What Flowers Do Monarch Butterflies Eat?

Monarch butterflies like to feed on different flowering plants because they have a long proboscis, as their prime diet is nectar from various plants. They live in the wild, urban, suburban, and rural areas with many food sources and migrate to wintering sites to spend the cold season.

What Flowers Do Monarch Butterflies Eat? Monarch butterflies can eat many flowering plants, such as Milkweed, Brazilian Verbena, Lilac, Butterfly bushes, Mexican sunflower, Zinnia, Lantana, Goldenrod, Cosmos, Saliva, Yarrow, Coneflower, and Aster. They are attracted to their bright colors, fragrances, and nectar.

People grow different native plants to attract these beautiful butterflies. Moreover, they also hold spiritual significance for many people in different cultures, and they love to raise and attract butterflies in their houses.


Milkweed is one of the most famous and significant plants to attract monarch butterflies because they feed on its nectar and lay eggs, as it serves as the host plant for these fascinating creatures.

The female butterfly searches for the specific type of milkweed plant to lay the eggs because the caterpillars only eat these leaves and do not consume other flowers in the surroundings.

For example, my friend told me about various species of milkweed that monarch butterflies eat in the wild, such as Swamp milkweed, Common milkweed, Whorled milkweed, Whitestem milkweed, Wheel milkweed, Slim milkweed, and Rush milkweed.

He said they also consume the nectar from Blunt-leaved milkweed, Desert milkweed, Red milkweed, Pallid milkweed, California milkweed, Woolly milkweed, White milkweed, Green milkweed, Showy milkweed, Horsetail milkweed, Serpentine milkweed, and many other milkweed plant species around their habitat.

Brazilian Verbena

Brazilian Verbena is the magnet plant that attracts monarch butterflies because they love to feed on this nectar-rich plant with purple flowers that bloom from summer to early winter.

These are the common plants in North America and have a force of attraction for different species, as this perennial flowering plant draws many pollinators to your yards.

It blooms in sunny weather and is drought tolerant, and butterflies get nectar from these plants in dry seasons.


They like to feed on the nectar of lilac plants because the newly discovered species of these plants are mildew-resistant and provide better feeding opportunities to these butterflies.

The Bloomerang lilac blooms in many cycles throughout the year and allows more access to nectar in various repeating cycles.

The dark purple flowers emerge from mid to late spring with dense and tall shrubs of 4-5 feet. The long blooming season allows more food availability, and the tubular buds make it easy for them to cling and suck the nectar.

Butterfly bushes

The butterfly bush is a long-term blooming and fast-growing flowering shrub that attracts many butterfly species, including the monarch. The fragrance and bright color cause them to come and feed on these shrubs.

My neighbor told me that it can survive the hot weather conditions and provide nectar in summer season.

He had planted these purple-colored shrubs in his yard, and many monarch butterflies came to feed from these plants as they get adequate nectar to take flights and gather energy.

Mexican Sunflower

Mexican sunflower plants are famous for attracting monarch butterflies because they have bright orange and red velvet petals and are easy to grow and care for.

It is one of my top flowering plants to add to my garden to attract these beautiful flying creatures, and I am excited and happy to share that hundreds of butterflies visit this plant in the migrating season.

Moreover, other reasons for these species to feed on this plant are easy feeding, long-term blooming, and fewer pest attractions. However, they do not lay eggs on this plant.


One or two zinnia plants in your garden serve as the happy feeding site for monarch butterflies. It has broad open space flowers with different colors of white, pink, red, purple, and yellow. It also allows them to suck the nectar without problems as they land on the leaves and stick their feet on the petals.

It is a late summer feeding plant for these butterflies, as they feed on zinnia plants on their migratory journey to central Mexico through different routes.

The caterpillars do not feed on this plant, as they only eat the leaves of milkweed plants to store the poison from milkweed leaves.


Lantana needs full sun and drained soil to grow and attract monarch butterflies because these beautiful creatures love to feed on the nectar of lantana.

These are tiny, star-looking flowers with tubular shapes with clusters of bright colors mixed to attract many pollinators.

This plant blooms from late spring to frost and is available throughout the warmer climates.


Goldenrod flowers bloom like fireworks because they have a bright yellow color.

Monarch butterflies feed on goldenrod plants because they bloom in the sunlight when they are active and foraging the nectar-rich food sources.

My cousin told me that this plant is often confused with the ragweed, but the flowers of rage weed are less vivid and bright compared to the goldenrod.

He further said that goldenrod plants are the significant food sources for flocks of monarch butterflies in autumn, and the later season goldenrod plants include showy goldenrods and stiff goldenrods.

Sulphur cosmos

Sulphur cosmos is another famous annual plant that attracts monarch butterflies because they are observed feeding happily on its nectar due to its abundant flowers.

They do not lay eggs on it, and monarch caterpillars do not eat the leaves and flowers of this plant. Moreover, my colleague told me that it blooms from summer to fall.

It is resistant to heat and can grow in dry conditions, which causes them to eat from this plant when other nectar-producing plants are scarce.


I have grown the salvia plants in my garden for monarch butterflies because my uncle told me these beautiful orange and black-winged flying insects siphon the nectar from salvia.

Salvia has many flowering species and comes in various colors, such as red, purple, pink, brown, green, and yellow, while some plants have multicolor flowers.

They are attracted to the bright colors, and these plants grow 12-24 inches long, which allows easy access to these pollinators.

In addition, some saliva plants have a misty fragrance, while others have a sweet and spicy order, which causes monarchs to feed on the nectar of these plants.


Yarrow blooms throughout the summer and serves as a nectar-rich food source for monarch butterflies. This plant has many small flowers with white, yellow, red, and orange colors.

My brother has built a flower garden in his house and planted yarrows to attract different species. He told me that he noticed many monarchs feeding on these flowers because of their aromatic nature.

Moreover, there are 13 different types of yarrow plants, and many are native to North America. They do best in sunny weather and less moist soil.


Coneflower provides sweet nectar to these butterflies, and they profoundly feed on these plants. They usually siphon nectar from the purple coneflowers because there are many species of coneflower with different flower colors.

Some monarchs also feed from the red and pink color coneflower, and these plants can grow up to 18 to 36 inches. You can easily see them feeding on these plants.

I have also planted coneflowers in my garden and often observe newly emerged monarch butterflies sipping on their nectar.


Aster plants have blue, pink, white, and purple flowers, and monarch butterflies usually feed on these plants during their fall migration.

You can grow these plants during late summer to help the migrating butterflies through their journey to Mexico. They maintain their flights and successfully reach their destination.

However, these plants also attract many predatory insects and bugs. Therefore, make sure to keep these plants pest-free to avoid predation on butterflies.