclepias curassavica, they probably are not looking very good right now. Cut the stems back at least a third and lightly fertilize to spur new growth. Monarchs will find the new growth especially inviting to lay eggs on as they sweep through in early September. Be sure to use only half the amount of recommended fertilizer in our summer heat to prevent burning. Liquid amendments are preferable to granular this time of year. Be sure to water deeply before you fertilize and again afterwards. Native milkweeds do not usually need this care.