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Helping monarch butterflies

  Monarch butterfly with tithonia  
  Tithonia has large flowers that provide a suitable landing platform for Monarch butterflies. It is one of the annuals that Monarchs enjoy visiting.  


The decline in the migration of the monarch butterfly between Canada, the North East and Mexico has been well documented in recent years. Apart from signing petitions and contacting local politicians to let them know you care, there are several things you can do to help monarch butterflies on your own property. Even if you have a really small garden in an urban area, you can attract monarch butterflies.

Monarch butterflies like all other insects need a place that is free of pesticides in which to feed. They need milkweed to complete their life-cycle and a range of flowers to sustain them with nectar throughout the summer and in the fall when they migrating to Mexico.

  Young adult waiting for its wings to expand and dry out.  
  When the adult monarch butterfly emerges from its chrysalis, it pumps blood into the everted wings. When the wings are fully extended, the butterfly withdraws the blood to let the wing dry out and become a light aerofoil.  


Monarchs do not typically arrive in Ontario until June, so spring flowering plants are not particularly helpful to them. Put in plants that will flower throughout the summer and into early fall. Choose plants that are native and which are at least two feet high since they tend not to fly too close to the ground. Some annuals such as tithonia and verbena bonariensis as well as butterfly bush are attractive to Monarchs.


  Monarch on milkweed Coreopsis Monarch on echinacea heliopsis
  Purple coneflower native
  Monarda fistulosa Monarch on liatris ligustylis Monarch with agastache Monarch butterfly on cup plant
  Monarda fistulosa native Silphium native
  Joe Pye Weed Aster goldenrod Sunflower


Useful links:

Journey North: Gives up to date information on the northwards Monarch migration.

Monarch watch: Gives a lot of information about Monarchs and the opportunity to take part in research.