STEP 1: Where to Plant
Considerations include available sunlight, level of foot traffic and vulnerability. If planting from seeds, keep in mind it takes 4-6 weeks for seeds to germinate and for seedlings to be ready for transplanting. An area that receives 6 hrs of sun per day is ideal. Milkweeds and nectar plants do best in relatively light (low-clay) soils, with good drainage.
STEP 2: What to put in your Garden It’s best to plant native species. The Monarch butterfly will need plants at all four stages of its life cycle: the egg and larvae stage are restricted to species of milkweed, while adults feed on flowers that are fragrant, rich in nectar, and large enough for the butterfly to land on.
Favourite flowers are mainly from the sunflower and daisy family of plants. But any yellow, pink, orange or purple nectar-producing flower will do.
It's best to have at least 10 milkweed plants, made up of two or more milkweed species. However, a large number of milkweed plants (more than 10) of one species is also ideal.
STEP 3: Starting with Milkweed Seeds
If early in the season, buy Milkweed seeds - gardening catalogs and nurseries sell seeds or you can buy them online. You may want to use a combination of seeds and purchased plants. Plants should not be purchased until it is time to plant the garden. If starting from milkweed seeds (indoors), seedlings will be ready to transplant outdoors into the garden after 4 to 6 weeks.
It’s important to plant the right kind of Milkweed. Learn which kind is right for your area here. In Southern Canada, choose: Common Milkweed, Swamp Milkweed, Butterfly Milkweed and Poke Milkweed.
STEP 4: Get Planting
Prepare the soil. Follow natural/organic, permaculture gardening practices. Plant seedlings. Can apply mulch to prevent soil erosion, maintain soil moisture and slow weed growth. Maintain your butterly garden with watering and weeding, as needed.
STEP 5: Enjoy seeing beautiful Monarchs and other butterflies in your Butterfly Garden! : )
Create a Monarch Waystation, and learn more at MonarchWatch.org.