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The monarch butterfly population is in decline due to a variety of causes: habitat destruction, insecticides and the planting of tropical milkweed in our gardens. Monarch caterpillars eat only milkweed and many well-meaning gardeners planted tropical milkweed. This variety of milkweed does not die back in the winter like native milkweeds and it carries a parasite, OE, that sickens adult monarchs and also disrupts migration patterns.

EACGC can help! We are pleased to announce that EACGC has been certified by Monarch Watch as a monarch way station. We are excited to be part of the movement to protect this beautiful species.

So far, the existing tropical milkweed in the garden has been cut back and will gradually be replaced with native milkweed varieties. We are also adding to the many nectar flowers in the garden that adult monarchs sip as they help pollinate your garden.

Grow California Native Milkweeds


What is California's native milkweed and why should we plant it? Native milkweeds are perennials with clusters of small (usually white or pink) flowers that grow in every eco-region of California. The native milkweeds are an important nectar source to a range of pollinators including bees, hummingbirds and butterflies. Native milkweeds go dormant during the winter and sprout anew during the spring.

Milkweed is especially well known for its importance to Monarch Butterflies, since they are the required host plant for monarch caterpillars. No milkweed means no monarchs. Land development and use of herbicides have dramatically reduced the presence of native milkweed by taking away the flatlands and meadow areas where the plant grows well. The monarch butterfly population has dramatically declined and the best way that gardeners can support the monarchs is by planting their necessary host plant - the milkweed - as well as other needed nectar plants and by avoiding the use of pesticides. 

The Xerces Society lists 15 different native milkweeds to California but recommends that Narrowleaf Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis) and Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) as the best species to plant due to their ability to grow in the widest range of conditions and the opportunity to buy them commercially. 


If I have tropical milkweed planted, what do you recommend?

Most experts agree that if you have tropical milkweed planted, you should cut it down to the ground as winter approaches in order to mimic the growth patterns of native milkweeds and allow a healthier regeneration of the plant in the Spring (maybe that can be your new Black Friday tradition, rather than store-busters!) More...
What are the Los Angeles County UC Master Gardeners doing to support the monarchs?

Los Angeles UC Master Gardener Martin Saiz collaborated with the native plant nursery at Rancho Sierra Vista to successfully request a major grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Fund (NFWF). The purpose of the grant is to address population declines and ensure the survival of the monarch butterfly. Over the next two years, the grant will fund gathering native milkweed seed from across the Santa Monica Mountains, propagating thousands of milkweed plants at the nursery, planting milkweed in 150 nearby acres, and establishing a network of milkweed way stations in 300 community, school, senior, and shelter gardens across Los Angeles County. 


The Perennial Garden is home to our Butterfly Garden which has been certified by Monarch Waystation Program as a monarch way station. Existing tropical milkweed has been cut back and is gradually being replaced with native milkweed varieties. We have also increased our nectar flowers in the garden that adult monarchs sip as they help pollinate the garden.

Our Perennial Garden and Monarch Waystation flower list follow below. List of Monarch Butterfly Native Plants

  • Aliums

  • Blanket Flower

  • Calendula

  • California Fuchsia

  • California poppy

  • Common Yarrow

  • Coneflower

  • Coneflower

  • Cosmos

  • Denver Gloriosa Daisy

  • Guara

  • Heliotrope Atlanta

  • Hooker’s Evening Primrose

  • Iris

  • Joe Pye Weed

  • Lantana

  • Lavender

  • Lupine

  • Maui Red Ixora

  • Mexican Sage

  • Mexican Sunflower

  • Milkweed, Narrowleaf

  • Milkweed, Showy

  • Milkweed, Tropical

  • Monkey Flower

  • Nasturtium

  • Nemesia

  • Penstemon

  • Salvia

  • Salvia Bright Eyes

  • Shasta Daisy

  • Sweet William

  • Zinnia