A Monarch Butterfly on a Milkweed Plant

Let’s Make Tulsa a Monarch City

In three easy steps:

  1. Plant milkweed
  2. Eliminate pesticides and herbicides
  3. Create a Monarch Way Station

Monarch Butterflies are sharply declining in numbers. This (2014-2015) winter they covered only 1.65 acres of forests west of Mexico City. They covered 44.5 acres at their recorded peak in 1969. This year’s population is only 19% of the 20-year average.

Extensive research is underway to verify causes of the demise. Scientists point to changing agricultural practices and expansion of urban and suburban areas that have destroyed the habitat for milkweed, on which Monarchs lay their eggs.

Tulsa is an ideal location to help fight the decline because Northeastern Oklahoma is in one of three flyways for Monarchs.


What can I do to increase the Monarch population? Plant milkweed. Eliminate pesticides and herbicides. Create a Monarch Waystation. (Details at Monarchwatch.org.)

What species of milkweed should I plant? Oklahoma Natives. The perennials bloom from May to September, depending on the species. They die back in the winter and come up the next spring. (See below for suggestions.)

Should I plant Tropical (not native) milkweed? Tropical milkweed generally blooms later than natives. There is disagreement whether this prompts Monarchs to stay in an area too long. Some research is showing that if Monarchs do not finish their fall migration, they are more susceptible to disease. If growing Tropical milkweed, cut plants back by mid-September.

When should I sow seeds? Spring or Fall. Or, start seeds inside in mid-February for planting mid-April to mid-May.

Where should I plant? In an area that receives at least 6 hours of sun a day in clay, loamy or sandy soils. You may add peat, aged compost, or rotted leaves.

How many should I plant? A minimum of six plants; there is no upper limit. Plant 2-3 varieties.

Where can I get milkweed seeds or plants? If they are not available at local nurseries, follow the links at monarchbutterflygarden.net/milkweed-plant-seed- resources/ or look on eBay or Amazon.com. Verify that they are 100% pesticide free.

Do I need to plant other plants with milkweed? Yes. (See suggestions below)

[box] Go to Monarchwatch.org to certify your Monarch Waystation.
Your site will be listed in the International Monarch Waystation Registry.[/box]

Milkweed Native to Northeastern Oklahoma

  • Antelope-horn Milkweed, Green Antelope-horn Milkweed Asclepias virdis
  • Butterfly Milkweed, Butterfly Weed, Orange Milkweed Asclepias tuberosa.
  • Narrow-leaved Milkweed, Slim-leaf Milkweed Asclepias stenophylla

Some Supporting Nectar Plants

  • Indian Blanket
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Bee Balm
  • Butterfly Bush
  • Catmint/Catnip
  • Blazing
  • Star/Gayfeather
  • Joe Pye Weed
  • Black eyed-Susan
  • Coreopsis Scarlet
  • Sage Mexican
  • Sunflower Zinnia
  • Dahlia
  • Goldenrod
  • Hollyhock
  • Ironweed
  • Mallow
  • Phlox Sedum
  • Senna/Cassia
  • Violets
  • Chaste Tree
  • Butterfly bush
  • Lead Plant

Tropical Milkweed Popular in Tulsa

  • Tropical Milkweed Asclepias curassavica
  • Arizona Milkweed Asclepias arizonica

Learn more: monarchwatch.org

Let’s Make Tulsa a Monarch City
is supported by the Tulsa Garden Center, Oxley Nature Center, and Tulsa Botanic Garden.

The Truth About Grass

Grass in the Tulsa area is snatching away your free time, making your wallet thinner, and hurting the environment. Here’s why.

Tulsa is in a transitional zone for horticulture. That means that our area endures the extremes of both hot and cold weather. Our summers are too hot and humid for cool season grasses; our winters are too cold for warm season grasses.

We spend a lot of our personal time trying to have lush green grass from early spring to late fall. No matter how hard we try or how many chemicals we use, cool season grasses such as Fescue and Rye will not stay green in the heat of summer; warm season grasses such as Bermuda and Zoysia will not be green in fall and early spring.

Lawns control much of the time you could be spending on more pleasurable leisure activities such as swimming, hunting, fishing, or playing ball with the kids. And, don’t forget, lawns that emulate golf greens are not accomplished without a price in terms of labor, expense, and fertilizer.

In fact, the things that we put on grass to encourage its growth are often potent chemical allergens that affect our children and pets. Unfortunately, those chemicals are also pollutants that affect our water supplies as they make their way as storm water runoff into our lakes and streams.

As a monumental tip of the hat to our environment and as a way to regain your leisure time, join the 20% club. Reduce the size of your lawn by 20% this year and replace with plants that grow well in our area.

Your family, your pets, your neighbors, your wallet, and, definitely, the environment will thank you!

Linneaus Garden

The Linnaeus Teaching Garden is a demonstration/teaching garden in Woodward Park, staffed by well-trained volunteers who share their knowledge and love of gardening with the public.