DVC Plant Sales Give Gardeners An Opportunity to Help Boost Monarch Butterfly Population


DVC Plant Sale Flyer

Jenny Orme, Staff

The horticulture department at Diablo Valley College will host three more plant sales before the end of the Spring semester.

Sold out in last week’s sale, the Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) is an important California native plant vital to maintaining the Monarch butterfly population, which is in precipitous decline. This week features another milkweed plant –  Brazilian Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica). 

“Planting milkweeds provide particularly beneficial food sources and should be in every garden,” said professor Bethallyn Black, chair of the horticulture department.

The Western Monarch butterfly winters in eucalyptus trees along the Pacific coast around Monterey and migrates north in the spring. It lays its eggs on the milkweed plant, which is the only source of food for the Monarch caterpillar.

Real estate development and agriculture are the main causes of pollinator habitat loss in North America. In recent years, the number of milkweed plants available to the Monarchs is decreasing at an accelerated rate.

This week’s plant sale inventory also includes edible plants for summer harvesting, such as melons, squash, cucumbers and the rare Aleppo Halaby pepper. The horticulture department obtained the seeds from Syria many years ago and have kept the strain going.

“It’s one of my personal favorites,” said Black.

The remaining plant sales will happen on April 24, May 1 and May 8. The public is invited to make orders online at the DVC Horticulture website on the Monday preceding each sale. On the following Saturday, professors Black and Michelle Eyestone will be on hand to meet customers and have orders ready to pick up at the end of Parking Lot 9.