Skip to main content

Monarch butterflies are not only iconic but also play an important role in ecosystem health and pollination. To attract and support these magnificent creatures in your garden, selecting the right host plants is essential. In this guide, we’ll explore how to choose the best host plants for monarch butterflies, along with tips on butterfly habitat creation and the use of products for gardening to create a thriving butterfly-friendly environment.

Why Should You Host Your Plants for Monarch Butterflies?

Host plants are essential for monarch butterflies as they provide caterpillars with food during their larval stage. Monarch caterpillars exclusively feed on milkweed plants, making milkweed the cornerstone of monarch butterfly conservation efforts. By planting host plants, you not only attract monarch butterflies but also support their life cycle and contribute to their survival.

1. Selecting the Perfect Host Plants

  1. Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca): Common milkweed is a favourite host plant for monarch butterflies due to its abundance of foliage and nectar-rich flowers. Planting common milkweed in your garden provides monarch caterpillars with ample food and shelter.
  2. Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata): Swamp milkweed is another excellent host plant for monarch butterflies, especially in wetter areas of your garden. Its pink blooms attract adult monarchs for nectar, while the leaves provide sustenance for caterpillars.
  3. Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa): Known for its vibrant orange flowers, butterfly weed is a colourful addition to any garden. It serves as a host plant for monarchs and attracts other pollinators with its nectar-rich blooms.

2. Butterfly Habitat Creation

In addition to planting host plants, creating a suitable habitat is crucial for monarch butterfly conservation. Here are some tips for the habitat creation of butterflies:

  1. Sunlight and Shelter: Ensure your garden has areas with full sunlight for host plants to thrive. Provide sheltered spots with shrubs or trees to protect butterflies from strong winds.
  2. Water Source: Incorporate a shallow water source, such as a birdbath or saucer filled with water and pebbles, for butterflies to drink and bathe.
  3. Avoid Pesticides: Avoid the use of pesticides in the garden, as they can hurt butterflies and other beneficial insects. Opt for natural pest control methods or handpick pests if necessary.

3. Gardening Products for Butterfly Habitat

To enhance your butterfly habitat, consider using products for gardening specifically designed to attract and support butterflies:

  1. Butterfly Houses: Provide shelter and roosting spots for butterflies by installing butterfly houses in your garden. These structures mimic natural roosting sites and can attract a variety of butterfly species.
  2. Nectar Feeders: Supplement natural nectar sources with nectar feeders filled with a sugar-water solution. Place them strategically near nectar-rich flowers to attract butterflies for feeding.
  3. Mulch and Compost: Use organic mulch and compost to enrich that provide nutrients and soil for host plants. Avoid using synthetic fertilisers that can harm butterflies and other insects.


Choosing the best host plants for monarch butterflies is the first step in creating a thriving butterfly habitat. By selecting milkweed varieties like common milkweed, swamp milkweed, and butterfly weed, you provide essential food and shelter for monarch caterpillars and adults. Combine host plants with proper habitat creation techniques and the use of gardening products to attract, support, and conserve monarch butterflies in your garden. Start your monarch butterfly conservation journey today and enjoy the beauty and wonder these majestic insects bring to your outdoor space.