Sarina Dellinger: Monarch butterfly release and supporting butterflies all year long

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 2, 2023

By Sarina Dellinger
For the Salisbury Post

We’re excited to host our annual Monarch Butterfly Release on Sunday, Oct. 1, at 2 p.m. at Hurley Park in the Annex section located at the intersection of Lake Drive and Annandale Avenue. All-a-Flutter Farms will present a hands-on educational program about monarchs and release 50 butterflies to migrate back to Mexico for the winter. Hurley Park board members will give away seed packets, help kids create monarch masks and host a photo booth.

If you’re lucky enough to host a patch of milkweed (Asclepias spp.) you may encounter the caterpillars of the monarch feeding on it. Milkweed is the only host plant for the monarchs, meaning this is the only plant that adult butterflies lay eggs on and that the caterpillars feed on. Looking more broadly, North Carolina is home to more than 175 species of butterflies which all have hungry caterpillars that feed on native plants, too. The plants that caterpillars feed on are often referred to as host plants. These host plants can range from the tallest of tulip poplars (Liriodendron tulipifera) to the smallest of perennials such as violets (Viola spp.). Native grasses are important host plants to various skippers and satyrs, smaller species of butterflies. To ensure you see the fluttering of colorful wings through your landscape it’s indispensable to incorporate a variety of native plants.

There are endless plant selections to choose from when adding or encouraging native plants in your landscape. However, something important to consider when adding plants is bloom time. Incorporating a variety of plants that provide blooms during the spring, summer and fall will create an enticing habitat for butterflies (and other pollinators) to stick around all season long. Another way to support monarchs and butterflies as a whole is to refrain from using insecticides. Chemicals that kill insect pests also kill butterflies and beneficial insects. For more ideas and strategies for planning a butterfly-friendly landscape the book, “Pollinator Gardening for the South,” is a great place to start.

Hope to see you fluttering by the park this fall! If you have questions about Hurley Park or how to book an event, please give us a call at 704-638-5298. Stay up to date with what’s happening at Hurley Park by following us on Facebook or Instagram @HurleyParkNC. To view a map or donate to Hurley Park, visit our website at

Sarina Dellinger is public gardens manager for Salisbury Parks and Recreation.

About Post Lifestyles

Visit us on Facebook: and Twitter @postlifestlyes for more content

email author More by Post