Saturday, July 7, 2012

Favorite Butterfly Nectar Plants for July

Favorite nectar plants for butterflies in my July garden were not blooming here a few weeks ago except for Lantana. In early spring, Dianthus, Azaleas, Echinacea, Vitex and Oakleaf Hydrangea attracted a large number of butterflies. This is by no means a comprehensive list, just a sampling. Butterflies were diving into Daylily blossoms and clinging to Hyacinth blooms. Tropical plants are favorites now: Duranta, Pride of Barbados, Pentas, Esperanza and Porterweed.

Caesalpina pulcherrima. We call it Pride of Barbados. 

 The yellow is Tecoma stans. Texas friends call it Esperanza.
Caesalpina is a legume, identified by the leaves.
The seeds are in a large flat pod, easily grown.
I started seedlings in late winter, 4 new plants are planted.
Tithonia is an easy reseeder and a butterfly favorite.

Pentas lanceolata or Egytian Star Flower, palest pink here with
Persian Shield and Graptopetalum for effect.

White Pentas
Pentas are usually treated as annuals. I get
frequent return from plant roots but always
hold over cuttings in winter, just in case.

Lavendar dwarf Pentas with Persian Shield.

Pentas come in several shades of pink; red,
white and lavender shades.
Duranta erecta is a fast-growing shrub often
treated as an annual. It is root-hardy here.
Cuttings will bloom through the winter when
brought inside. Butterflies love it.

I did not make pics of Lantana, but it is definitely one of the top five butterfly favorites for summer. I grow both the prostrate yellow, and lavender Lantana montevidensis. There is one plant of the white among the lavender. I took cuttings of white this morning for extending the white garden out back.

Porterweed in the near view, spiky blooms.

Porterweed, or Stachytarpheta jamaicensis is another popular blossom with butterflies, also treated as an annual.  The above are plants I use most to attract summer butterflies.

Other Summer nectar plants:
  • Agastache
  • Vitex
  • Verbena bonariensis
  • Echinacea
  • Asclepias
  • Liatris
  • Coreopsis
  • Buddleia
  • Monarda
  • Eupatorium
  • Zinnias
  • Salvia
  • Plumbago
  • Cassia alata
  • Vernonia
I have grown almost all of the above at one time or another except for Plumbago. Buddleia is one that I gave up because it is so sensitive soil nematodes here. Vernonia, Asclepsias and Eupatorium grow in wild butterfly areas that I do not cultivate.




  1. That Pride of Barbados is gorgeous! I love the colors - I'm going to have to look into that one.

    I just planted some lantana this year. I haven't seen to many butterflies on it yet - it's being rather outperformed by the large stand of salvia next to it. I have a Buddleia in the middle of my yard that usually attracts the most butterflies, thankfully it seems to be happy there! I love watching for butterflies in the garden.

  2. You have some wonderful plants for butterflies. I have two favorites of butterflies and hummingbirds in my gardens, hamelia paten, and passion vine. We have gobs and oodles of zebra longwings.

    I worked out in my main garden this morning weeding and planting and trimming. Still have more to do. Had some cloud cover so that was nice.

    About our little caravan, I told DH this morning we could spend the night in it, then go to the local park and it would be like camping. :-) To get out of Florida would take us at least 6 hours and that is such a long, boring drive. We're not crazy about driving, and enjoy being home. It doesn't take long at all for the a.c. to cool the caravan down.

    Have a nice day and a wonderful week.


  3. It's nice to see your list. I enjoy attracting butterflies too. I don't usually buy a lot of annuals but they definitely are among the best butterfly attractors in my garden. I'd be interested in trying to propagate lantana from cuttings - I've never tried. Do you have good luck taking cuttings when the plant is in bloom? What do you root them in?

  4. Gorgeous, send a little of that warm weather this way to remind me its also Summer here.

  5. The Pride of Barbados is beautiful yet quite tropical. Actually it should be grown in a huge tub rather than in the ground. A friend lost one in the ground after a below average winter. Also they can be hard to find in the nurseries. Lowes usually has them once a year but are not in stock very long.


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

Google+ Followers