I’m always on the lookout for new butterfly garden plants. I love my butterfly garden, and making sure that I plant a wide range of perennials to feed all different types of butterflies is important to me. It’s also important to support colonies of pollinating insects, including butterflies, so that they continue to thrive.
This month, the nice folks over at High Country Gardens send me information on several new plant introductions that will be great for your butterfly garden. I’m sharing this information with their permission.
New Butterfly Garden Perennials from High Country Gardens
The first two plants can be grown anywhere in the United States from zone 3 or 4 (think northern Maine) to the deep south (zone 9). These are great for a very natural, woodland or meadow-type garden. You could plant a few in your garden to attract butterflies or plant a small strip for butterflies, such as the space behind a garage. Wherever you have full sun, think about adding some of these wonderful plants.
Asclepias incarnata (Rose Milkweed) 3-4 ft. tall x 3 ft. wide / zones 3-9
This is a showy pink blooming native milkweed species that’s a food plant for Monarch butterfly caterpillars and a nectar source for the adult butterflies of all types. More refined than some other milkweed species, this is a superb garden plant that combines well with ornamental grasses and other perennials. While it’s also known as Swamp Milkweed, this wildflower actually grows well in both moderately moist and wet soils. It’s also an excellent choice for rain gardens and the outlaying low areas and roadsides of your property where it will naturalize. This is also a perennial butterfly garden plant and great for your butterfly garden.
Plant care: Very cold hardy, this perennial can be transplanted throughout the growing season, spring to fall. Grows well in all types of soils, including clay. Herbaceous, it dies back to the ground in winter, but leave standing for attractive seed pods that provide winter interest. Cut back to a couple of inches above the ground in mid-spring. Fertilize once annually in the fall with a light application of compost or organic fertilizer.
Achillea millefolium ‘Sonoma Coast’ (Sonoma Coast White Creeping Yarrow) 12” x 24″ wide / Zones 4- 10
With its soft, feathery, light-green leaves and spreading underground stems, ‘Sonoma Coast‘ is a fantastic, low-care native groundcover from California that makes a durable, low-water lawn substitute. It blooms with bright white flowers in late spring/early summer. This keeps the handsome, ferny foliage tidy and dense. Tolerates light to moderate foot traffic. A much more compact and ornamental form of the common white-flowered yarrow.
Plant care: Indestructible in the garden, the plant requires no special care other than deadheading when blooming is finished. When grown in large patches, simply mow off the faded flowers with your lawn mower deck set at its highest setting. If the foliage looks a little tired in mid-spring, rake out brown foliage with a leaf rake. Fertilize once annually in the fall with a light application of compost or organic fertilizer.
More Butterfly Garden Plants
I’ve written extensively on butterfly gardens and lectured locally on them, too. I share plenty of resources here on Home Garden Joy, including our free Butterfly Garden Guide. You may enjoy the following articles:
- FREE Butterfly Gardening Guide
- Plants for Virginia Butterfly Gardens
- The Tiger Swallowtail
- How to Tell Good or Bad Bugs from the Cocoon
Jeanne Grunert is a certified Virginia Master Gardener and the author of several gardening books. Her garden articles, photographs, and interviews have been featured in The Herb Companion, Virginia Gardener, and Cultivate, the magazine of the National Farm Bureau. She is the founder of The Christian Herbalists group and a popular local lecturer on culinary herbs and herbs for health, raised bed gardening, and horticulture therapy.