Tag Archives: Solidago speciosa

Flowers for Fall-Migrating Monarch Butterflies

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.

Monarch (Danaus plexippus) on Lantana (Lantana camara). Photo courtesy Tiago J. G. Fernandes. Used with permission.

The 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 (Danaus plexippus) in the fall, particularly the New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae).

Monarch on aster

Monarch nectaring on Aster.

Sunflowers (Helianthus spp.), including Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia) and Swamp Sunflowers (Helianthus angustifolius) are late bloomers and provide nectar for migrating Monarchs.

Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia)

Monarch nectaring on Swamp Sunflower. Photo courtesy LuGene Peterson. Used with permission.

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’)

Monarch butterfly nectaring on ‘Miss Huff’ Lantana.

Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) is a wonderful fall blooming perennial and is one of the major nectar sources for the Monarchs’ trip back to Mexico.

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.

Monarch sampling Ironweed nectar.

Other great nectar flowers to plant for fall-migrating Monarchs include
Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea).

Monarch butterfly goes to work on a Purple Coneflower in the garden.

Autumn Joy Stonecrop (Sedum ‘Herbstfreude’) burst into bloom in fall. If left standing, they provide winter interest and food for birds.

Migrating Monarchs stop by the Flower Hill Farm Retreat to feed on the blooms on “Autumn Joy” Sedum. Photo courtesy Carol Ann Duke. Used with permission.

Blazing Star  (Liatris spicata)

Blazing Star (Liatris spicata)

Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)

Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)

The Monarchs flock to the Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum).

Joe Pye Weed, Monarch Butterfly

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)