In­vite More But­ter­flies

Col­or­ful, easy-to-grow plants for a nec­tar-packed gar­den.

Birds & Blooms - - Top 10 - BY LUKE MILLER

1 But­ter­fly weed

AS­CLE­PIAS TUBEROSA, ZONES 3 TO 9 Dis­tinc­tive clus­ters of bright or­ange flow­ers are a must-stop des­ti­na­tion for but­ter­flies, es­pe­cially monar­chs and black swal­low­tails. Af­ter all, it didn’t get its name for noth­ing. But­ter­fly weed grows 1 to 2 1/2 feet tall and blooms from mid- to late sum­mer. It tol­er­ates dry soil and prefers plenty of sunshine.

Why we love it: The showy bright or­ange blooms are deer re­sis­tant and drought tol­er­ant, and but­ter­fly weed is easy to grow from seed and su­per re­silient—a ma­jor win!

2 Cleome

CLEOME HASSLERIAN­A, AN­NUAL This old-time gar­den fa­vorite, also called spi­der flower, gets its com­mon name from the long and thread­like flower sta­mens and elon­gated seed­pods. Cul­ti­vars come in white, pink, rose or pur­ple flow­ers and quickly reach 5 to 6 feet tall. Newer cul­ti­vars, be­tween 12 and 18 inches tall, are suit­able for con­tain­ers.

Why we love it: Cleome is a bright, re­silient flower that read­ily self-seeds new gen­er­a­tions. In ad­di­tion to but­ter­flies, bees and hum­ming­birds also love it.

3 Pen­tas


If you like but­ter­flies, you sim­ply must grow pen­tas. These bright an­nu­als, also known as starflow­ers, are easy to spot from afar. Just look for the large clus­ters of star­like flow­ers in bright pinks, reds and whites. They’re full of nec­tar and real but­ter­fly mag­nets. And aside from be­ing frost sen­si­tive, they’re pretty hardy. Shorter cul­ti­vars work well in pots, while taller pen­tas can be in­ter­spersed with other com­pan­ions in beds.

Why we love it: It’s an an­nual that has the size and pres­ence of a peren­nial.

4 Meadow blaz­ing star

LIATRIS LIGULISTYL­IS, ZONES 3 TO 8 While any liatris at­tracts pol­li­na­tors, spindly meadow blaz­ing star is one of the monarch but­ter­fly’s ab­so­lute fa­vorite nec­tar sources. The long-last­ing flow­ers range from rose to pur­ple and ap­pear in late sum­mer on stalks reach­ing 4 to 6 feet high.

Why we love it: Very showy flow­ers pop up late in the grow­ing sea­son when color is needed; tall plants make but­ter­fly view­ing easy.

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