Creating a Monarch Butterfly Garden

The number of monarch butterflies have significantly reduced over the years. Their habitat has been destroyed by chemicals and man. Here are some ways to attract these beauties to your garden.
Monarch Butterfly
Plant milkweed (Asclepias sp.) native to your area.
Asclepias tuberosa is a native perennial in zones 3-9. It blooms from June to August and gets about 2 ft. tall.
Monarch caterpillar on milkweed leaf
Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed only. When the egg hatches, the caterpillar eats the milkweed and goes through several stages of growth.
monarch chrysalis
After about 10-14 days, they leave their milkweed home and make this unique chrysalis. During this time, the caterpillar is transforming into a butterfly.
It's almost my birthday!
The day before the butterfly emerges, the chrysalis becomes transparent.
And in one swift moment, the butterfly pushes out and begins it's new life as a butterfly.
Butterflies need nectar for food. Flowers such as zinnias, purple coneflower, and asters provide much needed energy to the butterfly to survive.
Aster's are a great fall blooming flower and provides late summer food/nectar for butterflies.
Zinnia's bloom all summer if you remove spent blooms and are loved by many pollinators.
Purple coneflower
Purple coneflowers or Echinacia purpura also bloom all summer and attract many different species of butterflies as well.

Nature is truly amazing. Plant some milkweed and bring these amazing monarchs to your own garden.
Natural State Flower Farm
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  2 questions
  • Maria Vilardi Maria Vilardi on Jul 25, 2017
    I live in Long Island NY. I haven't seen Monarch here. Are they here????

  • Maria Vilardi Maria Vilardi on Jul 25, 2017
    I have a big backyard and want to make a butterfly garden. Please advise what plants for my zone to attract the butterflies and feed them??? I no long live in Largo Florida. I moved to Long Island NY

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  • Beth Beth on Aug 09, 2017
    I have had 2 Monarchs this week visit my 20 year, and counting, Butterfly Garden. Consisting of a 6 foot Butterfly Bush, 10-29 Milkweed plants, multiple types of Coneflowers, Sunflowers, Asters, Salvia, Lupines, Morning Glories, Honeysuckle and a small water fountain. Loved by birds, bees and of course- Butterflies!!! Purchase perennials at the end of the season; dirt cheap and don't forget to plant right away because, 1st year they sleep, 2nd year they creep, and 3rd year they leap. Don't be afraid to relocate if they crowd you out...they love the attention and Enjoy!

  • Ene19230 Ene19230 on Aug 20, 2017
    We live in an area that is surrounded by prairie which means we have many wildflowers. We have milkweed that grows wild everywhere and I have to pull it to keep it under control. We also have Coneflower growing wild and I love it. Another wildflower I love is Queen Anne's Lace. All three of these attract Monarchs and other kinds of butterflies to our area.

    I have planted a butterfly garden as well. The flower that most attracts Monarchs in my area is Liatris, also known as Blazing Star. In a few weeks the blooms will all be open and the Monarchs will cover them.

    Equally attractive to butterflies is a water feature. We put in a waterfall last summer and the numbers of butterflies has increased also. You can put in a simple fountain or birdbath to attract also.

    • See 2 previous
    • Ene19230 Ene19230 on Aug 23, 2017
      The camera I had at the time these photos were taken wasn't the best and didn't do justice to these beautiful creatures. I now have a better camera so when my Liatris are in full bloom I can take some decent photos.