flowers for butterflies,bees and birds

Rosebud88's picture

I would like to plant one of my raised beds for butterflies, bees and hummingbirds this year. I am thinking echinacea, monarda, etc.. Any suggestions? What do you find they really like at your house? I am looking for things that don't get huge to plant in my fenced garden. It is full sun, zone 8. I have a buddelia that they love, and have another that I will plant before long, and an abelia, but they are too big to go in my fenced garden. I am posting here because I was hoping to trade for some starts/seeds of these plants. I am not opposed to plants that will get larger, as I have places to put them, but I wanted some butterflies in the garden for the girls.

 


 

 

 

LIBugGuy's picture

(post #11814, reply #1 of 45)

Well, if size is an issue, you don't want the regular Tithonia, as it can get huge, but there are smaller varieties.


Agastash nnnnnnnnnnnnn Buddy, off the keyboard


Agastash is great for attracting bees & butterflies, but it can reseed excessively.


Zinnea & cosmos are good too...  and catmint is great as well.



Gardening in the heart of the suburban sandbar- LI NY, Zone 7ish...


Edited 1/20/2003 10:47:23 AM ET by ArtP

Selling plants from the Orange box, and doing a little garden work on the side.

LI, NY, almost zone 7, but it's been warmer of late :)

Rosebud88's picture

(post #11814, reply #2 of 45)

I have some agastache, and they love that - I will definitely be adding more of that. I like it, too!


 


 

 

 

Karen__W's picture

(post #11814, reply #5 of 45)

Salvias. The favorite in my garden for bees and butterflies is Indigo Spires, although that gets pretty big and floppy. Bees also love the blooms of lambs ear. Hummingbirds like the red salvias, especially S. miniata, but the red coccinea is good too and would do better if your spot is sunny. The greggii's might get too big but you could probably keep one pruned back. The preferred butterfly roost for me is Agastache Blue Fortune, even more than buddleia. Don't forget larval foods, PL will probably have a lot to add there, but I always grow bronze fennel for the swallowtails. Here's a link to one of my local references on the subject: http://www.duke.edu/~cwcook/plants4leps.html


I don't have a lot of cuttings this year but brought in some big potted salvias. If the kids will quit leaving the garage door open and the salvias don't freeze I'd be glad to take some cuttings in the spring.

North Carolina -- Zone 7
Astrid's picture

(post #11814, reply #8 of 45)

Agastache Blue Fortune is the most favorite of both bees and butterflies in my front yard, and it lasts a long time too. It is tallish, almost 3 ft. at full growth, although it takes to trimming well. In the cutting garden, zinnias and Bishop's weed, ammi majus, attract several kinds of bees. Some of the smaller border size zinnias might be easy to do, as well as providing bright color.


New Mexico home organic gardener

Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience. Emerson

New Mexico home organic gardener Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience. Emerson
Rosebud88's picture

(post #11814, reply #13 of 45)

I have no idea what variety my agastache is- they sure like it though. I had it planted in amongst my tomatoes last year, and it pleased me to no end to see all those yellow pear tomatoes, the blue flowers of agastache and pink flowers of a gaura, all with butterflies flitting and bees buzzing about. After growing "Black and Blue" Salivia last year and having it do so well, I definitly want to try some more of those. Here is a picture of a butterfly bed that is about the size of mine- I want a little more color though....


They love my parsley, so I have started planting extra.


 


 

 

 

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justTISH's picture

(post #11814, reply #16 of 45)

I've had entire plantings of parsley and dill wiped out by Black Swallowtail Butterflies.  They are host plants for the eggs and caterpillers.  Granted, these were tiny plantings of about 1'x2' in the backyard garden of the Audubon Bookshop in DC, but still I was very freaked out until I found out what those wicked-looking bugs were!  One of my wonderful shop volunteers advised me to plant a bed of these herbs near the butterfly garden for them and another far away fro my own use.  It worked pretty well at my house.


If you do get them, be sure to tickle the caterpillers with a blade of grass so the girls can see them poke out their orange "horns."


When in doubt, choose the one called Aphrodite.

If a woman is to have a well-kept home, she must have power tools and a tool shed to call her own.

ellengst's picture

(post #11814, reply #3 of 45)

Scout - the mondarda is a good one for attracting hummingbirds. I didn't even know we had them in our new yard until we planted a mondarda last summer.  At our last house, I was really surprised to see them visiting my columbine, so you might try those as well. Cardinal climber - which is a morning glory relative with a lacier foliage and red tubular flowers is supposed to attract hummingbirds, as well. And, butterfly weed (a milkweed relative, with flowers in yellows, oranges, or reds)  is supposed to be - what else!) good for attracting butterflies.

Ellen

Ellen
Karen__W's picture

(post #11814, reply #6 of 45)

I second the cardinal climber. Mine was a real hummingbird target in the front bed. I should have seedlings in the spring and can probably go harvest seeds still, although I'm thinking I probably shouldn't have planted it there in the first place. Jeana warned me about the seeding but I didn't listen.

North Carolina -- Zone 7
Jeapurrs's picture

(post #11814, reply #17 of 45)

"Jeana warned me about the seeding but I didn't listen."

<<Envisioning a carpet of seedlings in late spring and Karen cursing, "How did they get all the way over *here*?">>


Gardening Savant

Gardening Savant
Karen__W's picture

(post #11814, reply #24 of 45)

all the way over to Tennessee if you're not careful

North Carolina -- Zone 7
Rosebud88's picture

(post #11814, reply #7 of 45)

I have seeds for the cardinal climber that I got from my neighbor, I think that is lovely. I also have seeds from a vine with a bright orange flower- the flower is very small and the plant is quite tidy. I have no idea what itis called. Butterfly weed grows ramant, but I have not saved seeds, and it does not transplant well for me at all. Maybe I can try to save seeds this autumn and plant.


