The key to attracting butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds to your garden is to offer a steady supply of nutritious, delicious foods throughout the entire growing season. The varieties you see here should be considered essential elements of any successful pollinator garden. They produce an abundance of colorful blossoms that pollinators thrive on, and they will attract their fair share of human admirers, too.
A North American genus consisting of about 20 species. Liatris is excellent for cutting, superb for drying, and beautiful in the border, where it looks best planted in groups. It is also a strong favorite with many butterflies. Plants offered thrive in full sun or partial shade and well-drained, even dry, soil, but they struggle in the desert Southwest.
Many annual forms of Salvia are widely grown for their easy disposition and vivid colors, and these are midsummer staples at every garden center. Our favorites are less well known
and offer deep, rich colors that will bring a garden to life. Among the choices we offer is Salvia ‘Wendy’s Wish,’ a vigorous Australian selection that’s a favorite of our director of horticulture.
A familiar sight in meadows and fields across central and eastern parts of our country, Common Milkweed is an essential source of food for Monarch butterflies. Milkweed plants are content in poor and even rocky soils, and are unfazed by drought. They make a superb addition to butterfly gardens and meadows. Of the 200 species in the genus, the best known are North American wildflowers. They have small, curiously shaped blooms that appear in dense clusters and are irresistible to butterflies. Milkweed flowers evolve into seedpods, which open to release seeds on silky white floss. The pods are attractive in the autumn and winter garden, and they’re great for flower arrangements.
There are some 70 species of shrubs and small trees in the genus Buddleia, the best being Asian natives. The most popular are varieties of B. davidii and its hybrids with long stems ending in panicles of flowers that are ambrosia to butterflies. In cold-winter climates such as ours, plants are often killed almost to the ground. We prune back to live wood in spring and always have a spectacular show starting in midsummer. Best in full sun and moist but well-drained soil.