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.