As of late, many gardeners are looking to replace or add milkweed, the Asclepias species, to their landscape for the fall monarch butterfly migration. However, there is a reason why the plants are looking pitiful and it is part of nature's divine plan. Monarch butterflies make an incredible 2500 mile journey twice a year. Once in the spring from Mexico to Canada to mate, lay eggs and produce offspring and again in autumn, to return south to overwinter in the mountains of Mexico. In the fall, it is the responsibility of a single butterfly to make the journey. Fuel is needed for the trek south and nature's seasonal wildflowers help make this possible.
Goldenrod is a common 'weed' growing in prairies and along the roadside. The tall bloom stalk provides a high quantity of nectar for pollinating insects.
Mist flower's powder blue blooms can be seen growing in prairies, marsh, and meadows along the gulf coast in autumn.
Lantana is also a great source of nectar and a monarch favorite.
During autumn, nectar plants and water sources are more important for monarchs than the host plant, milkweed. Energy is necessary for the long journey south. Trust natures' plan and let your milkweed die back or prune to encourage migration rather than reproduction. Native grasses and autumn wildflowers are a spectacular addition to the home landscape. Not only will you enjoy the enchanted scenery but so will the monarch butterflies, bumblebees, and birds. In honor of the Monarch Migration, Buchanan's Native Plants will no longer carry milkweed after October 15. However, there are plenty of nectar plants looking for a home in the autumn butterfly garden. Fun Facts: Eastern Monarchs overwinter in Mexico and Western Monarchs overwinter in California. Each year, millions of monarchs arrive in Mexico around November 1st, "The Day of the Dead." Many Mexicans believe the butterflies carry the souls of their ancestors. Here is an informative video by PBS News about the Monarch Migration
*Headline photograph By Richiebits - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2824008