This year I saw a big uptick of Monarchs, along with many other types of butterflies in my garden. The most promising thing is the many Monarch caterpillars that I see happily munching on my plants.
I don’t begrudge them.
The garden has lots of Milkweed in it ( grown just for Danaus plexippus), but surprisingly the plants that the larvae most love seem to be Ruta graveolens, or better known as “Rue”.
Other Plants They Visit In My Garden
- Autumn clematis
- Sedum spectabile
- Bronze Fennel
This is the the first in a number of years that I have seen promising numbers of butterflies, particularly of the Monarchs. I am glad of it, but must say that it is still not even near the many crowds of them that I would see in earlier years at this time of the season.
The hopeful thing is simply that the numbers are noticeably increasing in my own garden- which has its challenges from surrounding farmland that is often sprayed.
How I Help Butterflies
- Plantings that they love
- No spraying ever
- Small areas of water (like a birdbath and indented rocks)
One thing I started in recent years has been “meadow areas”. This is easy because as an aging gardener I can no longer give the flower beds the upkeep I once did. I have wildlife supportive plantings of prairie denizens and weedy things like goldenrod and milkweed (real milkweed, Asclepias syriaca).
I am not bragging about that… it is just a fact of life. I do like the meadow section with its Echinacea and a bit of Monarda. I would actually like less Goldenrod there. The ornamental grasses did not thrive there, but it has been a feature that has been experimentally successful I think. And good for insect life.
If you would like a list of plants and some tips on encouraging butterflies in your garden I have written an article for you to read.