Monarchs in Texas

The annual migration of Monarch Butterflies is one of the most impressive phenomena in the natural world. Every spring, vast numbers of monarch butterflies undertake a multi-generational journey from their wintering grounds in the mountains of Mexico to temperate areas of the United States thousands of miles to the north where they will summer, and then return back to Mexico in the fall. This incredible yearly pilgrimage is under threat from habitat destruction, which has drastically reduced the population of migrants in recent decades.

Texas is an extremely critical state for these migrating monarchs because it is situated between the principal breeding grounds in the north and the overwintering areas in Mexico. Early each March, monarchs begin arriving from their overwintering grounds in Mexico seeking milkweed to lay their eggs.

Planting native milkweeds in Texas is critical to help support the monarchs arriving from their overwintering grounds in Mexico. It is vital that they find milkweed to lay their eggs before they die. The caterpillars will be the first of several new generations of monarchs that repopulate the eastern half of the United States and Canada.

Zizotes and Antelope Horn are some of the first milkweed to wake up in early spring, making them important species for first generation monarchs in Texas. Click here to purchase seeds.

But milkweed is not the only plant these migrating monarchs seek. Adult monarch butterflies seek nectar from other native plants, too, which provide energy to the adult butterflies and help to fuel their flight.

Bluebonnets, the state flower of Texas, bloom early in the spring, and provide nectar for migrating monarchs. Photo by Alla Avery WFAA Dallas.

Here are some of the early blooming native flowers in Texas that help monarchs fuel their migration through the state.

Cowpen Daisies grow along the roadsides in Texas and bloom from spring until fall. They are an easy native annual to grow from seed. Click here to purchase seeds.
These early purple blooms will add color to the garden until fall. Click here to purchase seeds.
Native to most of the United States, Indian Blanket is a showy annual or short-lived perennial boasting daisy-like flower heads. Click here to purchase seeds.
Lance-leaf Coreopsis plants are one of the easiest plants to grow in the Butterfly Garden. Click here to purchase seeds.
Coneflowers are an important source of nectar for spring and fall migrating monarch. Click here to purchase seeds.

We can help these iconic insects by planting milkweed and native flowers along their migrating path. 


Ladybird Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Monarch Population Status

Spread the word with this t-shirt. Click here to purchase.