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Late-Blooming Plants Can Help Fall Migrants

Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Many of us associate migration with spring and fall, because the majority of migration is seasonal. In the spring, we plant and tend flowerbeds, and anticipate the colorful blooms that are the reward for our hard work. In the fall, many stop tending flowerbeds, not realizing that planting and caring for some late-blooming plants can provide a critical rest stop for fall migrating animals.

 

Hummingbirds and a variety of butterflies fly south from their breeding grounds in North America until as late in the year as December. You can help them survive the stress of migration by providing cover, a source of water, and nectar from native wildflowers. The epic journeys of tiny ruby-throated hummingbirds, which summer as far north as eastern Canada and spend the winter as far south as Panama, begin in mid-July and can last until late November.

 

The monarch butterfly also migrates through Arkansas in the fall. The northernmost members of the species leave Canada in late summer and the last stragglers do not arrive at their overwintering sites in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico until December. Among the other butterflies that undertake migrations of various lengths are the painted lady, red admiral, common buckeye, long-tailed skipper, clouded skipper and cloudless sulfur.

 

In planning for your garden next year, remember to consider native wildflowers that will bloom into fall. Not only will you have color in your yard, you can help make migration a little less arduous for these lovely creatures on the move. Fall flowers to consider for your garden include: cardinal flower and bee balm for hummingbirds and asters, goldenrods, blazing stars, and sunflowers for butterflies. Download a copy of our Native Plant Guide to assist you in planning your fall garden.


Cardinal flower

beebalm

blazing star 



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