Best Perennial Plants For Butterflies

Discussion in 'Other Plants' started by Nikolaos, Sep 2, 2019.

  1. redstar

    redstar Total Gardener

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    I have both on my property. Joe Pye Weed and Butterfly bush. Hands down the Joe Pye Weed gets the most.
     
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    • Nikolaos

      Nikolaos Super Gardener

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      Skimmia japonica, Verdun? Tried growing that in a container a few years ago but didn't have much joy with it and got rid, partly my inexperience and partly a poor specimen I think. One of my few disappointments from J Parker's.

      Oh, they must be plants I like, but I just seem to like a lot of the plants that butterflies also like! :smile: There are a few exceptions, tho. Phlox I quite like the look of but am not keen on the scent. Rudbeckias, the only one I like is this one but it's best grown as an annual, apparently.

      Rudbeckia hirta 'Cherry Brandy' | black-eyed Susan 'Cherry Brandy'/RHS Gardening

      I much prefer echinaceas anyway in that family, just ordered this one...

      Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus' | purple coneflower 'Magnus'/RHS Gardening

      And salvias, which I have never heard of as being butterfly friendly. Becoming a bit of an addiction with me lately, these! Well, I just looked at a listing for the one I recently ordered and it had to contradict me, didn't it? This one is claimed to attract butterflies! :noidea::dunno:

      Salvia x jamensis 'Nachtvlinder' AGM - Telegraph Garden Shop

      @redstar Glad to hear that, thanks for letting me know, I have a dwarf Joe Pye weed and a couple of hemp agrimonies. Far from mature now but I can't wait to see how they do with butterflies next year in my garden! :)

      Plant Profile for Eupatorium dubium ‘Baby Joe’ - Dwarf Joe-Pye Weed Perennial

      Eupatorium cannabinum | hemp agrimony/RHS Gardening

      Nick
       
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      • Verdun

        Verdun Passionate gardener

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        Nick, I guess you know skimmias need to be grown female and male for flowers etc. Some forms are hermophrodite but even then another pollinator is more than useful :)
         
      • Nikolaos

        Nikolaos Super Gardener

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      • Verdun

        Verdun Passionate gardener

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        It’s a male Nick, not hermaphrodite as far as I know;:a female needed for flowering so Rubella is not a bee or butterfly magnet. :sad:
        I grew a Cornish variety once...S. Redruth and it was excellent for wildlife.
        My experience with skimmias....and I have grown a few....is that apart from the siting of them, patience is required for them to “settle down”
         
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        • Nikolaos

          Nikolaos Super Gardener

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          What about caryopteris? I repeatedly see it recommended for pollinators including butterflies but will it survive here in Nottinghamshire? Classed as H4 but my region is perhaps closer to H5 at times, any way I could protect it to ensure its survival in a particularly cold Winter?

          Caryopteris × clandonensis 'Heavenly Blue' - bluebeard

          Interesting list of perennials on this website, nice to see pulmonaria on there as I have recently planted one.

          https://butterfly-conservation.org/sites/default/files/butterflynectardownload.pdf

          Nick
           
          Last edited: Sep 6, 2019
        • redstar

          redstar Total Gardener

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          @Nikolaos , my JoePye weed is not the dwarf type. its stands about 6 foot tall in a grand circle of about 7 foot by 7 foot. but I have the property. some days its covered with 8 butterflies. It has plenty of room if it wants to expand, but it is very polite about it so far, been there about 7 years now. I like in a potential cold climate in the winter, dipping way below freezing often, with sometime as much as 28 inches of snow will lay on that area. It comes back kicking each year.
           
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          • Sian in Belgium

            Sian in Belgium Total Gardener

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            Must apologise to my fennel, which is still in flower!
             
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            • Verdun

              Verdun Passionate gardener

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              Ok, mild here but caryopteris is hardier than many suppose Nick :) Give it a warm free draining soil and it should be fine.
              Of course, flowering now it is a butterfly magnet.
              I have the usual variety plus Stirling Silver with silver grey foliage and Summer Sorbet with cut yellow foliage so attractive even before they flower.
              A similar shrub ...sub shrub...is ceratostigma willmottiana. Blue flowers from mid summer and a looser bigger plant. Bonus of reddish autumn foliage too. I haven’t checked whether it is esp wildlife friendly but worth a look?
               
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              • Nikolaos

                Nikolaos Super Gardener

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                Ooh, some nice caryopteris cultivars there, Verdun! Especially 'Summer Sorbet', thanks for the info on hardiness! Ceratostigma (at least that one) isn't wildlife friendly but I have been tempted by that species for a while now, might have to grow it on my allotment. Some plants are gorgeous and just can't be excluded even in wildlife-friendly gardens, who could resist such amazing flowers and interesting foliage? :)

                Ceratostigma willmottianum

                Nick
                 
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                • Nikolaos

                  Nikolaos Super Gardener

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                  @redstar I sometimes see eupatoriums mentioned in those "beware of these invasive plants"-type articles, but I think as with most plants it depends on the species and being unlucky enough to have the sort of soil they will really 'take' to. Personally, I would LOVE a huge eupatorium like yours on my allotment, I just think they're beautiful! :smile:

                  Nick
                   
                • redstar

                  redstar Total Gardener

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                  @Nikolaos , yep, I think the description of "invasive " is subjective.
                   
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                  • luciusmaximus

                    luciusmaximus Total Gardener

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                    Toadflax, wild Poppies, Marsh Mallows, Scabious, Buddlejas, Cranesbill Geraniums, Fuschias, Veronica, Yarrow, Lavender, Aubretia, Marjoram, Oregana, Mint, Gaillardia, Centaurea Vallarian, Dandelions, Red Campion, Eryngium, Ragwort are all grown here and popular with the Bees, Butterflies and other pollinators.

                    I have Verbena, Birds Foot Trefoil and Mexican Fleabane which seem more attractive to pollinating flies but sometimes see a Bee on them.

                    I tend to think of the Ragwort as being the most versatile. Apart from the benefit to Cinnebar moths it also attracts Bees, Butterflies, pollinating flies and several types of flying bettles ( not sure what they are ). I saw a lime green caterpillar on one of the plants too, not sure what that is either.
                     
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                    • Nikolaos

                      Nikolaos Super Gardener

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                      @luciusmaximus Wow what a list, thanks! Many there I could add to my allotment's ornamental area and I will allow the ragwort there in very low numbers from now on! :) Hmm, interesting that you mentioned mint because it made me remember how successful my Mentha piperita was with both butterflies and bees last year, might have to grow more of them in containers. Perennial scabious is also one I desperately want as well as another eryngium. Never really thought about fuschias, will look into them! Which species of toadflax did you mean?

                      Nick
                       
                    • luciusmaximus

                      luciusmaximus Total Gardener

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                      @Nikolaos I have Common Toadflax here, pink and purple. It does self seed very readily but as I want that to happen it's not a problem. The Fuschia I have is Mrs Popple but there are other varieties that are pollinator friendly.

                      I forgot to mention the purple Thistles, the Geums, the Achilleas and the spring flowering Heather :). The Thistles are loved by Bees and Butterflies, the Geums get a visist occasionally, the Achilleas seem to be only liked by small iridescent flies but the spring Heather is very very popular with everyone.
                       
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