The Key to a Succesful Monarch Butterfly Garden:
As stated on the home page of this web site, in order to have a successful Monarch Butterfly garden, you must first plant at least one milkweed plant. The milkweed is essential to the life cycle of of the Monarch Butterfly. Milkweed is the only plant Monarch Butterfly caterpillars can eat. The female Monarch Butterfly is attracted to this plant like a magnet. The female monarch butterfly knows this plant by site. It is the only plant she will lay her eggs on. Even if your milkweed has no flowers on it, the female Monarch Butterfly will stop and lay her eggs on your milkweed plants. Usually she will lay her eggs on the underside of the milkweed leaves, but I have observed them laying their eggs on the tops of the leaves, on the seed pods and on the stems of the milkweed.
You may want to plant several milkweed plants and you may want to plant more than one variety of milkweed plant. The first year when we did not know what we were doing yet, we only bought one milkweed plant. The Monarch Butterfly caterpillars mauled this poor plant. They layed so many eggs on it that the Monarch Butterfly caterpillars ate every single flower, leaf and young stem off that plant. We now have about 10 milkweed plants and lots of Monarch Butterfly activity from Spring to Fall.
Instead of buying live plants, you can also buy milkweed seeds from various nurseries and suppliers on the Internet and grow your own. You can acquire milkweed seeds for many different varieties of milkweed at Butterfly Encounters.