Template Maintenance Guide

Monarch Butterfly Waystation and Pollinator Garden 

Sample Template Plant Maintenance Guide


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A waystation and pollinator garden should be at least 100 square feet and have clusters of nectar flowers. Be sure to keep your garden firesafe by cutting back woody shrubs, keeping your garden hydrated, and planting low-growing plant varieties.

*Monarch butterfly waystations MUST have at least 9 milkweed plants (3 clusters of 3 plants).

Plants included in the sample template



Habitat Value



1) Showy milkweed Asclepias speciosa *

Plant starts in Spring. Mark plant sites and avoid disturbing when dormant in Winter.  Leave dead plants in the winter for insect shelter. Watch for eggs and cocoons in spring. 

Host plants for monarchs. Adults lay eggs here, and when they hatch this is the only food larvae will eat. Nectar rich flowers for all pollinators. Toxic to pets!

3-5 ft



3-4 ft

2) Narrowleaf milkweed Asclepias fasicularis *

Plant in spring. Mark plant sites and avoid disturbing when dormant in Winter. Watch for eggs and cocoons in spring.

Host plant for monarchs. Adults lay eggs here, and when they hatch this is the only food larvae will eat. Nectar rich flowers for all pollinators. Toxic to pets!

1-2 ft

.5-1 ft

3) California poppy Eschscholzia californica

Plants will go dormant in summer without irrigation. 

Attracts pollinators and provides seeds for birds.

1 ft

1 ft

4) Black eyed Susan “goldsturm” Rudbeckia hirta

Leave seed heads standing in winter as a food source for goldfinches and other wildlife.

Loved by bees. Goldfinches love the seeds in winter.

2-3 ft

1.5-2 ft

5) Woolly sunflower Eriophyllum lanatum


Host plant for 7 butterflies and moths. Nectar rich

10 in or 2-3 ft

3 ft

6) Yarrow “moonshine” Achillea millefolium

Dead head spent blooms to lengthen bloom time.

Hosts many moths and butterflies.

1-3 ft

2 ft

7) Buckwheat “Shasta sulfur” Eriogonum umbellatum

Dead head spent blooms to lengthen bloom time.

One of the most valuable pollinator and host plants. California buckwheat creates its own little insect world.

1.5-3 ft 

2-3 ft

8) Coyote mint Monardella villosa

Dead head spent blooms to promote longer bloom time.

Hosts 7-9 species of moths and butterflies. Great nectar source.

1-3 ft

2-3 ft

9) Cleveland sage “pozo blue” Salvia clevlandii


Attractive to butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, and birds.

1-3 ft

5 ft

10) De la Mina lilac verbena Verbena lilacina


Pollinators go wild for these flowers!

2-3 ft

4 ft


Additional plants that are also great options

Native plants


Habitat value



Coyote bush “Pigeon Point” (Baccharis pilularis)


Hosts 11 moths and butterflies, small white flowers attract many pollinators. Provides cover for small birds and mammals.

1.5-2 ft

10-12 ft

Manzanita “Howard McMinn” (Arctostaphylos)

Plant on a small mound to improve drainage.

Moths, butterflies, hummingbirds, and berry eating birds. Winter nectar source.

8-10 ft

8-10 ft

California Lilac “Skylark” (Ceanothus)


Hosts 14 butterflies and moths. Provides nectar for butterflies and bees. Supports birds.

4-6 ft

9-12 ft

Monkey Flower (Mimulus)


Host plant for the common buckeye butterfly. Great nectar source.

2-3 ft

2-3 ft

California Fuchsia (Zauschneria or Epilobium)


Hosts 15 butterflies and moths, including the White-lined Sphinx Moth. Attracts hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, and other pollinators

1-2 ft

2-3 ft

Non-native plants





Butterfly bush (Buddleia)


Does not offer the host value of natives but a bountiful nectar source spring through fall for butterflies and pollinators.

Depends on variety


Lantana provides mass amounts of blooms which makes feeding for pollinators easier and more efficient.

As an exotic it supplies little host value but does offer a three-season supply of nectar for pollinators. However, it is toxic to dogs and cats

Depends on variety

Mexican sunflower (Tithonia)

Plant in a location sheltered from the wind. Butterflies appreciate this!

Provides fast inexpensive nectar source from a package of seeds. A bee and butterfly magnet that monarchs love.

A great low-cost strategy for fast masses of nectar plants before planting native perennials in the 

3-5 ft

2-3 ft

Zinnia elegans (flat varieties, no fluffy varieties!)

Spread Sluggo to control snails and watch for cucumber beetles that should be squished if you see them. No pesticides please!

An inexpensive way to produce lots of habitat for large projects quickly while waiting to plant your native garden in the fall. Be sure to plant only flat varieties.

1-3 ft

1-1.5 ft



  • Calscape.org
  • Calfloranursery.com
  • Laspilitas.com