One Step at a Time

In July 2014, I accepted a position with Peace Corps Response as a volunteer in El Salvador working at a butterfly exhibit as an Educational Butterfly Farm Management Specialist. My job was to train a few people to cultivate butterflies and to maintain a healthy habitat for them inside the exhibit.

The map of El Salvador showing the Departamento de Morazán where I served as a Peace Corps Response volunteer.

El Salvador is still recuperating from a devastating civil war that wracked the country from 1980 to 1992, leaving at least 75,000 people dead and tens of thousands more displaced. The site where I served as a volunteer, Segundo Montes, is a community made up of five towns in the eastern department of Morazán. Segundo Montes was formed in 1990 by repatriated refugees who’d fled the country’s civil war. After nearly a decade in refugee camps in Honduras, residents returned en masse 28 years ago to reclaim their livelihoods and dignity.

There is a concerted effort to develop tourism along the Ruta de Paz (Peace Highway) from Morazán’s capital of San Francisco Gotera to El Salvador’s border with Honduras, along Highway 7. The butterfly zoo is strategically located along this route and is well-positioned to attract the attention of vacationers headed to the cool air and brilliant sunshine of Perquín, eight miles farther north.

Teaching visitors about butterflies inside the “Mariposario” butterfly exhibit.

Within a few days of arriving at the site, I, along with my local counterpart and a couple of youth volunteers were driven up the mountainous Ruta de Paz to a small town called Arambala. We were tossed about inside the jeep as we traveled over a rough road to an area where the tiny village of El Mozote once stood. El Mozote is famous today because a beautiful memorial stands in its place to honor the 1,000 civilians, mostly women, children, and elderly men, who were massacred during the civil war.

The Mazote memorial features Christ, speaking John 14:27 as recorded in the New Testament, surrounded by martyrs such as Gandhi, Bishop Romero, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

We climbed out of the jeep with our butterfly nets and backpacks. A small frail-looking granjero (farmer), wearing a worn straw cowboy hat with a machete hung on his belt, met us and proceeded to escort us down a quebrada–a ravine–where apparently we would be able to find some butterflies to capture and place in the butterfly exhibit. We were particularly looking for Blue Morpho butterflies and Malachite butterflies because they are rather colorful with their blues and greens.

The Jeep brought us to the top of a mountain in search of butterflies.

I kept slipping and sliding as I tried to navigate down the steep and narrow path. The anciano (elderly man) seemed not to have as much difficulty as I negotiating the trail, so I figured if he could manage, I could too. As I laboriously climbed down through the thick vegetation, I realized I was eventually going to have to climb back up. I had been living in Florida for most of my adult life and had not climbed a mountain in years! How was I going to manage? My knees were already aching. The farther we descended down the mountain, the more worried I became. I could not imagine myself being able to hike back to the vehicle. I was so worried that I could not enjoy the beautiful lush scenery.

Thick vegetation surrounded our path down the hill.

Eventually, we came to an area that opened up and leveled out where an abandoned and dilapidated adobe farmhouse stood. The surrounding area was thick with large mango trees, banana trees, and old citrus trees. I was relieved not to have to negotiate the steep trail, but now I kept fumbling as I tried to walk through the overgrown garden.

Trying to catch butterflies with a net in the thick vegetation.

As I staggered through the vegetation I was elated when I saw several butterflies flying overhead. Vladimir Nabakov, the author of Lolita, once said, “The highest enjoyment of timelessness is when I stand among rare butterflies and their food plants. This is ecstasy, and behind the ecstasy is something else, which is hard to explain. It is like a momentary vacuum into which rushes all that I love.” I, like Nabokov, was caught up in that timeless ecstasy as I surveyed my surroundings and looked upon all the beautiful butterflies. I completely forgot about the anticipated climb back to the vehicle.

