Planting and Maintaining a Garden
Monarch Joint Venture provides great information about gardening for monarchs. Their Schoolyard Gardens flyer is especially helpful for those developing a butterfly garden with students or a youth group, and the Gardening for Monarchs has great information about planting and maintaining a garden for monarchs and other butterflies and pollinators. Here is a brief summary of the document:
- Choose a sunny location.
- Include windbreaks, such as a fence, shrub, or wall.
- Test your soil to make sure it is adequate for planting.
- Prepare soil by removing lawn or other plant cover and raking.
- If space is limited, consider planting in pots or containers.
- Milkweed is a necessity for monarchs, so plant milkweed!
- Include a variety of different blooming species so that nectar is available throughout the growing season.
- Use native plants whenever possible.
- Water plants initially, until they are well established. You may also want to water in drought conditions.
- Avoid using herbicides or insecticides to get rid of unwanted plants or insects. Weed by hand as needed.
Minnesota Specific Recommendations
|Cornus sericea 'Isanti' Red-osier Dogwood||Larval food source: spring azure, polyphemus moth|
|Salix purpurea 'Nana' Arctic Blue Willow||Larval food source: mourning cloak, viceroy, red-spotted purple, Sylvan hairstreak|
|Vaccinium 'Northblue' Blueberry||Adult nectar source|
|Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)||Adult nectar source|
|Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)||Adult nectar source, larval food source: monarchs|
|Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)||Adult nectar source, larval food source: monarchs|
|Whorled milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)||Adult nectar source, larval food source: monarchs|
|Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)||Adult nectar source, larval food source: monarchs|
|Bachelor's button (Centaurea montana)||Adult nectar source|
|Turtle head (Chelone glabra)||Adult nectar source, larval food source: Baltimore checkerspot|
|Thread leaf (Coreopsis verticillata)||Adult nectar source|
|Globe thistle (Echnops spp.)||Adult nectar source|
|Purple coneflower (Echinacea)||Adult nectar source|
|Joe-Pye weed (Eupatorium spp.)||Adult nectar source|
|Blanket flower (Gaillardia grandiflora)||Adult nectar source|
|Karl Foerster grass (Calamagrostis acutiflora)||Larval food source: blazing star skipper|
|False sunflower (Heliopsis)||Adult nectar source|
|Meadow blazing star (Liatris ligulistylus)||Adult nectar source|
|Black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia fulgida)||Adult nectar source|
|Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)||Adult nectar source|
|Fall phlox (Phlox paniculata)||Adult nectar source|
|Aster (Aster spp.)||Adult nectar source|
|Bee Balm (Monarda spp.)||Adult nectar source|
|Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis)||Adult nectar source, larval food source: Baltimore checkerspot|
|Hollyhock (Mallow spp.)||Adult nectar source, larval food source: common hairstreak, painted lady, gray hairstreak|
|Heliotrope (Heliotropum arborescens)||Adult nectar source, larval food source: common buckeye|
|Parsley||Larval food source: black swallowtail|
|Fennel||Larval food source: black swallowtail|
|Violets||Adult nectar source, larval food source: great spangled and Idalia fritillary|
|Snapdragons||Adult nectar source, larval food source: buckeye|