Top 5 Nectar Plants for Midwest Butterflies???

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Hello, butterfliers! (I'm back at DG and to BF gardening after a several year hiatus!)

Please, Could all of you Midwesterners share with me your 3-5 favorite Nectar Plants? Both 'Early Season' And 'Late Season'? I need some new ideas.

I am replanting my butterfly plot (pictured) and only want to add the most popular plants.

(FYI I'll set up a another thread for Milkweed preferences.)

Hope you're all having a great butterfly year and seeing lots of Monarchs.

Cheers! tabasco

Thumbnail by tabasco
Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

Hi tabasco - Welcome back!

This post is going to be very loooong!

Wow, I'm really surprised no one has responded yet. There are so many "Butterfly People" at DG that know way more than I will probably ever know. Lots of folks on the "Daily Pictures" thread are raising butterflies.

I found your question/request interesting because I have some favorites that I'm already growing, but I think my real favorites might end up being plants I don't have yet.

The butterflies (& bees) seem to really like my Purple Coneflowers and Agastache 'Blue Fortune'. They should love my Sedum 'Autumn Fire' but it blooms later than some varieties and in the past the temps were cooler by the time it bloomed (it's just barely starting to bloom this year so we'll see).

I had every other type of pollinating insect on the native Goldenrod that popped up one year on it's own, but again, temps were cooler.

I'm planning to redo some beds for more butterfly & hummer plants. I've already been incorporating more & more natives.

Here is just part of my "wish list" for the future. I planned many of these for this year, but hand surgery at the end of May put my gardening on hold for nearly two months.

These are based on a combination of info from various sources and both pictures and comments by other DG members, particularly on the "Daily Pictures" thread.

1) Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia) an annual: 'Torch' grows 6-8 ft. tall, but 'Fiesta del Sol', a dwarf variety, is only about 3 ft.

2) Zinnia: An annual that I've grown before in many varieties, but haven't had for a long time.

3) Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) a non-aggressive milkweed with gorgeous orange blooms.

4) Goldenrod in a smaller variety.

5) Butterfly Bush (Buddleia) - There are now also non-seeding and dwarf varieties available.

Another bonus is that most of these also appeal to Hummingbirds.

Here are a few links that might be of interest to you:

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Thank you for posting, nuts. I like your three favorites too.

Mine are:

Verbena bonarienses (some say its invasive, but it doesn't seem so around here.)

Buddleia (some say it's invasive but doesn't seem so in our yard)

Zinnias (I like Benary's Giant but my flower farmer friend says State Fair are more attractive to Butterflies).

I have loads of native plants for butterflies in my woodland garden and backyard, but I can count on the above three to attract butterflies from all over.

My very favoritetist nectar plant for Monarchs is Liatris ligulistylus but the rabbits ate all of mine this year and they are hard to find in the nurseries.

Any more suggestions??


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