Many butterflies tend to fly very fast and erratically as a defense against predators such as birds, so they can be quite challenging to catch with a net. It’s easier to catch a butterfly when it stops to nectar on a flower. Some butterflies, such as the Blue Morphos and Malachites, do not stop to nectar on flowers. Instead, they feed on fruit.

The Malachite (Siproeta stelenes) is named for the mineral malachite, which is similar in color to the bright green on the butterfly’s wings. Typically, the wingspread is between 8.5 and 10 cm (3.3 and 3.9 in). The Malachite is found throughout Central and northern South America, where it is one of the most common butterfly species.

I carefully plodded through the thick undergrowth towards some flowers by a tree, hoping to catch some butterflies. I did not see that there were Malachite butterflies feeding on the fallen mangoes beneath my feet until they all fluttered to escape my intrusion. I was encircled in a cloud of emerald-green jewels. It was magical! I began to giggle with sheer delight. Distracted, I failed to catch a single one of those butterflies with my net.

I began to wonder if these butterflies represented those precious children who were massacred years ago. Many indigenous Central American peoples believe that butterflies are the souls of their dead ancestors. For example, in Mexico, the natives in Michoacán State believe that the Monarch butterflies that return to their homeland mountains every year around the Day of the Dead celebrations in early November are their ancestors returning to visit them. Did the souls of these Salvadorian children return to their homeland as butterflies?

This statue represents the children who lost their lives.

 

My compadres and I did manage to catch many butterflies that day. We protected them in envelopes nested in small boxes inside our backpacks. Once we had enough butterflies, we began our trek back up the mountain, which, as I anticipated, was even more challenging than the hike down. Again the weathered old man led the way. I was huffing and puffing and working up quite a sweat, trying to keep up.

After a while, he turned around to encourage me and said, “Slow and easy, one step at a time. You will make it. We do not need to hurry.” He then began to tell me his story. He was living with his wife and thirteen children in   that abandoned farmhouse when the civil war started. After the massacre at El Mozote, he realized he needed to escape, along with others, to a refugee camp in Honduras to protect his family. With just a few clothes and possessions, leaving their home and farm behind, they began the long arduous journey through the mountains to Honduras. I could imagine him leading the way and stopping every now and then and turning around to his children and saying, “Slow and easy, one step at a time. You will make it. We do not need to hurry.”

Painting depicting families treking back from Honduras to Segundo Montes, Morazán, in El Salvador.

 

I did survive the trek up the ravine thanks to the old man’s reassuring words of encouragement and his persistent example. We stopped by the memorial at El Mozote. The memorial stands on top of a hill surrounded by lush green fields and beautiful mountains. Statues of Martin Luther King, Jr.; Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II, and Mohandas Gandhi were all represented. I felt privileged not only to be surrounded by great leaders who taught me how to overcome adversity but proud to be standing next to an old Salvadorian farmer who taught me that day how to climb a mountain.

Just as a caterpillar transforms itself into a butterfly, that day I was transformed into a different person by eliminating my self-doubts and overcoming my own personal adversity.

The Language of Butterflies: How Thieves, Hoarders, Scientists, and Other Obsessives Unlocked the Secrets of the World’s Favorite Insect Hardcover – 
by Wendy Williams https://amzn.to/31d6kdd

 

Online Vendors of Native Milkweeds

Finding native milkweed plants to purchase locally can be a challenge. But there are several online vendors who sell many varieties of milkweed. I have listed them below in alphabetical order.

