Five Great Nectar Plants for Butterfly Gardens

For our mystery seed post last week we had 5 seeds from flowers that are great nectar plants for butterfly gardens.

And the mystery seeds were (drum roll)....

1. Echinacea - coneflowers (perennial)

pink-coneflowers(Public domain photograph by Bobbi Jones at PublicDomainPictures.net)

Butterflies love aster relatives with flat flower heads to stand on. These large, robust, and nectar-rich flowers attract swallowtails, painted ladies, fritillaries, and skippers, among others.

The spiky seed heads are also sources of food for birds.

2. Asclepias tuberosa - butterfly flower, butterfly milkweed (perennial)

butterfly-weed-milkweed

Milkweed plants attract the so-called milkweed butterflies, like monarchs and queens, but also certain coppers, pipevine swallowtails, and hairstreaks.

Butterfly weed is also a potential larval food plant for milkweed butterflies.

3. Zinnias (annual)

mix-of-zinnias-87

Another aster relative, zinnias attract swallowtails, coppers, hairstreaks, painted ladies, mourning cloaks, and fritillaries.

 

4. Aquilegia sp. -Columbine (perennial)

very-nice-yellow-columbine0218

Columbines are useful nectar sources for many butterflies, including swallowtails and skippers, as well as hummingbirds.

The plants are also host to Columbine duskywing (Erynnis lucilius) larvae.

5. Tagetes sp.-Marigolds (annual)

marigold-flowers

regular-marigold-garden

Marigolds tend to attract smaller butterflies, like skippers and whites.

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