Who doesn’t love butterflies in the garden? Butterflies are often called winged flowers themselves because they’re just as colorful and every bit as pretty as the nectar-rich flowers they drink from. Butterflies are attracted to many different kinds of flowers but these 3 hardy perennial flowers are almost guaranteed to bring them to the garden. These flowers are also easy to grow and maintain.
Butterflies are especially active during warm sunny days. Since butterflies will be drawn to these nectar-rich perennial flowers, try to plant them close to a patio or deck for maximum enjoyment. After doing your morning chores in the flower garden, pull up a seat and pour yourself a cool drink. Get your camera and be prepared for a butterfly show.
Butterfly Bush – Buddleia davidii
This plant is actually a shrub but it certainly lives up to its name while it’s blooming. That’s practically all summer in my region. It can get tall and out of control if not cut back in early spring. Since butterfly bush blooms on new growth, pruning them hard won’t affect the flowers at all. If you cut it to about a foot in height, it will be easier to keep the plant small and manageable. I allowed my butterfly bushes to grow untamed for a few years and they got very large and messy.
Butterfly bush has cone shaped flowers in many different shades of purple. It’s also available in pinks, yellow and white. It can get up to 10 feet wide and tall. It needs full sun and well-drained soil and blooms early summer until late summer in USDA zones 5 to 9.
Butterfly weed – Asclepias tuberosa
Here is another pretty nectar-rich flower that didn’t get its name accidentally. This is one tough perennial that doesn’t need much of anything from the gardener. It’s practically pest-free and makes a good cut flower. It’s another perennial that comes up late in spring, so be patient and don’t dig it up accidentally. There are several plants in the Asclepias
Butterfly weed doesn’t need rich soil but it does need soil that tends to stay dry. Give it full sun. It blooms in mid summer but if you deadhead its bright orange flowers it will keep blooming until fall. It grows 18 to 36 inches tall and can get about 2 feet wide. It’s hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9. It’s a top choice perennial to feed monarch butterfly larvae and monarch adult butterflies.
Joe-pye Weed – Eupatorium purpureum maculatum
This is good perennial to put at the back of the border because of its height. Another option is to use it as a specimen flower. Even though it’s tall, it has strong stems that don’t need staking. Butterflies love the large pinkish mauve flowers that you can leave on the plant after they turn to fuzzy seed heads unless you don’t want them to reseed in your garden.
Joe-pye weed needs full sun with moist alkaline soil. It blooms in late summer and reaches 5 to 7 feet tall. It’s hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9.