Amazon not only sells Milkweed seeds, but also offers plants. https://amzn.to/3fQI7Pq

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

American Meadows ships the following plants in the fall:

Ice Ballet Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
‘Soulmate’ Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
‘Hello Yellow’ Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Narrow Leaved Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis)
Davis’ Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa)
Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa)
‘Virginia Silk’ Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

Butterfly Gardens to Go by Michigan Native Butterfly Farm sells the following variety of milkweed plants:

Tall Green Milkweed (Asclepias hirtella)
Ice Ballet Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
‘Cinderella’ Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnataa)
Aquatic Milkweed (Asclepias perennis)
Purple Milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens)
Sullivant’s Milkweed (Asclepias sullivantii)
Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa)
Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
Butterfly Weed (Asclpias tuberosa)
Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)
Short Green Milkweed (Asclepias viridiflora)
Spider Milkweed (Asclepias viridis)
Poke Milkweed (Asclepias exaltata)

‘Cinderella’ Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
‘Ice Ballet’ Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

High Country Gardens ships the following plants in the fall:

Ice Ballet Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
‘Soulmate’ Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
‘Hello Yellow’ Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
Showy Pink Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa)
Rose Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
California Narrow Leaf Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis)

Antelope Horn Milkweed (Asclepias asperula)
Butterfly Weed Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
Heart-Leaf Milkweed (Asclepias cordifolia)
Green Milkweed, Spider Milkweed (Asclepias viridis)
Indian, Woolly-Pod Milkweed (Asclepias eriocarpa)
Narrowleaf Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis)
Poke, or Tall Milkweed (Asclepias exaltata)
Prairie Milkweed, Sullivant’s Milkweed (Asclepias sullivantii)
Purple Milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens)
Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa)
Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
Rose/Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Showy Milkweed (Asclepias Speciosa)

Aquatic Milkweed (Asclepias perennis)
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Clasping Milkweed (Asclepias amplexicaulis)
Pineland Milkweed (Asclepias obovata)
Redring Milkweed (Asclepias variegata)
Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)

Forestfarm at Pacifica https://www.forestfarm.com

‘Ice Ballet’ Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
‘Soulmate’ Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Showy Pink Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa)
Rose Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Narrow Leaf Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis)

Rose Milkweed (Asclepias incarnataa)
Sullivant’s Milkweed (Asclepias sullivantii)
Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa)
Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
Butterfly Weed (Asclpias tuberosa)
Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)
Spider Milkweed (Asclepias viridis)
Poke Milkweed (Asclepias exaltata)

Swamp Milkweed, pink flowering (Asclepias incarnata)
‘Ice Ballet’ Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa)

Aquatic Milkweed (Asclepias perennis
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
Prairie Milkweed (Asclepias sullivantii)
Rose/Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Showy Milkweed (Asclepias Speciosa)
White Vine Milkweed (Sarcostemma clausum)
Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)

Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
Poke Milkweed (Asclepias exaltata)
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Purple Milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens)
Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

Wits End Gardens ships the following plants in the fall:

Ice Ballet Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
‘Cinderella’ Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
‘Hello Yellow’ Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)

For more about 12 native milkweeds, click here: http://butterfly-lady.com/twelve-native-milkweeds/

Twelve Native Milkweeds

Planting milkweed is one of the easiest ways that each of us can make a difference for Monarch butterflies. There are several dozen species of this wildflower native to North America. I have described twelve different species of milkweeds as well as a link to online vendors below.

Click here to see where you can purchase native milkweed plants online: http://butterfly-lady.com/online-vendors-of-native-milkweeds/

 

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is also called Pleurisy RootCanada RootOrange Milkweed, and Indian Paintbrush. It takes about two years before it flowers, but it is well worth the wait for the spectacular orange blooms. Unlike other milkweed species, the leaves don’t contain a milky sap.

  • Perennial in USDA Zones 4-11.
  • Native to most of the Continental US and Eastern Canada.
  • Plant in full sun.
  • Dry, sandy, well-drained, and slightly acidic soil.
  • Height 30-40 inches.
  • Drought Tolerant.
  • Orange crown-shaped cluster blooms Summer to Fall

Swamp Milkweed  (Asclepias incarnata) usually grows in moist areas but it does not require a moist location in the garden. It will grow well in containers and can easily be grown from cuttings. There are different varieties of this milkweed including ‘Cinderella’ Swamp Milkweed (pink blooms) ‘Ice Ballet’ Swamp Milkweed (white blooms.)

