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Hummingbird and Butterfly Garden Plant Lists with Invasives?

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Hi, everybody--

I've been busy googling and planning our Butterfly and Hummingbird gardens and I wanted to share this OSU Extension Fact Sheet


Listing common butterflies for our area, different attractant plants, a list of invasive plants, and some other good info links.

If you have a butterfly 'fact sheet' from your state's extension (or similar) it may be helpful to others to post it.

I noticed on the Ohio 'fact sheet' it listed several common butterfly plants that I had no idea were considered 'invasives'. I didn't know that the 'daylily' was an 'invasive', for instance. That surprised me.

I'm interested to know more about this?!

Thumbnail by tabasco
Athens, OH

I definitely had HUGE issues with Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) in NC. I am not sure if it is as invasive in OH.

My neighbors did see significant clump growth around their Hesperis but not the huge seed disperal type of invasions like verbena bonarensis (That plant travels!!!)

I know that the common ditch Day Lily (Hemerocallis fulva) can spread from the garden into surrounding woods, so try to keep it in check.

I have never even had my Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii) drop viable seeds and have babies.


Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

Tabasco, thanks for posting the link, useful stuff for me.. have to totally start over after moving...flowerlou

Moab, UT(Zone 6b)

I have Virginia Creeper appearing throughout my perennial bed... I guess the birds brought it from some neighbors fence. It is endemic in Moab. Because it survives. wherever there is water. So it invades other folks' gardens [or your own] but not the desert in general.

to add: I am an admitted novice at the 'putor world, but just googled Utah Butterflies and may be among the missing for awhile... dunh ~Blooms

This message was edited Feb 3, 2006 10:30 PM

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

These are the ten invasive plants to avoid listed in the OSU Hummingbird/butterfly Garden Fact Sheet for our area (and I would assume much of the ORV region. But perhaps, not?)

Bush Honeysuckle (Lonicera species)
Privet (Ligustrum vulgare)
Asian Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)
Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense)
Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota)
Dames Rocket (Hesperis matronalis)
Day Lily (Hemerocallis fulva)
Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii)
Lantana (Lantana camara)

Buddleia, for instance, is quite popular here as a butterfly attractant and is listed as invasive, yet, I can hardly get mine to grow in my garden!

I certainly understand about some of the others. Japanese Honeysuckle is a pesky menace. That I know.

flowerlou-- are you starting anything from seed? any wintersowing? I am starting milkweeds, cardinal creeper, cypress vines, ipomeoas, hollyhocks, etc., etc., for the birds and butterflies and having fun doing it. t.

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

I am by no means even remotely an expert on butterflies, but the if idea behind the effort is to conserve the species by providing them habitat in the form of garden plants, then Tabasco is starting down an excellent path with the link and list above. I posted on a different thread in the Wildlife forum along these lines.

VV wrote:

$0.02 added here.

I appreciate all the work that's obviously gone into collecting the plants mentioned above, which obviously are bringing in birds and butterflies (photo-doc'd and all). However, some of where terryr (aka Terrier, Wild Raisin) is going is.........what about incorporating more plants that originated with the local insects and birds? Long term, that's a great way to go.

Think of it along the lines of: bright advertisements to get the "shoppers" in the door (non-natives like Japanese beautyberry, mimosa, and butterflybush). Once you've got their attention, get the local natives entrenched that provide for more of the participants' lifecycle (like nesting sites, larval food, high-quality fruit forage, etc.) than the glitterati. Aim to gradually reduce/eliminate the non-natives (esp. the ones with proven/potential invasiveness FOR YOUR AREA (always learn about this stuff so you aren't inadvertently wiping out those things you are trying to enhance and protect) so that you make an example of the success of this philosophy to others who need some motivation.

And best of all: continue to bring the discussion and experiences here, for more to benefit from.

The whole thread link: http://davesgarden.com/place/t/571590/

There is absolutely no doubt that the short list in Tabasco's post above will all attract birds and butterflies...but at what other expense?

I post here to engage some discussion and consideration. I don't think this train of thought is necessarily new, either, if anyone tours other forums about the associated fauna. The hummingbirds and the butterflies (as well as a host of other interesting indigenous insects) have been around a long time, and developed a favored (dare I say required) behavior pattern associated with their surroundings. It never used to include the 10 plants listed above. It did include a lot of other plants that few people bother to consider, most of them more vital to the bird/insect survival strategies.

