Planting a few specimens of the right plants can help to stem species decline by fostering butterfly populations.
Want to be part of an ecological solution? Consider cultivating flowering plants that are irresistible to butterflies. Here are a few that will attract these beautiful creatures to your garden:
Butterfly bush (Buddleia) is a shrub that produces panicles of blooms in the late summer. Available in various colours, the dark purple variety tends to be the most familiar. They’re hardy in this region and love full sun.
Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is one of our favourites for its clusters of brilliant orange blooms that attract butterflies. This specimen has made itself at home in a West Island garden.
Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is one of those plants that gardeners used to eradicate from their perennial borders, regarding it as a weed. However, with the decline of monarch butterfly populations, many conscious gardeners are leaving it in place as a host for monarch larvae, which feed on the plant’s leaves. Monarchs absolutely need milkweed to survive and propagate.
Shrub verbena (Lantana) is native to the tropics and subtropics, so should be cultivated here in containers. It’s attractive to swallowtail butterflies and (bonus!) hummingbirds.
Goldenrod (Solidago Canadensis) is that frothy yellow flower that grows to about five feet tall and blooms in August. A wildflower, it thrives in meadows but can be cultivated in gardens to attract butterflies and other pollinators. Monarchs love the stuff.
Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum) is also known as Butterfly Nectar plant, which says it all. It’s tall (four to eight feet) and bears fluffy mauve blooms throughout the summer. It attracts monarchs and swallowtails.