Perennials For Monarchs
Native perennials offer the best support for Monarch butterflies.The most important is the milkweed - Asclepias genus, because the female Monarch lays eggs exclusively only on milkweed plants. All the milkweed species are poisonous and make the Monarch caterpillars unpalatable for their predators.
In early season, caterpillars can feed on milkweeds with bigger and thicker leaves like common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) or showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa). The leaves become firmer later in the season and caterpillars will hatch preferably on species with smaller and softer leaves like butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa), whorled milkweed (Asclepias verticillata), swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) or others. Also Monarchs that start feeding on certain species of milkweed has to stay on the same hosting species (they won' t adapt from butterfly milkweed to whorled milkweed, for example).
Our offer also includes different varieties of nectar plants, especially late flowering perennials which are important during the fall migration to the south.
Any milkweed is useful, but for the list of the best regional milkweed species, visit Xerxes's Regional Milkweed Guide.