Migration season has arrived for more than a dozen species of North American butterflies, from bright orange monarchs to buttery yellow sulphurs. Some species move only a few hundred miles, while monarchs travel all the way to Mexico.
No matter how far they travel, all butterflies need flower gardens where they can stop for nourishing nectar and a safe night’s rest.
Attract butterflies to your yard by keeping flowers blooming. Add asters and chrysanthemums for bursts of blooms both you and the butterflies can enjoy.
Entice Butterflies with Late-Blooming Flowers:
- Prune branches with old blooms on flowers such as cosmos, blanket flower, butterfly bush, coneflowers and zinnia, to channel energy to new buds and blossoms. Even if plants appear tattered, the last blooms provide plenty of nectar to butterflies.
- Allow native asters, goldenrod or other late-blooming wildflowers to finish blooming before cutting them back. In addition to providing pollen and nectar, the tall plants offer overnight protection for migrating butterflies.
- Plant potted fall-blooming asters to attract butterflies. Plants set out now will survive winter and come back strong next year.
- Plant chrysanthemums with daisy-type flowers and shapes that look like big yellow eyes. The color of the petals does not matter when butterflies can easily locate the nectar-bearing eye. Many chrysanthemums will survive winter when planted in early fall. To improve their chances, set plants about 1 foot deeper than they grew in their pots.