The butterfly plant is not the most popular choice among landscaping enthusiasts, but it does deserve some mention nonetheless. The butterfly plant is the first plant I recommend beginners start with when landscaping with flowers in mind. And, I have always found it a refreshing change of pace to introduce butterfly bushes into my flower garden. Here’s why.
*Horned plants are attractive to hummingbirds. You may think that the only time a hummingbird visits your front yard is when you have new flowers on your deck, patio or porch. That could be true, but many birds also like to visit flowerbeds. Why do they do this? It seems that some birds are attracted to the blooms on a plant even if it isn’t the primary attraction to humans.
The butterfly plant is perfect for attracting hummingbirds because it is very similar to the bee balm. Bee balms are also known as European bee balms, after all. Bee balms produce pollen that attracting various species of both bees and wasps. Those of the two types of wasps are particularly attracted to the pollen produced by the bee balm. When you plant a hummingbird garden around a butterfly plant, you will have a source of food for those creatures as well as a nice supply of blossoms for you and other garden visitors.
Hummingbirds love liatris and dune grass. But you don’t have to plant them to get them – just about any flower in a warm to moderate temperature will do. Liatris is so easy to grow that it’s probably one of the easiest plants you can grow in the US, which is good, because these plants are extremely susceptible to frost. Frost affects nearly all kinds of flowers, so it is vital to be aware of the threats to your butterfly plant. If you live in a warm and sunny perennial region, your plants should fare fine most of the time.
The best way to attract bees and other insects to your butterfly plant is in the warmer, drier seasons. This is true for most of the country, although there are a couple of exceptions. For example, in the southern US states, there are only three zones that are good year-round choices for growing bee balm and liatris: zones 3, 4, and 7.
While many plants prefer a warm climate, not all of them are found in warm enough zones to support them. In addition to the evergreen bee balm and liatris, there are two other flowers that are very hardy in cool weather: swallowtails and ruffly sweet pea. Both of these flowers come in both annual and perennial varieties, making them great plants for growing in almost any area.
There are other flowers that thrive in different zones, though. zone 7 perennials do well in the southern US states, such as Texas and Louisiana. Zone 3 perennials do well in the north central US states, such as Minnesota and North Dakota. And zone 3 flowers, which include buttercups and butterflowers, can do quite well anywhere, despite the coldest temperatures.
Most butterfly bush plants need full sun to survive, but that is not a universal condition. Some, such as the swallowtail or ruffly sweet pea, can do well in partial or partially shade. If you are growing a butterfly bush plant from seed, you will find that some bloom better in partial shade than in full sun. This is another reason why you might want to consider planting perennials instead of annuals: by planting perennials, you can plant the flowers in your garden in the right place and then move them to wherever they can do best in your climate.