  • Perennial in USDA Zones 3-9
  • Native to most of the eastern US and eastern Canada.
  • Will tolerate shade but also full sun
  • Height 4 to 6 feet
  • Needs moist to wet soil
  • Blooms throughout the summer.
  • Fragrant flowers
  • Tolerant of drought conditions once established

Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is a critical plant for Monarchs but has a spreading root system so it needs plenty of space. It’s a wonderful choice for natural areas and an excellent replacement for tough invasive plants in sunny spots.

  • Perennial  USDA Zones 4-9
  • Native to most of the eastern US and eastern Canada
  • Full sun, but will tolerate some shade.
  • Height 2-4 feet
  • Well-drained soil, even tough clay or dry sand
  • Rose-colored blooms early to late Summer
  • Drought tolerant.

Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) has flowers that resemble a cluster of brilliant pink stars. Although it spreads through underground rhizomes, it is far less aggressive than common milkweed and is an excellent alternative.

  • Perennial in USDA Zones 3-9
  • Native to the western half of US and Canada
  • Full sun
  • Height 2 to 4 feet
  • Grows best in well-drained soil
  • Drought tolerant.
  • Blooms late spring to early fall

Purple Milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens) is similar in appearance to common milkweed, but the blooms are a deeper purple color and this species won’t take over your garden.

  • USDA hardiness zones 3a-9b
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Height 2 to 3 feet
  • Needs partially wet, well-drained soil.
  • Blooms late spring to early summer.

Aquatic Milkweed (Asclepias perennis) prefers wet, rich soil and can be found in wetlands and swamps throughout the Southeastern United States. Not to be confused with swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), the flowers are white and restricted to floodplain forest and along streams.

• Perennial in USDA Zones 6-9.
• Native to the Southeastern United States.
• Partial shade to full sun.
• Prefers moist rich soil.
• Height 1-2 feet.
• Requires regular watering.

Poke Milkweed (Asclepias exaltada) is one of the few milkweeds that are shade tolerant. This low-maintenance, quick-growing native grows wild in most of the Eastern US and Canada, primarily in damp, shady edges of clearings, or on shorelines of ponds and other waterways. Poke Milkweed is often planted as a fast-growing annual in colder zones, where it will tolerate full sun.

• Perennial in USDA Zones 3-7.
• Native to the eastern United States.
• Partial shade.
• Prefers sand, loam, and well-drained soil.
• Height 2-6 feet.

Spider Milkweed (Asclepias viridis), also known as Green Milkweed, and Green Antelopehorn Milkweed, is one of the earliest spring blooming milkweeds with large yellow and green flowers and purple centers.

• Perennial USDA Zones 3-11.
• Native to southcentral and southeastern United States.
• Full sun.
• Sandy or rocky well-drained soil.
• Height 1-2 feet.
• Drought tolerant.

Prairie Milkweed (Asclepias sullivantii) is extremely easy to grow and grows in any sunny spot in the garden. It is similar to Common Milkweed but is less aggressive, has slightly smaller flowers, and an overall smooth appearance on the stem, leaves, and seed pods.

• Perennial in USDA Zones 3-7.
• Native to central and south-central United States.
• Full sun.
• Height 3 feet
• Grows best in consistently moist soil.

Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata) has very skinny, “whorled” leaves. There are clusters of approximately 20 flowers near the top of each plant. Whorled Milkweed can bloom anytime between July and September, which is later in the year than many other milkweeds. The white flowers can be a greenish-white on some plants. Please note, this species is rhizomatous and will spread.

• USDA Zones 3-9.
• Native to eastern North America and parts of western Canada and the United States.
• Partial shade to full sun.
• Medium, to medium-dry well-drained soil.
• Height 2-3 feet.• Drought tolerant

Narrowleaf Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis), also known as Mexican Whorled Milkweed, blooms in clusters of lavender, pale pink, purple, white, to greenish shades of flowers. It is one of the easiest milkweeds to grow and establish.