Before I climb off the soapbox and into a pulpit.....this isn't meant to be preachy. Few here are willing to give up their favorite garden plants, often the most showy things going (I've seen the pics!), in favor of solely native plants. I only ask that folks think about the off-site consequences and realize that there are novel ways to still "have your birds/butterflies" AND a stimulating landscape. Often, it is as easy as planting the native counterpart to the non-native (and sometimes invasive) plant that is just more common.

Some quick examples, just amongst the woodies:

Lonicera sempervirens instead of Lonicera japonica
Celastrus scandens instead of Celastrus orbiculatus
Aesculus, Lindera, Ptelea, Viburnum, Zanthoxylum host-specific shrubs instead of Lonicera maackii, Rhamnus, Buddleia

You'll have plants that no one else around has, much less recognizes. See the Giant Swallowtail larvae on Zanthoxylum americanum, looking for all the world like bird poop?

Thumbnail by ViburnumValley
Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

VV thank you for offering some alternatives to the well known BF and HB plants.

Lewisburg, KY(Zone 6a)

I love both hummingbirds and butterflies. They are fun to photograph too.
The native daylily does spread, but rather slowly. I notice that hummers like my Red Volunteer daylilies.

Please post when you first see a ruby throat. I cannot wait until they are back. I keep one feeder on my kitchen window sill. It is usually the first week of April when they arrive here.

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

Tabasco, thanks so much for posting the link, I am just today starting to plan our new butterfly and hummer garden at our new house,,, this was perfect timing, THANKS, flowerlou

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

I have a link for Invasive Plants of Ohio ... http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/dnap/invasive/

A publication that I have from the county extension office is called Identifying Noxious Weeds of Ohio. As of October 1998, Ohio's 14 noxious weeds are:
Wild Mustard
Musk Thistle (Nodding Thistle)
Oxeye Daisy
Canada Thistle
Poison Hemlock
Wild Carrot (Queen Anne's Lace)
Purple Loosestrife (all of its cultivars are included)
Wild Parsnip
Russian Thistle
Cressleaf Groundsel
Grapevines (abandoned)

Hope no one is cultivating "these bad boys"!!!!

Karin ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Well, I and my butterflies like that Purple Loosestrife, but I guess it's a 'no-no'. I thought some of the new cultivars were non spreaders...

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

I researched a little more on Ohio Butterflies--

Here's the link for the Ohio Lepidopterists Society


and this good summation of how to create a BF garden with local plant recommendations:


Seymour, IN(Zone 5b)

The" by far winner" of the butterfly vote is the Mexican sunflower around here. It blooms bright orange and they love it. The yellow finches also love it and eat the small seeds before they dry . I grow it just for them. It's not the greatest cut flower but it is worth the growing just to watch the butterflies and birds on it. The Hummers favorite is the scarlet beebalm . They love the scarlet honeysuckle also , but you might find it invasive. It has no scent like regular honeysuckle, but the hummers guard it steadfastly and don't let the others near it.

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Lou, what kinds of butterflies do you get on the Mexican Sunflower?

Athens, OH

Do have/want Monarchs.... if so....

We plant lots of butterfly weed (asclepias) and we attract several monarchs each year.
If you have children, it is especially wonderful to follow the cycle as they lay their eggs, caterpillars hatch out, eat and form their chrysalis and then fly away.

The great thing is that this all happens on or near (they often form their chrysalis on a nearby tree) the butterfly weed.


Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

If you like Monarchs (and who doesn't?!) you may want to know about the Monarch Waystation Certification Program


A number of DGers have had their properties certified. It's kind of a fun project especially for the kids.


Seymour, IN(Zone 5b)

We get Monarchs, Swallowtails and lots of little white and yellow ones that I don't know the names of. If they are here, they love the Mexican Sunflowers. Lou

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

My biggest (literally) hummer/butterfly magnet was my mimosa tree. It got huge, but I had to have it removed last fall due to carpenter ant damage. It is also considered invasive in some areas


Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Thanks, Lou. I bought two packs of Tithonia to plant out so I am looking for some fine results.

kqcrna-- Interesting about your Mimosa tree... did you find it a trouble in your yard? Seems like here it wouldn't be invasive, but I'll have to check on that.

