Nectar plants for Monarchs also attract other cool butterflies

MonarchHelpMay 12, 2014

Here is a visitor from this morning (Great Purple Hairstreak), it had amazing royal blue colors, but did not want to open his wings for a shot. Still, a stunning butterfly.

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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Oh, wow! 'Just beautiful!

Milkweed and other nectar plants attractive to monarchs are indeed attractive to other butterflies, but you've hit the jackpot there!

I got a picture of one several years back -

That butterfly bush has been long gone in my garden. 'Just wish I could see another one this year!

Sherry

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 10:24AM
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Leafhead

Gorgeous butterfly, and Butterfly Bush too.
Mexican Sunflowers are big hits with butterflies, esp Monarchs, and hummingbirds. Mexican Sunflower likes sun and heat, so plant it in the Summer or late Spring. They thrive as reseeding annuals in tropical and subtropical climates.
That first picture includes what looks like Cape Honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis). Great hummer plant!!
Where are you located?

John

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 12:57PM
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dr.liz(7 NJ)

Beautiful picture!
Liz

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 3:44PM
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MonarchHelp

@John

I am in Tampa, FL. That Cape Honeysuckle bush has been a true blessing, I got everyone and their mother feeding on it, hummingbirds (Ruby-throated), monarchs, bees, Zebras, swallowtails, Gulf fritillary, etc...Another blessing has been a humble Spanish needle, everyone goes crazy for it too.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 5:39PM
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tom123_gw

Spanish Needle? What's that?

I'm just a bit north and west of you (Clermont, Florida) and the Cape Honeysuckle does well here also, but mostly in the early spring. There are some flowers now, but only a few left on the vines. I have one growing up and around a large Crepe Myrtle. I say "one" but it now seems to be a group or a large bush that has runners all over.

I planted two more of these right next to another Crepe Myrtle. They are starting to grow up it now. I have found this plant to be a favorite for hummingbirds in the early spring. At this time there are many other plants that they use more--primarily because there are so few flowers on it at this time.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 8:59AM
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MonarchHelp

Spanish needle (Bidens alba) is a humble native Florida wildflower that many homeowners absolutely hate because of its seeds that stick to everything. It is loved by all pollinators in my garden and its flowers are edible too (can add to salad, etc). It grows very well, maybe too well some might say. I recommend it, but you might want to designate some area for it as it seems to spread fast.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 10:49AM
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Leafhead

It is also one of the primary nectar plants of the beautiful Atala Butterfly and a host plant for the Dainty Sulfur.

John

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 1:06PM
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tom123_gw

It (Spanish needle (Bidens alba) is a weed in my garden. It comes up everywhere. I am always pulling it up. It does attract butterflies, but it also crowds out other plants that are better at either attracting butterflies and hummingbirds or serve as larval food for butterflies (milkweeds primarily).

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 6:07AM
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MonarchHelp

@John

I am glad I grow it, it is the absolute magnet for everyone, today I even saw Red Spotted Purple and Queen feeding on it. I also planted 4 coonties, but I doubt Atalas go to Tampa area, although one can hope!

@tom123

I like it, it is confined to one area of my garden and I honestly believe it is one of the best nectar plants out there, poor battled bees love it too.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 5:11PM
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Leafhead

Atalas have been recorded as far north as Vero Beach and are mainly coastal. At any rate, Bidens makes an ideal nectar plant, if you can handle its weedy nature, and is even edible. The greens are very tasty steamed.

John

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 5:51AM
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tom123_gw

Okay, I'm going to be much more accepting of the Spanish Needle in my garden. I have been convinced...

I'm too far north for Atalas, unfortunately. I seem to be in Soldier territory, however.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 6:25AM
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