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What my favorite Butterfly plants are

Posted by breezeway_gardner 8 (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 8, 09 at 13:55

My wife and I live in a over 55 comunity. We live in a townhouse. We can't plant beds outside the house, since we only own the inside. Fortunately there is a breezeway between the house & garage. It measures 24x8 approx.
. We have dug out clay and put in some small beds there. Just around the borders and a small one in the center. We can't have a lot of plants, though we seem to always try to have more than we can handle.
. We have tried lots of plants over the years, but what we have found is that just a few, do the best job for ALL butterflies. I thought I might write down what we use, in case it's of interest to anyone.
. Lantana - The number 1 draw for butterflies. All types of Butterflies love this plant. There's tons of varieties & it is a perennial that does well in our area. I am Not smart about latin wording, species, etc... So bear in mind that I might be way off....
We use "New Gold" and "Dallas Red". We also have used an "upright growing pastel yellow/orange blooms", possibley "Lantana camera". Since space is a premium, we try to use Lantana that grows upward, more than outward.
. Marigolds - Marigolds are the second biggest draw for our butterflies. We use a Yellow that's not a double. "Janie" or "French Marigolds" are the type.
. Tithonia - Tithonia is also a Huge attractor to our garden. Everything seems to love it. We used "Tithonia rotundiflora" the first year and it's HUGE! We had to stake it to keep it from breaking. We have since used the smaller variety (not sure of the name "fiesta de sol"??), anyhow we just couldn't handle the taller variety. The stalks are hollow and they break very easily.
. I know there's tons of plants for Butterflies, but these 3 would attract just about every species, from Giants to Skippers. We have photographed and observed over 55 species of butterfly in our breezeway and over 20 species of Moth.
. We also feed Hummers (Ruby-Throated) and they also love the Tithonia and will feed off the Lantana as well.
We keep some Acanthus growing for the Hummers too and they love it.
. I don't know if this helps anyone or not, but in a small space and with East Texas Heat, Wind & Severe Storms, the Lantana and Marigolds will take all of it and grow very well.
. .

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: What my favorite Butterfly plants are

Those are great nectar plants for butterflies Justin!
I agree that tithonia is tops, and I also planted the Fiesta del Sol this year - it's not grown as tall, and flowers freely.
And lantana can't be beat for popularity with butterflies and the ease of growing it.
I've never tried marigolds, but being in the same family as other really good nectar flowers, I'm sure they provide lots of nectar.

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