BTW, I found this Ohio DNR site with (nice) pictures of some of the wildflowers around here


Many of which attract butterflies I think. I had Ohio Spiderwort, Northern Blazing Star and Cardinal Flower in the garden last year. Maybe it will come back.

I am sure there must be a better wildflower site from another ORV state?
Or perhaps we have a rather measley range of native flowers?

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

These are sites you can use for reference about OHIO wildflowers. It gives us a little more to work with.

(1) http://data2action.com/wildflowers/
(2) http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/spring/
(3) http://www.ohiodnr.com/publications/wildflowers.htm

Karin ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

These are sites you can use for reference about KENTUCKY wildflowers. It gives us a little more to work with.

(1) http://www.kywildflowers.info/
(2) http://knps.org/Wildflowers/

Karin ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

This is a site you can use for reference about WEST VIRGINIA wildflowers.

(1) http://www.wvu.edu/~agexten/hortcult/flowers/wldflwrs.htm

Karin ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Here are some links to INDIANA wildflowers.

(1) http://www.usi.edu/science/biology/TwinSwamps/Wildflowers_of_Twin_Swamps.htm
(2) http://www.butler.edu/herbarium/wildflowers/wildflowers.html

Karin ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

My mimosa did reseed prolifically but I just pulled the babies when small. If left to grow much over a foot the taproot is a killer to remove. I have only seen a few mimosas in the whole west side of town, though, and seldom see many in Ohio.

I have a question about the Lantana camara. Most lantana is tropical and , I thought, propagated by cuttings rather than seed. I had a lantana that looked just like that picture and the nursery tag just said "lantana landmark". Is this the same as Lantana camara? I am just surprized that a tropical could be invasive in zone 6. (This is where my lack of knowledge of botanical names comes into play). Can anyone clarify?



Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

I think your Landmark Lantana is a product of Ball Seed


and has been trialed by the University of Georgia http://ugatrial.hort.uga.edu/index.cfm?fuseaction=plants.plantDetail&plant_id=1309

and seems polite enough for the garden. http://davesgarden.com/pf/adv_search.php?searcher[common]=&searcher[family]=Verbenaceae&searcher[genus]=Lantana&searcher[species]=&searcher[cultivar]=&searcher[hybridizer]=&Search=Search&offset=0

I can't say for sure, but I think the 'lantana camara' listed with invasives is probably the wild species lantana. Floridata not to dig that in the wild and bring it into your garden.

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

thanks, tabasco.

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Concerning butterflies in Central Ohio-- here's a link for the Butterfly Walk Monitoring Project around Columbus


and a list of Columbus Audubon's other activities coming up


Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Greenthumb-- just went back to your posts and checked out all the Links. Very interesting about the wildflowers in our area.

I wonder if there is a SouthWest Wildflower Society, something like the one in the North East? Does anyone know?

I found this interesting list and source for Native Butterfly and Bird Garden plants/seeds/advice.


This message was edited Aug 1, 2006 4:54 PM

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6b)

I had never seen Mimosa much north of 275.
It is at the end of it's range here.
Never saw one in Dayton or even Middletown.
Ours gets a dieback every 5 years or so.
It for sure is a Hummer and Butterfly magnet.

We find seedlings every Spring and just pull them out.
FAR less trouble than the heliocopter flown Maples.
If the birds are eating the Mimosa seed here I've never seen it happen.
Most of the volunteers are w/in 20' of the drip line.
Our tree is over 20' tall and at least that wide.

t if you want some let me know.
I have seeds still on the tree that obviously have been winterized.
I'm sure in a few weeks I'll have seedlings popping up in the pots under ours too. lol


Bellaire, OH(Zone 5b)

There are several of these invasives that I can't keep because my goats occaisionally get out, and they are preferred food for goats - namely daylilly and grape vines (domestic). We are in the process of raising our grape harbor. They have plenty of wild grapes still in their pasture to munch on.

One thing they do not seem to like is milkweed. My mother kept a patch by the back patio. When I moved here, I pulled a lot of it up because I thought it was ugly. But then I missed the monarch butterflies. I let it grow back, and they came back.

