Where to Plant Milkweed in California
The red outline on the map below is a no-milkweed 5-mile buffer from the California Coast north of Santa Barbara. We do not recommend planting milkweed within this area for the following reasons:
-Historical records indicate that milkweed was very rare on the California Coast.
-Planting milkweed near monarch overwintering sites (generally within 5 miles of the coast) can disrupt the migratory behavior of monarchs. Non-native milkweeds are especially problematic in this region because they grow year-round and lead to higher levels of disease in monarchs (learn more here).
To see if you are in a area where it is safe to plant native milkweed, enter your address in the search bar in the upper right of the map and zoom in. If you fall within the red area, don’t plant milkweed. If you are outside of the red area, determine which species of native milkweed is most appropriate for your area, use the milkweed seed finder to locate plants or seeds, and get to planting!
If you are in the red no-milkweed zone, instead consider planting nectar-rich flowering plants for monarchs (use this nectar plant guide for California) and participate in community science projects to help us better understand the western monarch population.
Find additional resources for managing habitat for monarchs in California here.
Learn how to improve habitat for all pollinators in California by consulting the Xerces Pollinator Conservation Resource Center.