Tag: zinnia

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)


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)


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


4. Aquilegia sp. -Columbine (perennial)


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)



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

Seed of the Week: Zinnia

Those rather old and dried out mystery seeds from last week will hopefully grow up to be zinnias, which is the common name for about 20 different species in the genus Zinnia.

The flowers are pretty familiar garden plants that love to grow in warm weather.

This photograph of a lovely red zinnia by Peter Griffin is from PublicDomainPictures.

Looking around for zinnia flower pictures, I also found a photograph of the seeds taken under a microscope that I just had to share.

This photograph is by John Alan Elson at Wikimedia.

You can clearly see the triangular or arrowhead shape of the zinnia seeds.

Are you going to be growing any zinnias in your garden this summer?