One of the surest ways to see fall-migrating Monarch butterflies is to plant flowers that attract them. Monarchs will drop from the sky for the nectar they need for energy during fall migrations.
Monarchs will search for nectar plants the entire time they are traveling to their winter roosting sites in Mexico. Gardens can provide a place for the migrating Monarchs so they can refuel and continue their journey. Help Monarchs by planting flowers that bloom late into the fall such as the flowers listed below.
Asters (Aster spp.) are a favorite of Monarchs in the fall, particularly the New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae). Other asters include Smooth Aster (Symphyotrichum laeve), Aromatic Aster (S. oblongifolium), and Calico Aster (S. lateriflorum).
Sunflowers (Helianthus spp.), including Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia) and Swamp Sunflowers (Helianthus angustifolius) are late bloomers and provide wonderful nutrition for migrating Monarchs.
Many Lantanas are still blooming. I had several Monarchs stop in late October in my North Carolina, USA, garden to sip the nectar from ‘Miss Huff’ Lantana (Lantana camara ‘Miss Huff’).
Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) is a wonderful fall blooming perennial and is one of the major nectar sources for the Monarchs’ trip back to Mexico. Click Here for Goldenrod seeds.
The brilliant purple-crimson bloom of Ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata) is very attractive to Monarchs. See some spectacular photos of Monarchs on Ironweed at the Flower Hill Farm Retreat.
Other great nectar flowers to plant for fall-migrating Monarchs include
Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea).
Autumn Joy Stonecrop (Sedum ‘Herbstfreude’) burst into bloom in fall. If left standing, they provide winter interest and food for birds.
Liatris spicata, commonly called Blazing Star or Gay Feather is a native perennial that makes a wonderful pitstop for migrating Monarchs.
Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), also known as Giant Hyssop and Lavender Hyssop is a native perennial.
The Monarchs flock to the Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum).
The red blooms of Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) not only attract migrating Monarchs but also migrating hummingbirds.