Spring Planting to Attract Butterflies

A Message from NGC President Sandra H. Robinson

Pollinators and amphibians are "the canaries in the coal mine" crying out a warning that all is not well. We need to heed their cry and "Leap into Action" before our environment and food sources are severely threatened through the loss of these vitalspecies.

NGC recognizes the importance of both education and action in the fight to conserve our pollinators and amphibian populations. We are actively engaging our membership and the general public in this endeavor through the Million Garden Challenge partnership with National Wildlife Federation (NWF), Monarch Watch, North American Butterfly Association (NABA), and The Center for Plant Conservation (CPC). In addition, we offer educational programs and resources for the youth including publication of "The Frightened Frog, An Environmental Tale."

As an organization, we accept the challenge to "Leap into Action!”

Flower Pots, Patios and Gardens

There's a wide variety of plants that work!

Spring is the time to plant for Butterflies, whether it's in a flower pot, on a patio, or in a garden. Gardens can be any size, 5 x 5 feet or as large as an acre. We can all plant to attract Butterflies!


Painted Lady ButterflyWhen planning your garden, both annuals and perennials are helpful. Annuals to include are: Lantana, Nasturtiums, Zinnias, Cosmos, Marigolds, Tithonia (also known as Mexican Sunflowers), and Dill. Perennials we can plant are Purple Coneflowers, Aster, Catnip, Daisies, Coreopsis, Monarda or Bee Balm, Yarrow, Sedum, Phlox, Liatris, and Milkweed.


If you have space for a bush or two, Lilacs and Buddleia (also known as Butterfly Bush) are two excellent choices and will attract many Butterflies. Please Do Not use chemicals in your Butterfly Garden! We want to attract those little worms and butterflies, not kill them! Those little worms will someday be a butterfly or moth.

Milkweed and Monarchs

Milkweed is the host plant for the Monarch Butterfly. If you need Milkweed, either seeds or plants, you can find additional resources through the Monarch Watch program at http://www.monarchwatch.org/. You can see what variety of milkweed is needed in your area by checking through the regions and seed needs at http://www.monarchwatch.org/bring-back-the-monarchs/milkweed/milkweed-regions-seed-needs/. Check to see if they have Milkweed for your area at http://monarchwatch.org/milkweed/market/ as that is the variety they will send. Milkweed plugs can be sent free to any school, or non profit organization. Program information and the application can be found at http://monarchwatch.org/bring-back-the-monarchs/milkweed/free-milkweeds/.


Common MilkweedI personally have three types of Milkweed seeds: Whorled Milkweed, Common Milkweed, and Swamp Milkweed. If these varieties are native to your area, I will be happy to provide you with seeds. Please email me with your request.

You can also check with your State Department of Natural Resources, or Extension Service to see what Milkweed species are native to your area. Let's all work together to plant for Butterflies and keep them off the threatened and endangered species list.


For more information, contact:
Marian M. McNabb, Chairman: Butterflies
Arabella Dane, Advisor: Butterflies