Skip to Content

Create Habitat for Monarchs

Website Banner Images 4

Monarchs cannot survive without milkweed; their caterpillars only eat milkweed plants (Asclepias spp.), and monarch butterflies need milkweed to lay their eggs. We have lost much milkweed from the landscape with shifting land management practices.

Please plant milkweed to support monarch populations and their incredible migration! Planting milkweed is a great way to help other pollinators, providing valuable nectar resources to a diverse suite of bees and butterflies. For a brief how-to flyer on planting and gardening, download MJV's Gardening for Monarchs.

Adult monarchs will drink the nectar of many flowers in addition to milkweed; in fact, they need sources of nectar to nourish them throughout the entire growing season. Include a variety of native flowering species with different bloom times to provide monarchs with the food they need to reproduce in the spring and summer and migrate in the fall. Offering a wide array of native nectar plants will attract monarchs and many other butterflies and pollinators to your habitat all season long.

Key Habitat Considerations

  • Habitat can be created in any open space protected from untimely mowing or pesticide application.
  • Native milkweeds provide food for monarch caterpillars and nectar for other pollinators.
  • Native flowers provide food for adult butterflies. A combination of early, middle, and late blooming species overlapping in flowering times will fuel butterfly breeding and migration and provide beautiful blooms all season long.
  • Insecticides should never be used in or surrounding pollinator habitats. Herbicides should be limited within and surrounding the habitat only to control invasive or noxious weeds.

Explore Monarch Habitat Resources

Other Useful Resources

  1. MJV's Downloads and Links page provides additional handouts and Best Management Practices (BMPs).
  2. MJV's archived webinar series on topics ranging from biology and research to habitat restoration and augmentation.
  3. Pollinator Habitat Tips produced by Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever.
  4. The Xerces Society Project Milkweed website.
  5. Already have a monarch habitat or project? Share it on our Monarch Conservation Efforts Map, or join a habitat certification project!
  6. USDA Plants Database- Plant List of Attributes, Names, Taxonomy, and Symbols
  7. See plants native to your area with the California Native Plant Society map.