Gardens designed to attract and nurture butterflies are becoming more and more popular in our area because they are not only beautiful, but contribute to the health and well-being of one of our very important pollinators. Butterfly gardens also give us an opportunity to provide a fun and educational family activity.
There is an impressive list of annual and perennial plants that provide food and nectar that support the butterfly population. Based on performance in our local landscapes here are some of the most popular butterfly plants including zinnias, mistflower, porter weed and milkweed.
All zinnias will provide a nectar source for butterflies such as the swallowtails and monarchs in the Central Texas Landscape. Old-fashioned zinnias like California Giant and Cactus can be grown from seed. Other hybrids like Dreamland and Profusion are available as transplants. They not only provide nectar for the butterflies, but goldfinches, doves, cardinals and other seed eating birds will appreciate the food source.
Mistflower is a Texas native wildflower that is a huge butterfly attracting plant. Mistflower produces powdery looking blue flowers on a formless mound that grows to about 2 feet tall.
Porter weed is a little harder to find all-star butterfly attracting plant. The stems have small lengths of brightly colored red or purple blooms that are a potent nectar source for butterflies. Red porter weed is a dwarf variety that can grow to 2 feet tall and purple porter weed grows to 4 feet tall.
In addition to being a popular nectar plant for monarchs, queens, gulf fritillaries and other species, the milkweeds are the only genus of plants that monarchs will use for egg laying. There are tropical milkweeds and several varieties of native milkweeds, all of which provides nectar and egg-laying sites for monarchs.
Visit Milberger Landscape nursery to view our sample of butterfly gardening certified by the North American Butterfly Association, and ask for our complete list of butterfly attracting plants.