You can attract monarch butterflies to your butterfly garden or yard, and help protect the beautiful orange and black butterfly so the monarch never faces extinction.
Is the monarch butterfly endangered? The monarch butterfly is protected under the Canada federal species at risk act. In the United States, experts are working to protect the monarch which has lost its nesting to illegal logging and herbicides used to kill weeds (that have killed its milkweed host plants).
As a butterfly gardener, you can attract and protect the monarch (Danaus plexippus) in these perilous times for butterflies.
The monarch or milkweed butterfly is part of the Nymphalidae family and the subfamily, Danainae.
Here are some common questions people ask who are worried about monarchs becoming endangered and who want to attract monarch butterflies:
No. 1: Question for attracting monarch butterflies: Are monarchs poisonous and if so, why? Nature has always protected the monarchs which are poisonous to predators by giving them a foul taste. Monarch caterpillars eat milkweed which puts cardenolide aglycones in their systems.
No. 2: Question for attracting monarch butterflies: Where are monarchs located and where do they migrate? One major group of monarchs come from east of the Rocky Mountains and another group comes from the west. The ones from the east migrate between Canada and Mexico. The ones to the west stay along the coast of California and southern Canada.
No. 3: Question for attracting monarch butterflies: Why are researchers concerned about monarch butterflies becoming extinct: The number of monarchs in Mexico during the winter has dwindled significantly. They have a shrinking habitat in Mexico. Some experts say their population has decreased by as much as 50 to 60 percent. Other reasons include herbicides, severe rains and extreme weather patterns.
No. 4: Question for attracting monarch butterflies: What are nectar sources for monarchs and will that prevent monarchs from becoming extinct? Monarchs need nectar as they migrate. For shrubs you can plant Azalea, Lilac, Buddleia, Viburnums for monarchs. In terms of annuals, plant Alyssum, Candytuft, Cosmos, Vebena, Zinnias, Marigold and Impatients. For perennials, plant Daisy, Primrose, Purple coneflower, Phlox, Butterfly weed, Asters, Bee Balm. Wild perennials for attracting monarchs include yarrow, goldenrod, blazing star, black-eyed susan, thistle, wild bergamot and dogbane.
No. 5: Question for attracting monarch butterflies: What are the host plants for monarchs and will planting them help prevent the monarch extinction? The monarch host plants are a variety of milkweeds including Clasping, California, Heart-leaf, Scarlet, Desert, Poke, Swamp, Caribbean, Purple, Showy, Horsetail, Common and Whorled milkweeds. Other hosts include butterfly weed, crown flower, apple of Sodom and sand vine. Yes, you will help monarchs from becoming extinct.
For best results attracting monarchs, it’s important to plant flowers that bloom throughout the different seasons of the year. Choose native plants whenever possible to attract monarchs and other butterflies.