Butterfly Plants

The Many Advantages Of Planting Butterfly Plants

 
Numerous environmental challenges including habitat loss and toxins don't make it easy to be a butterfly these days. Property owners can help by planting vegetation that are food sources for these insects. These plants don't just provide nourishment for butterflies in both their larval and adult stages. The beautiful blooms of these plants also attract hummingbirds and other useful insects, as well as enhance the appearance of properties. But not just any flower is a "butterfly plant". Read on to learn more about some that do attract these insects, and what is required to grow them. 

Bee Balm (Monarda) 

This plant is also commonly known as bergamot, monarda, and Oswego tea. As its name indicates, bees and other pollinating animals find its blossoms attractive. Reaching heights anywhere from one to eight feet and two feet in width, bee balm's flowers have multiple petals than come in an array of vivid colors. These hues range from white to scarlet,and the plant has striking blue green foliage. Bee balm is a late blooming plant, with flowers visible in summer through early autumn. This is a drought, deer, and rabbit resistant plant that requires little maintenance.

Bee balm falls within the 3-9 range of the USDA growing chart. Although it can survive dry times, it prefers regular moisture when possible. The plant does best in full sunlight, and grows and spreads quickly. The plant is susceptible to some disease and mildew strains. Fortunately, horticulturists have developed a number of new bee balm varieties over the last decade that are both beautiful and disease resistant. 

Marigolds (Tagetes patula) 

Properly known as "French marigolds", this beautiful and familiar garden staple both attracts pollinators and repels an infamous garden predator. Marigolds like lots of sunlight, are drought and deer resistant, and do as well in containers as they do in yards. The plant grows to a height of six to ten inches, and generally is ten inches in diameter. Marigolds grow quickly and do well in clusters. They should be "dead headed" in late summer to help conserve growing energy. Marigolds should be monitored and treated for mildew in dry summers as well. Marigolds have blooms in vivid hues of gold, orange, and red. The plant grows within the USDA's 9-11 "hardy" zone, and often blossoms until there is frost. Marigolds also produce chemicals that repel nematodes, a notorious garden pest. 

Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)

Originally from the Middle East and prominently mentioned in the Bible, this tall plant attracts many birds and butterflies. A tall plant that can grow from one to eight feet, the hyssop is two to three feet in diameter. It blooms in the summer and early fall, and produces spiky blooms that range from pale blue to fuchia in color. The hyssop falls within the USDA growing range of 4-10. Because of its desert origins, this is a plant that likes full sunlight and needs little water. And while some animals like the hyssop, deer are not among them. This is also a great container plant, with a number of varieties.