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How to Create Habitat for Monarchs
(Back to Monarch Habitat Projects)

 

Plant a Butterfly Garden for Monarchs

 

  • Best Butterfly Gardening Web Sites
    Butterfly gardens are easy to plant, and you can design one that gives monarchs habitat throughout their breeding cycle. As with all butterflies, you should grow plants that will:
  • Host the eggs and feed the larvae ("caterpillar plants") and/or
  • Provide nectar to adult butterflies ("nectar plants").

Host Plants

Milkweed is the monarch's larval plant. It is the host for egg-laying and the food for the larvae. Here are a few milkweed species you may be able to plant in your region:

  • Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
  • Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa)
  • Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
  • Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Nectar Plants

Adult monarchs will be attracted to gardens that provide nectar for them. Be sure to choose varieties of flowers that have early and late blooming times, so that nectar sources will be available throughout the season. Here are some favorite nectaring plants.

  • Purple coneflower
  • Sedum such as "Autumn Joy"
  • Joe-Pye Weed
  • Rough Blazing Star
  • Butterfly Weed
  • Azaleas
  • Monarda
  • Phlox
  • Remember: Avoid using chemical insecticides and fertilizers on your plants. They may harm the butterflies.

Naturally Native
One of the best things you can do for your garden (and for monarchs) is to plant a garden using native (indigeneous) plants that are appropriate for your area. Once established, native plants do not need fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides or watering. They benefit the environment and reduce maintenance costs. Contact your local garden center and/or extension office for more information or check out the links below:

Talk To The Locals
Your local garden center or county extension service may have particular suggestions for good nectar plants for your area, so be sure to contact them too.

Don't Forget the Water!

A source of water for butterflies can also be a good idea, but it is important to provide the butterflies with a safe landing place to drink from. Common drinking spots for butterflies are moist sand or mud.

 

 

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