• USDA Zones 3-11.
• Native to California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.
• Thrives in full sun.
• Dry to rocky well-drained soil.
• Height 24”- 48” tall.
• Drought tolerant.

Short Green Milkweed (Asclepias viridiflora) is one of the more widespread milkweeds. While not exceptionally beautiful, it is an interesting milkweed variety. . It is short, compact, and not too aggressive so functionally makes it a great milkweed for a normal/dry to dry yard. Interesting fact about this plant is the Blackfoot Indians used the chewed roots to treat topical swellings and rashes, and chewed the roots for sore throat.

• USDA Zones 3-9.
• Native eastern and central United States from Connecticut to Georgia to Arizona to Montana, as well as southern Canada.
• Partial or full sun.
• Medium-dry to dry soil.
• Height 12” tall.
• Drought tolerant.

Click here to see where you can purchase native milkweed plants online: http://butterfly-lady.com/online-vendors-of-native-milkweeds/

Spread the word with this t-shirt. Click here to purchase: https://amzn.to/31rUCNE

Ten Basic Principles for Creating a Butterfly Garden

I’m often asked, “How do I start a butterfly garden?” and, “How can I get butterflies to come to my garden?” or, “I have lots of flowers, but why do I never see any butterflies?”

Attracting butterflies to your garden is actually quite easy. Below are ten principles to consider as you begin to plan your butterfly garden.

1. Don’t use pesticides! Yes, that means you are going to have bugs. If you don’t want bugs, then you don’t want butterflies. After all, a butterfly is a bug. Pesticides are the number-one killer of not only butterflies, but also bees, moths and other pollinators. Learn to live with the insects. Every insect serves a purpose and is part of the habitat you’re trying to create for the butterflies.

Butterflies and other pollinators are very sensitive to pesticides so avoid using them in your garden. Insecticides kill insects, so if you want butterflies, don’t use insecticides!

2. Plant your garden in a sunny location. It sounds simple but you would be surprised how many butterfly gardens I see that have been planted in the shade. While it is certainly OK to have some of the garden in shade, or to have shade during part of the day, you will have more success if the majority of the plants are in the sun. Remember, butterflies need the warmth of the sun to be able to fly. Also, flowers need the warm sun to produce nectar.

This is a great design for a butterfly garden but unfortunately, it does not provide sufficient sun throughout the day to attract butterflies.

3. Plant host plants! Host plants are those plants butterflies lay their eggs on. If you do not have host plants in your garden, butterflies may come to visit the flowers for nectar, but then they will leave.

Female butterflies have hundreds of eggs to lay. If you have lots of host plants, you will have lots of butterflies. Yes, the plant will get eaten and look awful and scraggly once eaten by a caterpillar. An amazing thing happens though when you trim that plant. It grows back! And this time the plant is even bigger and bushier. (More places for the butterfly to lay eggs and more food for caterpillars.)

Read more about the importance of adding host plants to your garden here: http://butterfly-lady.com/plant-host-plants/

You cannot have a butterfly without the caterpillar and you cannot have the caterpillar without that host plant. So plant lots of host plants. You can never have too, many.

4. Plant nectar plants. You need to realize that not all flowers provide nectar for butterflies. While roses are quite beautiful, they do not provide nectar for butterflies. Also, many of the beautiful colorful flowers you find at the plant shops are just that, pretty. They have been cultivated to have lots of colorful blooms and in so doing have lost their ability to provide tasty nectar through the hybridization process.

A great way to determine in the plant nursery as to whether a particular bloom will have sweet nectar for butterflies and hummingbirds is to observe whether bees are visiting the plant to extract nectar. If so, you have a winner.

There are so many wonderful flowers that attract butterflies and provide rich nectar. Some of the best are native wildflowers.

