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

Below are step by step instructions, with associated guidance materials, that are specific to a monarch garden. For information on creating a pollinator garden, you may also want to visit this How To guide from the City's Sustainable Neighborhood Toolkit.
  1. DESIGN: Review the STL Monarch Mix list of recommended plants. 
  2. FIND: Check the Finding Plants Guide if you need assistance locating STL Monarch Mix plants. 
  3. CREATE: The back side of the Milkweeds for Monarchs Overview Brochure has instructions for how to create a garden. 
  4. SIGN: Register your new Monarch garden (see below), request a free garden sign, and be kept apprised of events.
  5. CARE: Follow the Plant Care Tips when caring for your Monarch garden.
  6. SHARE: Enjoy your garden and the butterflies that visit! Share photos via or Tweet them to @GreeninSTL.
  7. Use the Journey North app to report your monarch sightings.

Milkweeds for Monarchs Garden Criteria 

We encourage you to meet the following criteria to register your garden on the City's map:
  • 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 progress!

Other Monarch Information

Check out the following resources to learn more about monarchs and monarch gardens:

City of St. Louis Monarch Conservation Efforts Map
Grant Report to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Monarch Gardens for Schools Educator Guide
Selected Readings and Resources on Monarchs

The Great MonArch Migration Event Photos -2017

The Great MonArch Migration Event 2018

The Great MonArchs Migration Event

September 2018: The City & National Park Service held The Great MonArch Migration Event 2018. The festival included monarch-themed activities, free plants, seeds and information, and opportunities to learn from pollinator experts at the Arch. The 2018 Event Flyer lists activities, photo galleries are available, as is the Show Me Saint Louis Video (2017).


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