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ST. PAUL, Minn. - The monarchs are migrating north. So far they've made it to southern Iowa.

The University of Minnesota's Katie-Lyn Bunney says, "Most of them should be here within the next couple weeks. Last year they got here the last week of May so we're kind of expecting them to be the same this year."

The monarch population is on the decline, mainly because they just don't have the habitat they need to thrive. So if planting some flowers is in your weekend plans, consider choosing butterfly-friendly plants. Milkweed is the big one.

"Milkweed is the only host plant for monarchs, that means that's the only thing monarch caterpillars eat so without milkweed we don't have monarchs," warns Bunney.

Recommended milkweeds:

  • Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
  • Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
  • Butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
  • Whorled milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)
  • Poke milkweed (Asclepias exaltata)

She adds, "People think it's a weed and that it's bad for their gardens but it's a native plant and it's very beneficial to a lot of pollinators in Minnesota."

And for the adults to eat, you'll want to plant native flowers. Be sure to choose a few that have different bloom times from the list below to make sure the monarchs have food to eat all season long. Happy planting!

Recommended nectar plants:

Late spring/early summer blooms:

  • onions (Allium spp.)
  • columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
  • indigo (Baptisia spp.)
  • coreopsis (Coreopsis spp)
  • coneflowers (Echinacea spp.)
  • larkspurs (Delphinium spp.)
  • blanket flowers (Gaillardia spp.)
  • geranium (Geranium spp.)
  • flax (Linum lewisii)
  • lupine (Lupinus perennis)
  • phlox (Phlox spp.)
  • sage (Salvia spp.)
  • sedum (Sedumspp.)
  • spiderwort (Tradescantia spp.)
  • verbenas (Verbena spp.)
  • violets (Viola spp.)
  • golden alexander (Zizia spp.)

Mid-Summer blooms:

  • yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
  • Giant hyssop (Agastache spp.)
  • onions (Allium spp.)
  • leadplant (Amorphaspp.)
  • columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
  • sage (Artemisia spp.)
  • milkweeds (Asclepias spp.)
  • indigo (Baptisia spp.)
  • tall bellflower (Campanula americana)
  • coreopsis (Coreopsis spp)
  • larkspurs (Delphinium spp.)
  • coneflower (Echinaceaspp.)
  • blanket flowers (Gaillardia spp.)
  • blazing star (Liatris spp.)
  • geranium (Geranium spp.)
  • aster (Symphyotrichumspp.)
  • beebalm (Monarda spp.)
  • cardinal flower (Lobelia spp.)
  • lupine (Lupinus perennis)
  • sage (Salvia spp.)
  • sedum (Sedum spp.)
  • Goldenrods (Solidago spp.)
  • spiderwort (Tradescantia spp.)
  • verbenas (Verbena spp.)
  • ironweeds (Vernonia spp.)
  • violets (Viola spp.)
  • golden alexander (Zizia spp.)
  • joe-pye weed (Eupatorium spp.)
  • sunflowers (Helianthus spp. )
  • cup plant/compass plant (Silphium spp.)

Late summer/Fall blooms:

  • yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
  • Giant hyssop (Agastache spp.)
  • onions (Allium spp.)
  • sage (Artemisiaspp.)
  • milkweeds (Asclepias spp.)
  • joe-pye weed (Eupatorium spp.)
  • tall bellflower (Campanula americana)
  • coreopsis (Coreopsis spp)
  • coneflower (Echinacea spp.)
  • blanket flowers (Gaillardia spp.)
  • sunflowers (Helianthus spp. )
  • geranium (Geranium spp.)
  • blazing star (Liatris spp.)
  • cardinal flower (Lobelia spp.)
  • beebalm (Monarda spp.)
  • sage (Salvia spp.)
  • sedum (Sedum spp.)
  • Goldenrods (Solidago spp.)
  • aster (Symphyotrichum spp.)
  • spiderwort (Tradescantiaspp.)
  • verbenas (Verbena spp.)
  • ironweeds (Vernonia spp.)
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