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Blooms for Butterflies

Published online: May 01, 2024 Home And Garden
Viewed 452 time(s)

The gardening season is both precious and brief here in eastern Idaho, and for many green thumbs, it’s not just about the satisfaction of a bountiful harvest. If you want to make the most of your backyard garden atmosphere, there are few better ways to liven up the landscape than by selecting the perfect flowers to attract moths and butterflies.

1. Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea): Easy to grow in eastern Idaho, the coneflower is known for its medicinal properties and striking beauty. Its daisy-like blooms, adorned with prominent raised centers, provide ample landing pads for butterflies to feed on nectar. This hardy perennial (pictured here with a Red Admiral moth south of Sunnyside Rd.) thrives in full sun and well-drained soil, making it a versatile addition to any butterfly garden.

2. Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii): As the name suggests, the butterfly bush is a magnet for these winged wonders. With its fragrant, cone-shaped clusters of flowers, this deciduous shrub provides a rich source of nectar. You’ll find it in a range of colors including purple, pink, and white. Like the coneflower, it blooms from summer to fall.

3. Milkweed (Asclepias spp.): As the sole host plant for monarch butterfly caterpillars, milkweed plays a vital role in the life cycle of these iconic insects. Its fragrant flowers, available in various hues ranging from white to pink to orange, attract a plethora of butterfly species while serving as a nursery for monarch larvae. By incorporating milkweed into your garden, you not only support butterfly populations but also contribute to the conservation of these imperiled insects.

4. Phlox (Phlox paniculata): Renowned for its fragrant blooms and vibrant colors, phlox is a beloved perennial that delights both gardeners and butterflies alike. Its dense clusters of flowers, available in shades of pink, purple, blue, and white, provide a veritable feast for nectar-seeking butterflies. Phlox thrives in moist, well-drained soil and prefers partial shade, making it an excellent choice for woodland gardens and shady borders.

5. Marigold (Tagetes spp.): Known for its cheerful blooms and pest-repelling properties, marigold is a popular annual that also attracts butterflies to the garden. Its vibrant flowers, available in shades of yellow, orange, and red, provide a rich source of nectar. Marigolds are easy to grow from seed and thrive in full sun, making them a versatile addition to any butterfly garden or container display.

Source material: University of Idaho Extension, Utah State University, NRCS

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