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A rainbow of butterfly garden plants

June 11, 2013 by

Butterflies have excellent taste.

They are attracted to delightful plants with beautiful colors, different sizes and interesting foliage. Even better, many butterfly garden plants are low-maintenance.

Homestead Purple Verbena

Homestead Purple Verbena

A few of my favorites:

Verbena canadensis ‘Homestead Purple’ Garden Verbena
Large, fragrant flower clusters top ground-hugging stems with attractive toothed foliage. Excellent colorful dense groundcover or foreground plant. Blooms over long period. Perennial. Reaches 6 to 12 inches tall, spreading 24 to 36 inches wide.

Scabiosa columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue’ Pincushion Flower
Tidy plants are valued for mass bedding effects or mixed perennial borders. Perfect for container gardens. Beautiful Dutch blue flowers with intricate centers resembling a pin cushion atop wiry stems. Blooms over a long period. Herbaceous perennial. Rapid growth to 1 foot tall and slightly wider.

Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’ Goldenrod
Produces 18-inch long arching spires of brilliant golden yellow flowers in opposing directions. Whole plant becomes like one giant firework in full bloom. Slowly spreading rhizome produces large clumps for easy division. Tolerant of wet soils. Fast growth to 3 feet tall, 4 feet in bloom, and spreads to 4 feet wide.

Starfire Phlox

Starfire Phlox

Eupatorium dubium ‘Baby Joe’ Joe Pye Weed
This lovely mid-sized selection of Joe-Pye Weed is perfect for smaller gardens. It forms a bushy upright mound of coarse dark-green leaves, bearing large umbrella-like heads of magenta-pink flowers in late summer. A butterfly magnet, “Baby Joe” is suitable for planting in moist to wet areas and an ideal focal point in a large container or tub. Flowers are terrific for cutting. Grows to 30 inches tall and wide.

Phlox paniculata ‘Starfire’
This is a garden phlox cultivar that typically grows in an upright clump up to 3 feet tall. Fragrant, tubular flowers (1/2″ to 1 inch diameter) with long corolla tubes and five flat petal-like lobes are bright deep red. Individual flowers are densely arranged atop stiff, upright stems that seldom need staking. Long summer bloom sometimes extends into early fall. Grows 2 to 3 feet tall and wide.

Salvia x sylvestris May Night Salvia
This clump-forming, compact salvia features numerous, dense, upright, spike-like racemes of tiny, violet-blue flowers that rise above gray-green foliage to a height of 18 to 24 inches. Flowers bloom in May and June and may rebloom sporadically if faded flowers are promptly cut back. Excellent fresh cut flower and a member of the mint family.

Butterfly Weed Asclepias Tuberosa

Butterfly Weed Asclepias Tuberosa

Asclepias tuberosa Butterfly Weed
Butterflies, especially monarchs, love this summer flowering perennial. Attractive red buds open to orange flowers. A well-behaved plant that needs little attention. Tolerates poor, well-drained soil. Fast growing with upright stems to 3 feet tall.

Butterfly gardens helps conserve butterfly species that are quickly disappearing. Set up your outdoor furniture near the display so you can enjoy the plants – and their visitors.


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