I am suprised that ironweed is not considered invasive. There sure is plenty of it, and goldenrod, and jewelweed! Maybe I will let that grow by the back patio too, and forget about trying to grow something else there....

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)



Did you notice someone reported seeing a Ruby throated on April 1 somewhere around Cincinnati?!

Awfully early!

Be sure to let us know when you see your first!

Bellaire, OH(Zone 5b)

I saw an orange butterfly out in the woods two days ago (March 31st)! I was really suprised, because it was the first really warm day we've had. We were out fixing fence. I didn't get a close enough look to see what kind it was though.

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

Hi Tabasco, I did notice on the map,,, I put my feeder out day before yesterday,,, none sited yet though,,, cant wait. Will be adding at least two more feeders this year. Last year mid summer was my first time with a hummingbird feeder and I had a blast with my 5 y.o. . So much fun, I have it hung with suction cups low on our glass door so she can see close up... really cool. Now my son is 20 months old so I had to hang it higher, (he was grabbing it outside spilling it). It should be even more fun this summer. We live in Wyoming , you are in Anderson?

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Yes, we're in Anderson bordering Woodland Mound Park. If you are over in this direction please let me know. I am always passing through Wyoming--what a pretty area with pretty homes and gardens.

My son saw a hummingbird Saturday and then another Sunday so they are definitely around. I haven't had time to watch my feeder much, but we should get lucky soon.

Last year we had lots of hummingbirds but I didn't notice them until May but it was still fun, fun, fun. I am sending Hummingbird feeders out as birthday presents to my sisters with small children so they can enjoy too. (My son is 24, but he still gets a kick out of them!)
this will be the first year for a window HB feeder at our house.

BTW An ORV gardener spotted an swallowtail butterfly in their garden this week (saw it on another thread). That is pretty early--and I wonder if it's the sort of BF that winters over in the woodpiles and so on...I will have to research


I am trying to get my BF vines growing from seed, but not having a lot of luck. Will try again.


And don't miss the butterfly show at the Krohn Conservatory, especially if you have small children...

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

Hi Tabasco,, HB feeders are a great idea for presents..I think once you experience the little guys, you are hooked! I bought my feeder from Wild Bird's Unlimited,, but kind of feel I spent toooooo much there. I am going to puts fresh nectar in mine tonight, and hope to see one soon. No butterflies yet,,, just the little white moths. I dont know alot about butterflies, just have enjoyed them in my garden at my old house. I have a mess here at our "new old house" in Wyoming. We have a great lot,, just very neglected, and neglected house. DH is a contractor,, so that is good, and bad,,(can be toooo tired to work on his own house,,, i.e. the cobbler's kid's had no shoes, lol).
Between the deer , the multitude of birds, and Owl family, raccoons, etc., etc.... my husband says we live in a ZOO!!!! LOL.
The other evening a neighbor cat was walking through our yard while DH was grilling dinner,, along came 5 deer and one was following the cat,and acting like they were buddies???? Dh thought it was the wildest thing he ever saw,, it apparantly went on for quite some time.
I miss my old home, I miss my garden and greenhouse. We moved here for the schools, and do really like the area.. always have.
well too much rambling,, hope to meet you at the RU.
You seem so knowledgable,,,, and a lot of fun, :)
have a great rest of the week, and if you got any deer help suggestions for my garden/yard,, would surely appreciate it! thanks! Mary Lou, Flowerlou.

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Marylou--by the way, there is another DG poster from Wyoming, too. kcqrna, I believe. To find her look over on the Wintersowing forum where she is quite active.

We have lots of trouble with deer, too. You asked about effective remedies, and I have to say the 'controlled shoot' they had last winter in the park seemed to work pretty well, although rather drastic and made us all sad!

Other than that, I found 'Deer Scram', recommended to me by some members of the Cincy Hemerocallis and Hosta Society, pretty effective. Just sprinkle it around your most attractive plants and/or where the deer enter the yard...one dose in the fall worked for most of the winter and i should have done it again in late winter but forgot.

I am dosing the garden again this week to try to keep them away from my emerging lilies...they say to alternate different deer repellents to keep them guessing...

The 'deer scram' worked wonders with keeping the millions of squirrels out of the yard and away from the bird feeders this winter, too. Expensive stuff, but we saved that much on bird feed.

