The Monarch butterfly's fascinating journey and precarious situation has been capturing hearts and headlines recently. If you search "Monarch butterfly" on YouTube, you'll discover a multitude of videos dedicated to preserving this unique species. The Monarch's distinctive migration pattern, spanning from the heart of Canada to the picturesque hilltops west of Mexico City, is truly a sight to behold. In the past, government bodies in Ontario, Quebec and the American Midwest worked tirelessly to eliminate various milkweed species, mistakenly believing them to be harmful weeds. To everyone's surprise, these plants turned out to be vital for the Monarch's survival. Not only do adult butterflies feast on the nectar-rich flowers, but their caterpillars also rely exclusively on the foliage for nourishment. No other plants can fulfill this role. Fortunately, there's been a tremendous drive to reintroduce milkweed species across North America.
Like their bee relatives, all butterfly species are facing increased threats due to habitat loss. How can these enchanting creatures thrive without food?
At West Coast Seeds, we're deeply committed to pollinator conservation. It's not just about our food supply — the well-being of our entire ecosystem hinges on these pollinators. We invite you to devote a portion of your garden or farm to plants that butterflies find irresistible. We've previously discussed Creating a Bumblebee Haven , and Planting to Entice Predatory Insects , but what about designing a butterfly sanctuary?
The first step is choosing a variety of flowering plants that are particularly nectar-rich. Some species are especially esteemed as caterpillar food sources, which is another aspect to consider. Unlike birds, butterflies don't nest, so there's no need to build shelters — they'd simply remain empty. However, butterflies do enjoy basking in the sun and hydrating from damp soil. So, carving out a small spot with exposed, moist soil surrounded by sun-warmed rocks could be a splendid idea.
Here are some of our aboslute favorite flowers for planting a spectacular butterfly garden:
Licorice Mint (Agastache rugosa)
Prepare for a burst of minty freshness with these vibrant purple blooms. Their enchanting fragrance will beckon butterflies from miles around!
False Queen Anne’s Lace (Ammi majus)
Create a dreamy atmosphere with these delicate white flowers. They resemble lace, and their intricate beauty will make your garden a butterfly haven.
Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa)
These pink and white clustered blossoms are a butterfly's delight. Not only do they provide a vibrant splash of color, but they also serve as a food source for caterpillars.
Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosum)
A must-have for any butterfly garden, these vibrant orange flowers will attract monarch butterflies with their irresistible nectar.
Basket of Gold (Aurinia saxatilis)
This stunning golden-yellow flower will add a touch of sunshine to your garden. Its bright color and delicate fragrance make it irresistible to butterflies.
Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)
Paint your garden with vibrant blue hues by planting these charming cornflowers. Their dainty petals are irresistible to butterflies, attracting them in flocks.
Wallflower (Cheiranthus cheiri)
These delightful blooms are like a party for butterflies. Their vibrant colors and sweet fragrance will turn your garden into a dancing haven for these lovely creatures.
Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus)
These delicate and colorful flowers will enchant both you and the butterflies. With their whimsical petals, they'll add a touch of magic to your garden.
Sulphur Cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus)
Add a pop of vibrant orange and yellow to your garden with these stunning cosmos flowers. The butterflies won't be able to resist their warm and inviting colors.
Cat Grass (Dactylis glommerata)
Give your garden a playful touch with these luscious blades of grass. Not only will they entertain your feline friends, but they'll also attract butterflies with their charm.
Pinks (Dianthus plumarius)
Pinks are not only beautiful, but they also release a delicate and sweet fragrance that butterflies find irresistible. These charming flowers will add a touch of romance to your butterfly garden.
Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Coneflowers are not only a favorite among butterflies but also a striking addition to any garden. With their vibrant purple petals and prominent cones, they are a true showstopper.
Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum)
Joe Pye Weed is a tall and majestic plant that will add height and drama to your butterfly garden. Its clusters of pinkish-purple flowers will attract not only butterflies but also other pollinators.
Blanketflower (Gaillardia pulchella)
Blanketflowers are a burst of fiery colors that will attract both butterflies and admiration from anyone who sees them. Their vibrant petals are reminiscent of a cozy and warm blanket.
Birds Eye Gilia (Gilia tricolor)
Birds Eye Gilia is a delicate and charming flower that will attract butterflies with its clusters of small blooms. Its soft blue and white petals are a lovely addition to any butterfly garden.
Candytuft (Iberis umbellata)
Candytuft is a delicate and dainty flower that will add a touch of elegance to your butterfly garden. Its clusters of white, pink, and lavender blooms will not only attract butterflies but also create a visually stunning display.
Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
Alyssum is a low-growing and spreading flower that will create a beautiful carpet of blooms in your butterfly garden. Its sweet fragrance and delicate flowers make it a favorite among butterflies.
Lupins (Lupinus polyphyllus)
Lupins are tall and majestic flowers that will make a statement in your butterfly garden. Their vibrant and showy flower spikes will attract butterflies from afar.
Wild Bergamot (Mondarda fistulosa)
Wild Bergamot, also known as Bee Balm, is a vibrant and aromatic flower that will attract both butterflies and bees to your garden. Its beautiful blooms and pleasant fragrance make it a must-have for any butterfly garden.
Prairie Coneflower (Ratibida columnifera)
Prairie Coneflower is a hardy and resilient flower that will thrive in your butterfly garden. Its unique and striking blooms will not only attract butterflies but also add a touch of wild beauty to your garden.
Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
Black-Eyed Susan is a classic and beloved flower that will attract butterflies with its bright yellow petals and dark brown centers. Its cheerful blooms will add a pop of color to your butterfly garden.
Pincushion Plant (Scabiosa atropurpurea)
Pincushion Plant is a charming and delicate flower that will attract butterflies with its unique pincushion-like blooms. Its vibrant colors and intricate petals make it a standout in any butterfly garden.
Speedwell (Veronica spicata)
Speedwell, also known as Veronica, is a graceful and vibrant flower that will attract butterflies with its tall spikes of blue and purple blooms. Its upright growth and stunning colors make it a standout in any butterfly garden.
Strawflower (Xerochrysum bracteatum)
Strawflower is a unique and long-lasting flower that will add a burst of color to your butterfly garden. Its papery petals and vibrant hues make it a popular choice for dried flower arrangements as well.
Zinnia (Zinnia elegans)
Zinnias are cheerful and vibrant flowers that will attract butterflies with their bold and colorful blooms. With their wide variety of shapes and sizes, there's a Zinnia for every butterfly garden.
If you're looking for a simpler option, why not plant our Butterfly Blend Wildflower Seeds? They are specially curated to attract butterflies and create a vibrant and beautiful butterfly garden.
Remember to provide a variety of nectar-rich flowers to attract butterflies throughout their life cycles. Choose a sunny spot in your garden, and prepare the soil properly to ensure the best growth for your butterfly-friendly plants. Happy gardening and enjoy the delightful presence of these magnificent creatures in your backyard!