Monday, May 19, 2014

Monarch Waystation Plant List

A Monarch Waystation needs at least one species of milkweed to sustain monarch caterpillars as well as nectar sources to sustain the adults as they migrate. Native plants are best as they're almost always drought tolerant and also provide habitat for other butterfly species to propagate. Most insects will only use certain native host plants on which to lay their eggs.

Why you won't see butterfly bush on this list: Nurseries love to push the non-native butterfly bush to clients wanting a "butterfly garden". While I do have one in my yard (it was here when we bought the house) I would not purchase another one. No insect can actually use butterfly bush to reproduce. They will attract butterflies to your yard, but there are many even more beautiful native options becoming readily available at nurseries.

The following is a short list of easy-to-grow native options for your monarch garden or certified monarch waystation. They are all available at most local nurseries. The milkweeds and New Jersey Tea can be trickier to find, contact me for help if you can't locate any.

THE NATIVE MILKWEEDS: Necessary for monarch reproduction. Milkweeds are the only plants monarch caterpillars can eat.

http://phytophactor.fieldofscience.com/2010/06/friday-fabulous-flower-swamp-milkweed.html
Swamp milkweed, Asclepias incarnata
24" to 48"
Moist to wet, even flooding, but tolerates drought once established.
Partial shade to sun.
Cultivars also available with a white flower. 
To prevent this from sprouting up all over your yard just remove seed pods before they open up (or save the seeds and make more!)





Butterfly weed, Asclepias tuberosa
12" to 36"
Thrives in dry, sandy, even gravelly soil. Great for planting along a road, doesn't mind bad soil.
Full sun, will tolerate a few hours of shade.














NATIVE NECTAR SOURCES: These flowers sustain the monarchs on both their spring and fall migrations. Plant a variety to ensure something is always flowering.

Joe-Pye Weed, Eupatorium maculatum
36" to 96" tall. Can be trimmed back to keep shorter and will still re-flower. Flowers all summer.
Moist to wet, but drought tolerant once established.
Sun to partial sun.
Spreads by rhizomes, can be easily divided and shared with others. Neighbors are always asking me for clumps.










White Chocolate Snakeroot, Eupatorium rugosum
24" to 36"
Striking dark foliage with clusters of small white flowers in late summer into autumn, providing nectar during the monarch's fall migration.
Moist, but tolerates drought when well established.
Sun to partial shade.



 Blanket flower, Gaillardia sp.
Up to 24"
Blooms July through fall.
Drought tolerant once established.
Full sun, will tolerate a few hours of shade.
Summer Phlox, Phlox paniculata
36" to 60" tall
Moist soil, drought tolerant once established.
Sun to partial sun.
Flowers mid summer.
This newly emerged monarch female spent an hour on my phlox this past summer before it took off north.
Tickseed, Coreopsis lanceolata
 18" to 30" tall.
Moist to dry, drought tolerant once established.
Sun to partial sun.
Flowers early to mid summer.
Will produce more blooms if deadheaded regularly.












 Ox-eye Sunflower, Heliopsis helianthoides
36" to 60" tall.
Moist to dry, drought tolerant once established.
Sun to partial sun.
Flowers mid-summer.

 Yarrow, Achillea millefolium
18" to 24"
Well drained soil, drought tolerant.
Full sun.
Blooms late spring to mid summer.
 New Jersey Tea, Ceanothus americanus
A dense shrub up to 3 feet high and wide.
Does well in poor, dry soil, good for planting along a road side.
Flowers in June and July









http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.eattheweeds.com%2Fliatris-dotted-blazing-star%2F&h=0&w=0&tbnid=xmXlbYp9txofbM&zoom=1&tbnh=276&tbnw=182&docid=m2xWcK5UAjFgeM&tbm=isch&client=firefox-a&ei=OrR6U5nZLMmuyAT7r4KIAQ&ved=0CBEQsCUoBQ
Blazing Star, Liatris spicata
24" to 48"
Moist to wet, drought tolerant once established.
Sun to partial sun.
Flowers mid summer.
Also attracts hummingbirds.












Sweet Pepper Bush (Summersweet), 
Clethra alnifolia
Up to 8 feet tall and wide. Dwarf cultivars are available called "Hummingbird Summersweet" and are up to 4 feet tall and wide.
Moist to wet acidic soil, tolerates flooding. Slightly drought tolerant once established. 
Partial shade to sun.
Flowers July and August.
Also attracts hummingbirds and is a great alternative to butterfly bush.



NATIVES FOR ATTRACTING HUMMINGBIRDS: add some of these and hummingbirds won't be able to resist your monarch waystation.

Cardinal flower, Lobelia cardinalis
24" to 48"
Moist to wet, even flooded, but drought tolerant once established.
Sun to partial shade.
Tall stalk of crimson flowers in mid to late summer. Irresistible to hummingbirds.
Self seeds, you will find tiny ones popping up all over the place. They are easy to dig up and relocate as the parent plants don't often last more than a year or two.








Beesbalm (Oswego Tea), Monarda didyma
16" to 30"
Moist to dry.
Full sun, will tolerate a few hours of shade.
Flowers in summer, irresistible to hummingbirds.
Spreads by rhizomes, easy to divide and use to fill in areas of your garden or share. I am always digging this up and giving it away!

Recommended Plants for New England Monarch Gardens:

Milkweeds - the only plant monarch caterpillars eat:
Swamp milkweed, Asclepias incarnata
Butterfly weed, Asclepias tuberosa
Whorled Milkweed, Asclepias verticillata
Tropical milkweed (annual), Asclepias curassavica
Common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca (not recommended for small gardens)

Native Perennial Nectar Sources:
Yarrow, Achillea millefolium
Bluestar, Amsonia tabernaemontana
Tickseed, Coreopsis lanceolata
Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea
Joe-Pye Weed, Eupatorium maculatum
White Chocolate Snakeroot, Eupatorium rugosum
Blanket flower, Gaillardia sp
Sneezeweed, Helenium autumnale
Ox-eye Sunflower, Heliopsis helianthoides
Blazing Star, Liatris spicata
Beesbalm (Oswego Tea), Monarda didyma
Summer Phlox, Phlox paniculata
Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia sp.
Eastern foamflower, Tiarella cordifolia
Asters
Goldenrods

Native nectar shrubs and host shrubs for other butterflies:
New Jersey Tea, Ceanothus americanus
Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis
Sweet Pepper Bush (Summersweet), Clethra alnifolia
Redtwig Dogwood, Cornus sericea
Itea virginiana, Virginia sweetspire
Spicebush, Lindera benzoin
White meadowsweet, Spirea alba
Steeplebush, Spirea tomentosa
American cranberry bush, Viburnum trilobum

Annuals to attract butterflies and hummingbirds:
Cosmos
Lantana
Marigold
Mexican sunflower
Petunia
Salvia
Verbena
Zinnia







(Ascelpias incarnata)
(Ascelpias incarnata)

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