Monarch Life Cycle

Monarch Meal Plan

First generation monarchs are born when overwintering monarchs return from Mexico in late April or early May. These monarchs lay eggs on a milkweed host plant. A milkweed plant is the primary food source for the monarch caterpillar.


Asclepias tuberosa
Butterfly Weed
Asclepias syriaca
Common Milkweed
Asclepias viridus
Spider Milkweed


Two more generations of monarchs are born over the summer months from mid May to mid August. Milkweed plants are still needed for the caterpillars. Our summer monarch butterflies require nectar rich plants as their food source. 


Asclepias incarnata

Rose Milkweed

Echinacea purpurea

Purple Coneflower

Monarda fistulosa

Wild Bergamot


The 4th generation is born mid August. This is the generation that migrates to Mexico. These monarchs require a premium nectar source of quality protein to make the long journey to Mexico.


Liatris scariosa var niewlandii

Northern Blazing Star

Solidago speciosa

Showy Goldenrod

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

New England Aster


There are many other quality native plants to provide a food source for the monarchs. The above listed species are plants that are available and establish well, either from seed or from plant material. They are also known and proven to be monarch favorites. If these species do not meet site requirements, please contact us at and we gladly assist in choosing other desirable species.


Download 3B's Monarch Meal Plan >