American Painted Ladies on Echinacea
Echinacea in May is a popular butterfly nectar plant. Later in the season, they seek other plants. Knowing when a plant falls from favor gives a clue as to what plants, perhaps not natives, need to be ready for a late season.
Zebra Swallowtail on Echinacea in May.
Later in in the summer, Zebras might prefer Tithonia.
Spicebush Swallowtail on native Stokesia.
Tiger on Daylily, entertaining spectacle.
Tiger Swallowtail on Vitex.
Buddleia, the well-know 'Butterfly Bush' does poorly in my garden because of soil nematodes. I grow Vitex instead. Vitex grows into a small tree, or can be cut back near the ground in late winter to make a bush. I like the tree form. I think Swallowtails like tree forms, too.
A dozen nectar plants I always have:
Azaleas and Hyacinths are among the first nectar plants sought, early Spring
Caesalpinia pulcherrima, Pride of Barbados
Dianthus species, including Bath's Pinks and Sweet William
Esperanza, Tecoma stans
Salvia leucantha, Mexican Bush Sage
Vitex agnus castus, Chaste tree
Besides the planted nectar plants, I leave a number of weeds to grow for both nectar and as hosts:
Henbit for nectar
Toadflax, host to Buckeyes and for nectar
-- butterfly habitats are always in progress --