Plant Your Own Garden


All animals need habitat – food, water, shelter and space in a suitable arrangement. Thankfully it is not difficult to provide habitat for pollinators, even if you don’t have much space. Lots of small gardens will make a BIG difference!

  1. Where to Plant

    Butterflies and pollinators are cold blooded, and become inactive in temperatures below 50 degrees.
    Choose a sunny spot for your garden – a south exposure that remains in the sun most of the day is ideal.
    If possible choose an area that …

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  2. What to Plant

    We strongly recommend planting native wildflowers. They are adapted to growing in Iowa, do not need fertilizer or heavy watering, and preserve Iowa’s natural prairie history. In addition, our native butterflies are attracted to Iowa native plants.
    Native plant nurseries sell …

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  3. How to Plant

    Broadcast seed, order started plants from the nursery, or start your own plants!
    Most nurseries will provide you with detailed planting instructions.  We will summarize them here.
    The first step is to measure your planting site so that you can calculate how …

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  4. How to Maintain

    Gardens that have been broadcast seeded:

    Keep mowed at 4-6 inches the first year
    Mow as needed the second year, control problem weed areas
    Burn every two to three years
    Burn late March through mid-April
    Burn rotating sections, not entire site (this protects wintering …

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  5. Garden Guests

    Garden Guests
    Ten common visitors to your pollinator garden
    Remember, a pollinator garden is a little different than the gardens that most of us are used to.  You WANT your visitors to eat your garden!!  So as those monarch caterpillars are …

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  6. Make Your Garden Irresistible

    Taking a few of these simple steps will make your garden irresistible to butterflies.
    Plant native flowering plants – Because many butterflies and native flowering plants have co-evolved over time and depend on each other for survival and reproduction, it is …

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  7. Register Your Garden

    Help us meet our goal to register 100 pollinator gardens in our second year of Monarch Mania!
    The garden need not be large – all it needs are one pollinator species and one host plant species for caterpillars. This …

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