5 Plants to Attract and Help Monarch Butterflies

5 Plants to Attract and Help Monarch Butterflies

Monarch butterflies are one of the most beloved of the butterfly species. With a flutter of orange, black, and white, these beautiful winged creatures are a summertime symbol. 

But sadly, Monarchs have declined 85% in two decades. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, Monarch migrating populations are less than half the size needed to avoid extinction.

You can help! Check out five American Beauties Native Plants® to attract Monarchs and ensure they have the food they need to thrive. 

1. Butterfly Milkweed

Butterfly Milkweed

No Monarch plant list would be complete without the Butterfly Milkweed. This perennial blooms bright orange to yellow-orange flowers. The fragrant flowers (a nectar source) attract Monarch adults. The foliage is an essential food for Monarch butterfly caterpillars.

The plant’s mere presence in your landscape guarantees landscape color thanks to its bright flowers and pollinator visitors. Even the birds love this plant for its seed fluff that provides nesting material!

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2. Ruby Star Coneflower

Ruby Star Coneflower

Outstanding colorful blooms make this coneflower a Monarch favorite for sipping nectar! The selection boasts daisy-like deep pink flowers with greenish center cones shaded orange, producing a season of color from June through August.

Other native pollinators and butterflies love this plant. Native songbirds enjoy the seed from spent flowers and use dried stems for nesting. It’s also deer-resistant. The Ruby Star Coneflower is essential for any native, pollinator-friendly garden.

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3. Alice Oakleaf Hydrangea

Alice Oakleaf Hydrangea

The Alice Oakleaf Hydrangea’s beautiful blooms attract Monarchs and many other native pollinators. The big, coarse, oak-like, deep green foliage serves as the backdrop for huge towers of small white flowers that form at the end of stems in early August. 

This hydrangea is easy to grow and perfect for massing in a partially shaded location to form a barrier planting. Native songbirds love the cover and nesting this plant provides.

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4. Prairie Splendor Coneflower

Prairie Splendor Coneflower

Another lovely coneflower, this plant boasts daisy-like pink flowers with greenish center cones shaded orange, producing a season of color from June through August. Monarch butterflies and other pollinators are attracted to its pink blooms. 

Strong flower stems mean this heavy bloomer easily holds its bloom above the foliage without flopping. It’s perfect for massing to create a wave of summer color in the middle to back of any sunny garden. Along with attracting hummingbirds, birds such as bluejays, cardinals, and goldfinches love the seeds from spent flowers and use dried stems for nesting.

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5. Northland Blueberry

Northern Blueberry

Like us, Monarchs and other butterflies enjoy fruits and berries as a food source. ‘Northland’ is one of the hardiest highbush blueberries available. It also produces the most compact, yielding loads of fruit on a dense, rounded bush. Their great landscape looks, and delicious fruit makes this plant an essential part of any living landscape. 

‘Northland's' May blooming flowers are a great source of early-season nectar for other native bees and butterflies. Its summer fruit is a songbird magnet, so much so that you might find it hard to get any yourself! 

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Turn your garden into a Monarch haven

Along with these plants, here are more ways to grow a practical space for Monarch butterflies:

  • Create a one hundred square foot garden (10'x10') to support Monarchs. 
  • Choose a sunny, protected location. Find a spot that enjoys six hours or more of full sun a day. Also, ensure that the location is protected from the wind. 
  • Select a mixture of plants that offer food for caterpillars and nectar for adult butterflies. Also, choose native plants that help support an entire ecosystem.
  • Avoid using environmentally harmful chemicals, such as mosquito sprays or other pesticides. These sprays can inadvertently harm caterpillars and butterflies. 
Shop all plants in our American Beauties Native Plants® Collection here.
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