Bring Back the Monarchs to Texas

Help us bring the Monarchs back to Texas!

Monarch on white mistflower
Monarch on white mistflower, by Linda Griffith

Did you see the Monarchs migrating north in the spring? Or maybe you saw the Monarchs flying south through Texas to return to Mexico in the fall. If so, you might have noticed that there were fewer than there used to be. The Native Plant Society of Texas is doing its part to reverse this population decline.

Texas provides critical habitat on the main migration pathway to and from the Monarchs’ winter home in Mexico. The availability of milkweed and nectar plants has dropped sharply in Texas. Milkweeds act as host plants for Monarch caterpillars to eat and are essential to the Monarchs’ breeding success. Nectar plants are needed by adult butterflies to supply the energy to fly and lay eggs.  Both are required for Monarchs to reproduce and migrate successfully.

Modern farming practices, pesticides, drought patterns, and the mowing and manicuring of roadsides, parks and open areas have all had a negative impact on the native plants Monarchs use and on the number of Monarchs surviving for the southbound journey to Mexico.

The Native Plant Society of Texas and Monarch Watch created the “Bring Back the Monarchs to Texas” (BBMT) program in a joint effort to educate members and the public about Monarch biology and conservation, to encourage propagation and distribution of native milkweeds that support Monarch reproduction, and to restore Monarch habitats throughout Texas.

Our annual BBMT grant program makes grants available to schools, nature centers and other organizations, to create additional Monarch habitat using native Texas plants.

Our BBMT committee also helps arrange in-person and remote education opportunities for all Texans on all aspects of Monarch biology and conservation, Monarch habitats, and gardening for Monarchs. To date, hundreds of Monarch garden habitats have been installed, and tens of thousands of people have attended our educational programs.

A Bring Back the Monarchs to Texas (BBMT) fund has been established to collect donations that fund the BBMT grant program and make other education and conservation efforts of the Bring Back the Monarchs to Texas committee possible.

Businesses, clubs, individuals, and Native Plant Society of Texas chapters can donate to the BBMT fund online or by sending a check to our NPSOT state office with a note designating the check for the BBMT fund.

Garden Grants

Monarch Garden Grants The Native Plant Society of Texas awards small grants to nature centers, schools, educational groups and others to help fund development of Monarch demonstration gardens or Monarch Waystations

Image of black, yellow, and white striped caterpillar munching on a leaf

Monarch & Milkweed Resources

Learn about Monarchs Learn about the Monarch Butterfly   Learn about Milkweed Texas Parks and Wildlife Identification of Milkweeds (Illustrated Guide) Learn about Butterfly Gardens Wildflower Center guide to making

Patch of purple flowers with a butterfly

Monarch Waystation Requirements

Monarch Waystations are places that provide all the resources necessary for monarchs to produce successive generations and sustain their migration. A Monarch Waystation needs milkweeds, nectar plants, and some kind of

Frequently Asked Questions

Contact us at or call our State Office at 830.997.9272. You can also look at our Speaker’s Bureau to find speakers and presentations about Monarchs.

Grant funds can only be spent for native plants and seeds of native plants. They may not be used for benches, rocks, signs, border materials, soil, amendments or other non-plant items.

They can also not be used for non-native plants. Under no circumstances can NPSPOT funds be used for Tropical Milkweed, Asclepias curassavica.

Most schools, community groups and garden clubs can qualify for a grant if their garden plan meets the requirements for a Monarch Waystation, and they are planning a garden in a public place. Monarch Waystations need three basic things: host plants (milkweeds), nectar plants, and some kind of dense plant for shelter.

Native Plant Society members, chapters and volunteers are encouraged to recruit and aid other organizations, schools and individuals to write grant applications. Though NPSOT chapter projects are eligible, they are not given special priority.

Our intent is to provide outreach and education to our communities in high visibility public locations. School gardens may be located in areas that the general public cannot access, since schools are considered to have a built-in population.

Yes, we will accept applications for additional plants for existing gardens.

Monarchs need two categories of plants to eat from, and also plants to help them hide.

  • They need milkweed (various Asclepias species) to eat in the caterpillar stage. Got Milkweed? Monarchs need it to survive!
  • They also need nectar plants to provide nutrition and energy in the mature stage.  Some good native nectar plants include Liatris species, Maximilian Sunflower, Verbenas, Joe Pye Weed, Goldenrods, Purple Coneflowers and various “Mistflower” species, such as Gregg’s Mistflower and Shrubby Boneset.
  • A dense shelter plant like a large clump grass or evergreen shrub is helpful to keep Monarchs safe in bad weather.

Check with your local native nurseries first. You could also raise native milkweed from seed. Native American Seed has a variety of native milkweed seed available. Many Native Plant Society and Texas Master Naturalist chapters have plant sales that may sell native milkweed.

Be sure that plants you buy from a nursery have not been treated with any pesticides, since these will kill Monarch larvae we are trying to help.

You may be able to order milkweed plugs through Monarch Watch’s Milkweed Market. All of the plants available through Monarch Watch will be species appropriate for your region. Some groups or individuals may qualify for free milkweed plugs. All of Monarchs Watch’s milkweed programs are described on their website here:

We have a short list of the more common native milkweeds here.

Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center have a booklet on Texas Milkweeds published online that can be downloaded here.

For the differences between Antelope Horns Milkweed and Green Milkweed, read here at Carol’s World.

Here’s more information on Antelope Horns from the Native Plant Society of Texas.

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About the Region

New Braunfels, the location of our Fall 2024 Symposium, straddles both the Edwards Plateau Ecoregion and the Blackland Prairie ecoregion. Interstate 35 divides the city of New Braunfels; its path through the city closely parallels the boundary of these two ecoregions, with the Edwards Plateau on the west side and the Blackland Prairies region to the east. The Edwards Plateau area is also called the Hill Country; however, this general term covers a much larger area extending farther north. Spring-fed creeks are found throughout the region; deep limestone canyons, rivers, and lakes (reservoirs) are common. Ashe juniper is perhaps the most common woody species found throughout the region. Additional woody species include various species of oak, with live oak (Quercus fusiformis) being the most common. Sycamores (Platanus occidentalis) and bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) border waterways. This area is well known for its spring wildflower displays, though they may be viewed in spring, late summer, and fall, as well. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, average annual rainfall in the Edwards Plateau ranges from 15 to 34 inches.

The Blackland Prairie extends from the Red River south to San Antonio, bordered on the west by the Edwards Plateau and the Cross Timbers, and on the east by the Post Oak Savannah. Annual rainfall averages 30 to 40 inches, with higher averages to the east. This region is dominated by prairie species. The most common grass species include little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans) in the uplands and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) in the riparian areas and drainages. Common herbaceous flowering plants include salvias, penstemons, and silphiums. This area has suffered greatly from overgrazing and agricultural use. Few intact areas remain, though many of the plants can be found along county roadsides throughout the region.

Our four host chapters (New Braunfels, Lindheimer, Guadalupe, and the Hill Country chapters) are located in one or both of the ecoregions above. However, the eastern portion of Guadalupe County also falls within the Post Oak Savanna ecoregion. Annual rainfall averages 35 to 45 inches, with higher averages to the east. A wide variety of hardwood trees are found, including several species of oaks, elms, and in the Bastrop area, loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). Grasses and forbs dominate in the open savannas, with most common grass being little bluestem. Ranching, agriculture, and fire suppression have allowed woody species to encroach on the once-open savannas.

Source: Wildflowers of Texas by Michael Eason