Best nectar plants in your garden?
This morning I watched a Red Admiral, a Giant Swallowtail, several Zebra Longwings and Monarchs and a Gulf Fritillary using my red pentas. This flower is the absolute best nectar plant in my garden. Every butterfly that uses flowers for nectar will use the red pentas. The ones I have all came from a butterfly/nature nursery near my house. They grow very large--over four feet and about three feet wide if they have enough water and fertilizer.
They are easy to grow from cuttings. I'm a bit laid up now, but when healthy I'm usually growing cuttings. The hummingbirds also like this plant.
The other plant that comes in a close second is the large purple porterweed. (Stachytarpheta frantzii). Like the pentas these plants don't need to be deadheaded and they are ever-blooming. Again, the hummingbirds like this plant as well. Due to the mild winters we have had in Central Florida I have some that are over twelve feet tall now and still growing.
I understand that these plants don't overwinter in most of your zones, but if you are looking for annuals that will start blooming from the moment you plant them until the first frost these two are winners.
I'd like to hear which plants do best in your gardens.