Are You Attracting Butterflies to Your Garden?

Friday, April 25, 2014 - 10:03am

Goldenrod - Best Bang for Your Buck!

I had been revisiting Doug Tallamy's excellent book Bringing Nature Home when I came across this list of natives to plant to attract butterflies and moths on his  website.  Doug Tallamy is a hortoculterist and professor of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware.  His book is an exhaustive and inspiring look at natives plants and their place in the food chain. Even if you can only plant two of three of these flowers in your yard, you are creating a habitat that will pay off not only in butterflies and moths, but in song birds and more. Non-natives have no food value for many of our pollinators which then effects the birds that eat the larva of these insects and so on up the food chain.

So, when you're thinking of what to plant this year - take this list with you and see if you can't find some room for some of these lovely flowers in your yard!

Common Name/Plant Genus/Number of Butterfly and moth species supported

Goldenrod/Solidago/115  (pictured above with Buckeyed Butterfly)
Asters/Aster/112 (pictured below with yellow butterflies)
Joe pye/Boneset Eupatorium/42
Morning glory/Ipomoea/39 (pictured on right with Black Swallowtail Butterfly)
Honeysuckle/Lonicera/36  -
      (make sure you're getting a native honeysuckle like Lonicera sempervirens, not the
      Japanese Lonicera japonica which is very invasive!)
Asters with Yellow ButterfliesLupine/Lupinus/33
Black-eyed susan/Rudbeckia/17
Evening primrose/Oenothera/16
Beardtongue/ Penstemon/8
Bee balm /Monarda/7
Little bluestem/Schizachyrium/6
Cardinal flower/Lobelia/4


Other Ideas for Great Native Plants:

Download Montgomery County's DEP list of native plants for sunny and shady locations HERE

You can find the Native Plant Guide for the Mid-Atlantic Region HERE