Plan now for planting wildflowers to attract wildlife

Courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.

Courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.

Urban gardeners can help with the loss of habitat for species such as the monarch butterfly by planting native wildflowers. And the Missouri Department of Conservation is urging homeowners to get ready to plant when the weather is right.

Now is a good time to start planning for establishing pollinator-friendly wildflowers in home landscaping, according to Lisa Potter of the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). Such plantings can attract birds and butterflies to lawns and gardens, she says.

Flowers such as purple coneflower provide colorful blooms and nectar for butterflies. Birds such as American goldfinch often alight on native prairie plants. Native plants also offer advantages in that they can survive Missouri’s climate swings through drought, wet, hot or cold, according to the department.

When planted by seed, native flowers are often more successful when seeded in December through February. Now is the time to evaluate fields and gardens to determine how best to prepare the site for planting.

“People should plan now so they’ll be ready when the weather and timing is right,” Potter says.

The department has experts available to help people choose sites and figure out what steps to follow.

Besides helping pollinator insects such as butterflies, native wildflowers are also colorful. The plantings also provide excellent wildlife habitat. Native grasses and wildflowers are a good choice for anyone seeking to boost wildlife on their property, the department says.

Primer on how to use native plants

Missouri Prairie Foundation information and links to helpful sites such as native seed sources

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