Monarchs and milkweed. They go together like a horse and carriage! Why is milkweed so important for monarchs? The answer is, that milkweed is the only host plant where a female monarch will lay its eggs. Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweed. As such, milkweed is critical for the survival of this iconic butterfly species. Without milkweed, they cannot complete their life cycle, and their population declines.


When choosing to plant milkweed, you should always plant native species for your region. Native plants have formed symbiotic relationships with native wildlife over thousands of years and therefore offer the most sustainable habitat. A plant is considered native if it has occurred naturally in a particular region, ecosystem, or habitat without human introduction.


For Tennessee, we have fifteen native species of milkweed. Click on the links below for more information about each one of the native species of milkweed.