Butterfly Garden Ideas and Raising Monarch Butterflies

How to Attract and Support More Pollinators through the Popular Pastimes of Butterfly Gardening and Raising Monarch Butterflies.
The first time I ever saw a monarch butterfly, it was gliding from plant to plant on the milkweed that had seeded itself in the rock pile bordering our house.

This common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) towered to almost 6 feet and its fragrant flowers produced a sweet scent that filled our yard each summer.

The sweet smelling blooms have brought monarchs and other pollinators to our garden every year since, without exception.

Expectant monarch mothers have also dropped off their children on milkweed leaves, in hopes of continuing the monarch butterfly life cycle.

In recent years, you may have noticed less of these magnificent Halloween-themed beauties in your butterfly garden…you’re not the only one!

Plant It and They Will Come?

What has worked to insure a magical monarch experience for centuries, no longer applies in a modern world where habitat loss and harmful pesticides are contributing to the plummeting population of monarchs and other beneficial pollinators.

For those willing to adapt to this new reality, you can be part of the solution for a monarch butterfly recovery. Your actions will also insure that the magical monarch migration survives for your children…and hopefully their children too!

Monarch Butterfly Garden is an online resource for nature lovers who want to support monarch butterflies (and other beneficial pollinators) through the popular pastimes of butterfly gardening and raising monarch butterflies.

Butterfly Gardening

Grow Milkweed

swamp milkweed plants with vibrant pink blooms are a favorite host and nectar plant of monarch butterflies
One of Over 30 Garden Variety Milkweeds

While our common milkweed continues to be a popular destination for butterflies visiting our yard, it was only an introduction to the wide world of milkweed plants.

There are over 30 varieties of milkweed plants that can be grown across North America. You’ll learn about growing them, and how they can be utilized to support monarch butterflies (and more!) in your garden. You’ll also learn:

  • How to Start a butterfly garden with milkweed as your foundation
  • How milkweed diversification can attract and support more monarchs
  • Which milkweed varieties are favored by monarchs
  • Which species are easiest to grow in your region?
  • Plant propagation from milkweed seeds, cuttings, and division
  • How to care for milkweed plants
  •  Organic pest control

Grow Nectar Flowers

Attract Magnificent Monarchs to your Butterfly Garden with Irresistible Meadow Blazingstar

Once you’ve established your cornerstone milkweed patch(es), we’ll discuss other ideas for making your butterfly garden a wildlife success:

  • Best nectar plants for monarchs
  • Find top butterfly flowers for your garden
  • Butterfly Garden Tool and Resources (This list was created so you can easily find garden tools and accessories that will help make your butterfly garden a flying success!)
  • Design ideas with butterfly themes for home and butterfly garden
Would you like help getting started on your garden? Check out my 5-star rated ebook on how to attract more monarchs to your butterfly garden…and keep them there!

Raise Monarch Butterflies

Support Monarchs by  Learning How to Raise Healthy Monarch Butterflies
Fill Your Home with the Joy of Butterflies

Raising monarchs is an awe-inspiring journey for butterfly lovers of all ages. Raising butterflies helps to boost the struggling monarch population, while increasing the wildlife wing count in your butterfly garden.

Discover the best raising tips and techniques I’ve collected over the past 30 years including:

If you’d like to learn the exact process I use that helps me to consistently raise monarchs with a 95% survival rate, check out my raising guide here.

Attract Pollinators

A hummingbird enjoys the sweet taste of tropical milkweed
A Summer Sip of Tropical Milkweed

A funny thing happened when we started gardening specifically for monarchs. We also started to attract more pollinators…from beautiful butterflies to hyper-winged hummingbirds, busy little bees, and mysterious moths.

In this blog, I will also discuss which plants these precious pollinators have in common with monarch butterflies, in case you’d like to attract and support them too!

If you’re interested in joining our community to attract and support more monarchs, I’d like to offer  free gardening and raising tips so that you can enjoy the ultimate monarch experience.

I look forward to filling your home and garden with the magic of monarchs, Tony

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  1. says

    This is my first year raising Monarchs, and I’ve released about 30 adults thus far, about half of which are late season ones that should try to get to Mexico. I’ve involved my kid’s first grade class by providing chrysalises, and they’re now fanatics! I’ve got 18 more in or about to make chrysalises, so we’ll see how this season does. There are a group of enthusiasts here in Evanston interested in promoting milkweed planting and Monarch conservation. It’s a good ‘entry’ to the broader field of ecology and conservation.

    • says

      Hi Eric, you picked a great time to get involved. The monarchs, of course, need our help and the weather in much of the upper midwest has been beneficial to the milkweed supply and struggling monarch population this summer.

      You could also encourage your children’s school to plant a school butterfly garden so they can help guide monarchs through more of their amazing metamorphosis…you shouldn’t get to have all the fun! ;) Congrats on a successful first year of raising monarchs!

      Tips for Creating a School Butterfly Garden

  2. amy shaw says

    Hi Tony. This was my first year with monarchs and I learned so much. My last chrysalis enclosed today after 32 days. It is perfect and we have had so much fun raising these guys. Thanks for this wonderful butterfly resource. Take care and let’s hope our monarch friends make a comeback this year!

    • says

      Wonderful news Amy…I’m glad you have found the info here helpful. I think our collective raising/gardening efforts are starting to have a positive effect on the monarch population. Thank you for being part of this growing community!

  3. kim s. says

    silly ? for you, often i take off the yellow leaves off the plants to then find an egg attached to it what are the chances of the egg developing into the catepillar stage? you can email me as i don’t always check this site, much appreciation to you for your fast responses

  4. Gary says

    We are from MI., but have been in FL. for a year. Mother-in-law got us into raising Monarchs as she has been doing for 30 years…but now I need to find out why cats I just brought in …on the leaves I found them on in the garden (this was the COLD time down here too). All 3 looked full size but they all left the leaves and fresh plant I put in the cage, started up the side and left what looks like a trail of green urine. None of them look healthy and I’m guessing they will die. Question is WHY? Thanking you in advance!

  5. Dhyana says

    Hi Tony. I have a question about the four-stage raising cage. This year I brought a chrysalis indoors in a glass octagonal terrarium with netting over the top. When my monarch eclosed it was raining and very windy so I had to keep it in the terrarium more than 24 hours before release. I noticed he couldn’t climb the glass (lesson learned), but also in that time and small space he was unable to fly around and get himself ready for release. Is this something to be concerned about when release may be delayed? Also the potential bpa in plastic – can it be harmful?

    • says

      Hi Dhyana, if you’re going to keep them overnight a mesh cage would be a better option if you have one so they can crawl back up if they fall down. You could also try putting in the “legs” of the pantyhose you cut off up the side of the cage and they could crawl up that if necessary. I will address that concern when I discuss raising cages this spring…thanks!

      As for the plastic being an issue, I (and many others I know) have used those cages for years without any problems. I’m sure there are other options (not intended for living creatures or food) that may have harmful chemicals…

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