Blooming Allium in the Summer Sun

Butterfly Gardening – Building a Monarch’s Paradise

Consider BUTTERFLY ATTRACTING PLANTS for your gardens. Not only will they assist the Monarch in their life cycle and migration across the country, but will bring delight when your gardens are aflutter with beautiful butterflies!  Stop in to Blumen Gardens where we have a large selection of butterfly attracting perennials, annuals and shrubs.

Asclepias (milkweed) is the one perennial a gardener must have to complete a butterfly garden.

 Why?

Our display of Butterfly Attracting Plants in our Gift & Garden Shop.

Milkweed is the sole food a monarch butterfly eats, so in order to attract these flying beauties to your garden pencil a few into your garden design or manually open up space for a couple of these monarch magnets.  The monarch’s life cycle relies heavily on asclepias.  Butterflies will feed on the nectar and lay their eggs on the plant.  Then the caterpillars eat the leaves, make its chrysalis and later emerge as a butterfly – completing the cycle.

There are quite a few varieties of asclepias, the most popular being Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed) because of its stunning bright orange color.  Its grows 2-3 feet tall.  Asclepias tuberosa is native to Illinois and does extremely well in hot, dry locations – in fact preferring it. If you have more moist areas in your garden, give the subtle pink flowers of Asclepias incarnata a try.

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Pictured: Asclepias tuberosa (Host plant for Monarchs)

If you would like to help the dwindling monarch butterfly population, plant milkweed (host plant for laying eggs) and nectar plants that bloom throughout the growing season. Check out our butterfly plant display located near the pond in our Garden Center. There you will find varieties of Asclepias for host plants, as well as butterfly-attracting nectar plants like pink-flowered Liatris (Blazing Star), the yellow petals of Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan) or Hypericum (St John’s Wort), the white circular blooms of Eryngium yuccifolium (Rattlesnake Master), and more! This will help other native pollinators as well!

For a successful “Monarch Waystation”, plant at least 10 milkweed plants (host plant for laying eggs) and five or more nectar plants that bloom throughout the growing season. A truly effective Monarch Waystation should be full sun and at least 100 square feet.  There should be shelter for the butterflies and care needs to be taken to NOT use insecticides.  See monarchwatch.org as well for additional information.