Jasminum polyanthum is a handsome, subtropical vine with dark green leaves that provide a perfect backdrop for its January display of fragrant white flowers. The website says jasmine plants grow best in bright, indirect light and cool room temperatures. A nice alternative to the usual flowering holiday offerings.
Dawn Combs, of Charleston, is a monarch butterfly aficionado. She's writing a blog, found at www.wvmonarch.blogspot.com to share her knowledge, stories and photos. It's very well researched and the photos are beautiful.
Here's an excerpt from Dawn's blog, about planting monarch-attractive plants.
"If you plant Asclepias curassavica, they will come.
"Asclepias curassavica, or tropical milkweed, is a favorite plant of monarch caterpillars. Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on the plant. The caterpillars munch on the leaves, building up toxins in their bodies that makes them distasteful to predators. Asclepias tuberosa, or butterfly weed, is also a preferred plant of monarchs, although I have seldom seen a monarch caterpillar on A. tuberosa. In previous years, however, my A. curassavica plants were teeming with monarch caterpillars.
"An annual in West Virginia, tropical milkweed is a hardy, drought-resistant plant with attractive bloom clusters in colors ranging from yellow to red. In May 2010 I tried to find tropical milkweed at Charleston-area nurseries, but my efforts proved fruitless. Eager to create a monarch way station, I purchased the plants online from LiveMonarch[.com]. This year I ordered 30, with a goal of establishing enough plants to create a monarch way station habitat.
"I planted 20 milkweed plugs in mid-June and shared the rest with friends and neighbors. By August my butterfly garden had enough milkweed plants to sustain monarch caterpillars, thus qualifying my garden to be registered as a monarch way station through Monarch Watch. I spotted our first monarch caterpillar on Aug. 17."
Reach Sara Busse at sara.bu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.