When planning / planting a butterfly or pollinator garden, especially a garden for monarchs, there are a few things to keep in mind!
Host plants. Planting native host plants is crucial for supporting larvae and caterpillar populations of your favorite butterfly species. Monarchs need milkweeds to complete their life cycle. There are milkweed species for all different growing conditions available, so you can turn a rain garden into a butterfly garden by adding marsh milkweed or plant butterfly milkweed in a dry sunny space. Plants in the sunflower family or everlasting are hosts to the American Lady butterfly, and common rue is a host to the Giant Skipper butterfly. A diversity of plants in a butterfly garden can lead to hosting a wide variety of butterfly species!
Nectar plants. While host plants are incredibly important for supporting future populations of pollinators, planting a variety of native nectar plants is also important! Providing many species of native nectar sources for pollinator populations will help ensure they have a food supply all season long. Make sure to include at least 3 species of flowering plants each part of the growing season (spring, summer, fall) at a minimum.
MNL’s pollinator seed mix contains over 20 species of flowering natives, including 4 varieties of milkweed to support Minnesota monarch populations. We also try to continuously have a supply of these as well as many of the monarch’s favorite nectar species, like meadow blazing star, in our greenhouse for our plant kits or native plug orders!