Milkweeds for Monarchs
The St. Louis Butterfly Project
About Milkweeds for Monarchs
On Earth Day 2014, former Mayor Francis Slay launched Milkweeds for Monarchs: The St. Louis Butterfly Project to help foster the connection between people and urban natural resources where they live, work, learn and play. Milkweeds for Monarchs (overview document here) aligns with the City of St. Louis Urban Vitality & Ecology effort, and advances objectives in the City of St. Louis Sustainability Plan. The City commenced the effort by establishing 50 monarch gardens in 2014; most of these gardens are located at fire houses and City parks across the City. The community was challenged to plant an additional 200 monarch gardens to celebrate the City's 250th birthday. Gardens that were created and registered appear on the Milkweeds for Monarchs Map (see left tab). The urban monarch conservation program was expanded in 2015 by reaching further into the community - such as at 50 urban schools - and was expanded again in 2016 to create a St. Louis Riverfront Butterfly Byway - a collection of sites totaling a 30-acre pollinator pathway, or corridor, along the Mississippi Riverfront. The St. Louis Riverfront Butterfly Byway was completed in the Spring of 2018, and will soon include 11 interpretive panels at prominent locations. Information relating to Milkweeds for Monarchs: The St. Louis Butterfly Project is listed below or found on the left tabs.
Steps to Creating and Caring For Your Monarch Garden
- DESIGN: Review the STL Monarch Mix list of recommended plants.
- FIND: Check the Finding Plants Guide if you need assistance locating STL Monarch Mix plants.
- CREATE: The back side of the Milkweeds for Monarchs Overview Brochure has instructions for how to create a monarch garden.
- REGISTER: Register your new monarch garden online for it to appear as a butterfly icon on the community map (see below).
- CARE: Follow the Plant Care Tips when caring for your monarch garden.
- SHARE: Enjoy your garden and the butterflies that visit! Share photos via firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet them to @STLSustainable.
- Use the iNaturalist or Journey North app to report your monarch sightings.
Milkweeds for Monarchs Garden Criteria
- Garden must be in the City of St. Louis.
- Garden should be newly planted or expanded (this may include adding STL Monarch Mix plants to a pre-existing garden).
- Garden should contain 4 milkweed plants representing at least 2 different milkweed species (example: 2 Butterfly Weed plants and 2 Swamp Milkweed plants).
- Garden should contain 5 nectar plants representing at least 3 different species (example: 2 Purple Coneflower plants, 2 Goldenrod plants, and 1 Black-Eyed Susan plant).
- In total, garden should contain a minimum of 9 plants, covering at least one square meter (approximately 9 square feet). Using the STL Monarch Mix is strongly recommended.
Register your monarch garden
Register your Garden to have it appear on the citywide map, and to help us count the number of monarch gardens created in the City.
View Map and Description of Monarch Gardens registered in the City of St. Louis to check on the citywide impact for creating monarch habitat!
Other Monarch Information
Check out the following resources to learn more about monarchs and monarch gardens:
- Tips on how to successfully grow milkweed (from Monarch Watch)
- Backyard Habitat Requirements for Monarch Butterflies
- Bee-Toxic Pesticides Found in “Bee-Friendly” Plants Sold at Garden Centers Gardeners Beware 2014 Report
- Guide to Native Milkweeds-Pollinator Plants of the Central United States
- Plant Ecology, Seed Production Methods, and Habitat Restoration Opportunities: Milkweeds-A Conservation Practitioner's Guide
- List of midwestern Best Nectar Plants for Monarchs
- Conservation Status and Ecology of the Monarch Butterfly in the United States
- Evaluation of Butterfly Gardens for Restoring Habitat for the Monarch Butterfly
- Selected Readings and Resources, such as monarch-related curriculum materials, citizen science and field guides
- Monarch Butterfly Conservation Webinar Series presented by the Monarch Joint Venture and the United States Fish & Wildlife Service
The Great MonArch Migration Events
The Great MonArch Migration Event
The City & National Park Service held The Great MonArch Migration Event in September of 2017 & 2018, and is planned for September 28, 2019 at the Gateway Arch National Park. Check back for details and how you can volunteer to help this celebration of the monarch butterfly migration. Photo galleries are available, as is the Show Me Saint Louis Video (2017).