Plant these flowers to attract a variety of butterflies.

5. Cluster the same species of plants together in groups of three or more to make it easier for the butterflies to find the plants. If you plant just one milkweed plant among other plants the butterfly might never find it. Remember that butterflies use visual clues, colors and shapes, then smell clues to find the flowers they want to nectar on. Also, planting in clusters of 3, 5, 7, 9… makes the garden more aesthetically pleasing.

6. Plant a variety of flowers with different heights, colors, and blooming seasons.

Anise Hyssop, Black-eyed Susan, Bee Balm, and Joe Pye Weed are some of the flowers in this lovely pollinator garden.

7. Provide a wet area for the butterflies. Many species of male butterflies need to feed on salts and minerals in order to reproduce. They absorb these nutrients from damp sand, dirt, and mulch.

Front and top views of a ceramic bird bath converted into a butterfly puddling station. Click Here to view an assortment of bird baths for your garden.

8. Add a fruit feeder to your butterfly garden. Rotten fruit can help attract butterflies. Many butterflies do not live on flower nectar alone. Some species prefer, even require, overripe fruit to feed on. Butterflies are particularly fond of sliced, rotting oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, peaches, nectarines, apples, and bananas. For ideas on how to add a fruit feeder to your garden, click here: http://butterfly-lady.com/butterflies-and-fruit/

Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis) butterfly sipping juice from a cantaloupe.

9. Weeds are good. Many species of butterflies feed on various grasses, clover, dandelions, and other so-called “weeds.” A chemical-lawn monoculture is not good if you want more butterflies. If you can’t get rid of the crabgrass and Bermuda grass that take over your garden, you can tell folks that you left them there for the butterflies! You can also leave a section of your yard unmowed. This is especially important in the early spring since “weeds” are some of the only flowers that are in bloom.

A Painted Lady Butterfly (Vanessa cardui) feeds on a dandelion.

10. Learn about the different species of butterflies in your area. This will help you identify the visitors to your garden. There are many different websites and books that can help you.

For my top five book recommendations about butterflies click here: http://butterfly-lady.com/top-five-butterfly-books/

Please note, you may have seen wooden butterfly houses placed inside butterfly gardens. They DO NOT attract butterflies, only wasps and spiders. They are colorful, though, and can be used as garden art, if you desire.

This Butterfly Garden sign is the perfect addition to your butterfly garden! https://amzn.to/3e5mwC8

Native Flowers for Monarch Butterflies

Monarch butterflies not only need milkweed to lay their eggs, but they also need nectar-rich plants. Adult monarchs are dependent on nectar plants as a food source during spring and summer breeding, fall migrations, and during overwintering to fuel up and to survive.

Here are twelve native plants that provide Monarch butterflies with nutrient-rich nectar.

 

Click on the name of each flower to find out more information on that flower:

Asters (Asters, spp.) Buy Asters here:
Ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata) Buy Ironweed here:
Blazing Star (Liatris spp.) Buy Blazing Star Here.
Cone Flowers ((Echinacea spp.) Buy Cone Flowers Here.
Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) Buy Goldenrod Here.
Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium spp.) Buy Joe Pye Weed Here.
Sunflowers (Helianthus spp.) Buy Sunflowers Here.
Bee Balm (Monarda spp.) Buy Bee Balm Here.
Asters (Aster spp.) Buy Asters Here.
Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) Buy Milkweed Here.
Sedum (Sedum spp.) Buy Sedum Here.
Anise Hyssop (Agastache spp.) Buy Anise Hyssop Here.

The Xerces Society, in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation and Monarch Joint Venture, developed regional monarch-specific nectar plant guides for the continental US. The plant species included in these nectar plant guides are based on monarch nectaring observations compiled from numerous sources, including published and technical reports, research datasets, and personal communications with monarch researchers, botanists, and other experts.

Use the map to identify your area, then click on the map to find the corresponding regional guide.