Monarchs and other pollinators depend predominately on native plants. Whenever possible, grow or purchase local genotype native plants. Native plants have co-evolved in their native habitats with other plants and wildlife, such as insect pollinators. Local genotype native plants are vigorous and hardy. Adapted to their region, they can survive winter cold and summer heat. The deep roots of native plants, especially those of prairie plants, trees, and shrubs, control soil erosion and withstand droughts. Native plants, once established, require little watering and are better at tolerating native pests.


Nectar plants should be grown in warm and sunny areas that should be protected from the wind by large shrubs, hedge rows, or fences. Nectar plants provide nectar for pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Nectar is a kind of sugar water that contains amino acids, proteins, organic acids, and vitamins. It serves as a fuel and is the only source of energy for pollinators. Monarchs need sugar to fuel their search for mates and egg-laying sites. Without nectar, pollinators cannot fly. Pick from early, mid-, and late-flowering species and have at least three different kinds of plants in bloom at any time.


Check out the list of Native Nectar Plants for Tennessee. Try growing some of these native plants in your butterfly habitat! Native Milkweeds are also included in the list. Not only is milkweed a host plant for monarch caterpillars, but it can also be used as a nectar plant for adult monarchs and other pollinators. The flowers of the milkweed plant support a variety of pollinators.


Native Nectar Plants List