Monarch Butterfly Attracting Plants include varieties which feed the adults and the caterpillars, the larval form of butterflies. For any adult butterflies to be attracted to your garden, there must be food sources, water and shelter from wind and predators. Masses or drifts of brightly colored flowering plants with large flower surfaces will encourage the greatest number of butterfly visitors to linger in your gardens.
Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on species of Asclepias, commonly known as milkweed. The adults feed on the nectar of the plants and also lay their eggs on the stems. The eggs hatch into caterpillars and the eating begins! Milkweeds are vigorous growers once established, so the foliage will regrow after the caterpillars are done munching.
There are many varieties of perennial milkweed. Below are four that are hardy in our Prescott area:
Asclepias subverticillata, Horsetail Milkweed
Asclepias speciosa, Showy milkweed
Asclepias asperula, Antelope Horn Milkweed
Asclepias tuberosa, Butterfly Weed
While many brightly colored flowering plants will attract mature butterflies, a few species are especially favored.
Ericameria nauseosus, commonly known as Rubber Rabbit Brush, is the preferred nectar plant for mature Monarchs according to Cathy and Bob Gessner, representatives of SW Monarch Watch in the Prescott AZ area.
This plant is a drought tolerant, sun-loving evergreen shrub in the sunflower family. It has silvery-green foliage and prolific yellow blooms in late summer and fall. Native to the western US, it is slowly becoming known for its low maintenance and long blooming habit.
Buddleia davidii, appropriately known as Butterfly bush, is another butterfly magnet more commonly found in area gardens. These are large dense, drought tolerant, long blooming shrubs covered with large flower spikes throughout the summer. Different cultivars, or varieties, offer purple, red, pink, and yellow blossoms, all attractive to mature butterflies as a source of nectar.
If attracting Monarch Butterflies to your garden is your goal, then these are the plants to incorporate in your garden.
Contact us to learn where you can purchase and how to plant Monarch Butterfly Attracting Plants.