Butterfly garden perennials

jennypat Zone 3b NW MN(Zone 3b NW MN)June 3, 2009

What perennials would be good for a butterfly garden here in NW MN? I know they like Salvia and Agastachie, but they aren't hardy here, and buying the plants every year is costly.

I have been trying to get Asclepias tuberosa, var. Clay to grow for a couple years now. I think I need to invest in plants, the seed never germinates for me. And I have tried it a couple different ways. (I know it needs cold stratification).

I think I need to add a few plants here and there as the budget allows.


Jenny P

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Not knowing your area, I can't say what would be hardy, but this page from the U of M is stuffed with info...Helen.

Here is a link that might be useful: Butterfly gardens

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 10:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Beebalm/Monarda/Bergamot grows great up here. Mine gets bigger and happier looking every year and it's always covered with bees and butterflies. The Jacob Cline variety - tall and bright red - also gets more action from hummingbirds than our feeder ever does.

Butterflies love flat, single petal flowers - think coneflower, daisies, black-eyed susan - that type. Avoid super-showy, many petaled types - they don't seem to have as much nectar.

Have fun!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 3:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jennypat Zone 3b NW MN(Zone 3b NW MN)

I love bee balm, and planted some of the Jacob cline a few years ago, it has just limped along. And has been declining, I did figure out one of the reasons why just today. A couple years back my DH decided to help me in the flower beds, he was SOOO nice he put down landscape cloth and covered it with mulch so it would look pretty. I hate landscape cloth! I thought I had removed all of it, but just today found it buried in the bed with the Monarda. No wonder it didn't increase and grow! LOL I am going to dig out a few roots and move them out to the butterfly bed, maybe they will grow there.

Has anyone had problems with diseases in their echinecea? I planted a couple different varieties, but mostly the plain old native one. Last year I had to remove almost all of them, they had what I believe is Yellow Asters disease. The flowers looked more like mums than echinecea. I found a source for some more, and replanted, but we will see how they do this year.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 4:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Too funny about the landscape cloth! Yep - that would definitely keep it from spreading, wouldn't it?

I would try some of the lower growing varieties too - Jacob Cline seems to be the slowest and most susceptible to mildew, etc. I love it, it's my favorite color! - but I have a purple and a bright pink variety and they are both much more vigorous.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 9:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have trouble with Aster Yellows and coneflowers every year. I only plant them new when I find them on sale and I have some success with re-seeding and transplanting the seedlings. As a result I don't even try the new more expensive varieties. It also prevents me from planting large flower coreopsis, and annuals such as marigold, cosmos and those 'Proven Winners' pot stuffing mums. Bummer of a problem, thats gardening I guess.


    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 9:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Parsley and dill are good plants for butterfly caterpillars. I had a few plants of Honey Bee Blue agastache that lived a couple of winters. They did reseed themselves and I had some more plants. I forgot what the seedlings looked like and weeded them all out, I think. But they should be fairly easy to start by seed if you can find some. In western MN, I used to have the monarchs swarm on my oak trees.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 9:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Cone flower is one they are really attracted to for me I also have bee balm. I have have no problems with my coneflowers. Very healthy. I clip the whole seed head and shove it in the ground. Make a very sturdy plant that way. Am still sitting with a container full of seeds.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 1:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree with other posters on the purple coneflowers. The butterflies absolutely love it! I know you asked about perennials, but as a quick fix, tall annual zinnias could be a fill-in while you wait for the perennials to mature. They are always covered with butterflies in my garden.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 9:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Patty_WI(z4 WI)

There are host plants and nectar plants for butterflies. We like Monarch and Swallowtail so have Asclepias (milkweed or butterfly weed), for the Monarch cats and plant Dill and Parsley for the Swallowtail cats.

For perenial nectar plants we have many...cone flower, liatris, monarda, shasta daisy, phlox, lilies, aster, black eyed susan, etc. Zinnias and cosmos for annuals also.

I spotted a Monarch a couple of weeks ago... now have baby cats on the butt weed. Probably about 50 little guys.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 6:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dandy_line(3B (Brainerd, Mn))

Jennypat-I my orange milkweed seeds from last years crop germinated at about 1000% for me this spring. Send me an email in the fall and I will send you a bunch of seed along with some other good butterfly types.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 7:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In addition to those already mentioned, add anise hyssop.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 7:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jennypat Zone 3b NW MN(Zone 3b NW MN)

Thanks everyone, I do have anise hyssop already , we have volunteer dill in the garden, I planted some bronze fennel, about 6 plants, spread through the yard. I am praying for this years crop of echinecea, so far it looks good.

Dandy-line, I would love to get some milkweed seed from you!

I do have a large crop of the native swamp milkweed down by the pond. I assume that they like that. The problem is, the pond is so far from the house I seldom go down there! I did have a nice sized swarm? flock? of Monarchs visit me over the last week! I have never seen a swallowtail up here, but that would be kewl!

Jenny P

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 11:29AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Any Minnesotans out there?
These posts r so old! Is there anyone out there ready...
Hop Vines at Local Nurseries?
Just wondering if anyone in Minnesota has come across...
Looking for narrow shrub that can handle part shade and dry soil
Hello, My husband and I have a privacy screen made...
how late can I divide?
Hi all, Here's a question from your neighbor in North...
Peach Trees in Minnesota
I've heard of some people successfully growing peach...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™