I am still watching for hummingbirds in my garden--I know they are around--but they don't seem too interested in my feeder set-up yet. Someone said to spread a red table cloth out by your feeders, but I think my neighbors would have apoplexy!

My hummingbird/butterfly plant order from Bluestone Perennials came yesterday. And my 'Wintersowed' seeds are coming along nicely, so I am looking for a great BF garden this spring.

Thumbnail by tabasco
Bellaire, OH(Zone 5b)

Tabasco, we have around 15 goats, 6 sheep and a llama, and sometimes the deer are grazing in the pasture right alongside my animals. This is troubling because the deer carry diseases and parasites I don't want my animals to get. I got hissed at by two very large deer a few days ago. They were on the other side of some brush. They didn't run until we came into full view, and then, not very fast. I think deer are smarter than given credit for, and differentiate between farmers and hunters.

The goats are more of a concern to my garden than deer are at this point. Contrary to popular belief, they don't eat "everything." But they have been a problem with the grape vines and the berries I am trying to propogate - those are two of their favorite foods. We will most likely fence our garden in this year. No hummingbirds yet; and the only other butterflies I've seen have been the little ones. I'd like to put out some HB nectar in the next few days. My 14 y/o daughter has expressed some interest in raising butterflies. I heard an NPR show where a woman said she made $95/dozen and up selling them to people having weddings and even funerals. She had quite a business going. I doubt my DD will be that ambitious, but it will be a fun project.

Southwest, OH(Zone 6a)

I just came upon this very interesting thread. I have a butterfly and bird garden. I grow host plants as well as nectar plants. And berry plants. For the butterflies, I also have a clay pot saucer filled with sand that I try to keep moist for the butterflies. They like to perch on it. During the summer, I will take a banana sliced lengthwise and/or orange and place it out for a few hours or so and it attracts a lot of butterflies.

I just recently returned from Florida where I visited Butterfly world and they had bananas too out for the butterflies. I also brought back some butterfly nectar plants from there.

Fennel is a great butterfly host plant too. Here is a picture of some cats (caterpillars) on the fennel in my herb garden.

I get lots of swallowtails, monarchs, skippers,etc. As well as some crazy looking caterpillars. I try to take pictures of them all and put their picture on my website.
LOL! if they enter my yard they get their mugshot taken and posted. In fact I need to put more pictures left from last year.

I also have a moongarden which attracts some neat moths. The flowers are all white and open after sunset and are pollinated by moths and sometimes even bats. Sphinx moth, Hummingbird moth and Luna moth are some of the larger moths attracted to the flowers. By the way if you can stand it, poison ivy is a great host plant for the Luna Moth. The Luna Moth is one of the most beautiful moths in the world. It is unlike any moth.


Athens, OH

I had the most amazing time yesterday. I was out in the garden and there was this hummingbird buzzing in and out of my digitalis lutea. I took its time feeding for several minutes. What a site.

If you ever want any of this foxglove, let me know. It can be picky, but once it decides it likes where it is it does extremely well. It is more rigid (leaves and stem) than othe digital and is a perennial not a biennial. The flowers are smaller but there are many more of them than other species.


Thumbnail by rox_male
Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

moonlit-- you have some wonderful pics of butterflies in your garden. Thanks for posting. And thanks for reminding me about the fennel. Mine seems to have gone away and I will have to pick up some from the nursery.

Thank you, rox, for the pic of the digitalis lutea...I am not familiar with your interesting digitalis , although I just looked it up on google and it said it was a shade plant. Do you have yours in shade? It might be a good candidate for my back yard shade plantings...I suppose the deer don't care for it?

I have several digitalis from my wintersowing project, but of course I lost the labels and don't know what is what, and anyway, none are blooming, and probably won't, I guess, yet this year.

I just got back from our vacation in CA and will have to refill my HB feeders and put out some ripened bananas for the BFs tomorrow. I read on another thread a recipe for some really (nasty) tasty butterfly snack/potion made from guiness stout (only the best for my butterflies), manure/compost, bananas, etc. mixture that I want to try. I saw ten butterflies around my garden this morning--but none were too interesting. (Am I getting to be a butterfly snob?!).

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