Does your monarda suffer from mildew?


 


 

 

 

ellengst's picture

(post #11814, reply #10 of 45)

I didn't have a problem with mildew last summer, but it was our first summer in this house, and a very dry one. We watered almost exclusively with soaker hoses, which may have helped. I have heard (but not yet tried this) that spraying plants with a solution of baking soda dissolved in water will prevent and perhaps even cure mildew.

Ellen

Ellen
gbandy2's picture

(post #11814, reply #11 of 45)

There are lots of mildew resistant Monarda varieties available these days, though I find that most of them decline after they bloom and should be cut back hard.  'Jacob Cline' is a great red.  Don't buy any - I have tons!  Maybe too big for your bed, but, in addition to the other things mentioned already, the hummingbirds at my house love Weigela.

Rosebud88's picture

(post #11814, reply #15 of 45)

Thanks, Gretchen. I still have not forgotten about your lycoris, either, I waited too late to send them and I thought I would just wait until spring.


We planted a beautifil lighter pink wegelia in the garden year before last, before I realized how big that thing was going to get! It was yet another plant that was moved- the bees seem to really like that one. It is now at the corner of the shop, and I hope it will be happy there. I bought a pretty variegated one at Wal Mart that was 3/4's dead for 99 cents at the end of the summer- I don't know if it will be here this spring or not. Call me the eternal optomist!


 


 

 

 

Jeapurrs's picture

(post #11814, reply #19 of 45)

Phlox is a butterfly magnet, in particular, the 'Jeana' phlox really draws them for some reason. If yours didn't make it, let me know, I'll replace it. Emilia javonica or tassel flower is an annual that you can start indoors or sow in situ and it might even be hardy for you in milder winters. It's actually a perennial listed for zone 8, I think. I'm pretty sure I gave away all my seeds at Beej's place, but I think Select Seeds carries it and it's worth getting. It really draws the sulphurs and they dangle off the supple stems, the soft yellow of the wings in stark contrast to the orange-red of flowers. If you decide not to get seeds, I'll be sure to save you some seeds this summer.


Gardening Savant

Gardening Savant
Rosebud88's picture

(post #11814, reply #22 of 45)

Thanks for the offer, Jeana. Unless something drastic has happened, the phlox should be OK. It is still in it's pot- I moved everything around so much last year in my fenced garden I was afraid to plant it by the time I got everything situated, because it was so hot. It is on one of my pallets with all of my other "in limbo until I find a really safe place for them" plants. I hate to say that I do not believe that the pink deutzia made it though, for some reason. It was still in the pot, for the same reason that the phlox was. It was so dry that even with water from the irrigation system, some of my things died. It drives me crazy when I water so carefully and some plants just barely hang on, but the first rain just totally rejuvenates them. I wonder sometimes if it has something to do with the chemicals in the water.

 


 

 

 

Jeapurrs's picture

(post #11814, reply #23 of 45)

Oh, no! The rare deutzia died?! I dont know if I have a box big enough to send another layered plant of it. You'll just have to come get one. :-P


Gardening Savant

Gardening Savant
Rosebud88's picture

(post #11814, reply #29 of 45)

"Oh, no! The rare deutzia died?!"


Oh, please don't make me feel any worse. (head hanging in shame) I have been wanting one forever, and I have still not given it totally up for gone. If I were a braver person, I would just break a branch and see if it were really dead, but I don't really want to know right now.....I am so sorry.


I am really planning on coming up that way to see you- (if you'll have me!) just a matter of when! I want to see plants, not snow!


 


 

 

 

Jeapurrs's picture

(post #11814, reply #32 of 45)

Oh :-P ! That wasn't a rare deutzia. Maybe one you wouldn't come across unless you went out on a quest for it. The lower branches tip over and layer themselves. It's a gorgeous thing, double blooms that are pink, barely edged in silvery pink. I'm hoping I didn't get out with hubby and dig up all the layered plants and chuck them. I'll have to check. But if there's one left, it's probably a good (big) sized one. If you had one in your display garden and kept a few on hand, you'd sell them all out when yours was in bloom.


Gardening Savant

Gardening Savant
Rosebud88's picture

(post #11814, reply #35 of 45)

You shouldn't pick on me...I'M TELLIN'!! I hear so much of that right now! It sounds so pretty, I hope mine isn't completely dead. Butterfly weed is a hated plant by a lot of people here, too. My mother taught me to love it, snd planted it everywhere when I was small.

 


 

 

 

Jeapurrs's picture

(post #11814, reply #20 of 45)

I meant to add....as for the lycoris, the best thing to do with them would be to leave them till they're starting to go dormant, which should be about June sometime. They'd be better off completing their cycle for the year than being interrupted.


Gardening Savant

Gardening Savant
Rosebud88's picture

(post #11814, reply #21 of 45)

I agree, the only problem is that I have a bunch that had to be dug or they would lose their lives. They are growing like crazy in my garage, no soil, no water, no light. I really just need to go plant them somewhere.

 


 

 

 

Carrie's picture

(post #11814, reply #26 of 45)

Scout,


Just how big should a variegated wegelia get in Z 5?  I have admired one from Spring Hill and wasn't ready to buy a stick.  Maybe I'll see if WalMart stocks it again this year but I will try to buy it before it is half dead.  Hey, for 99 cents I'll try just about anything.


As for the eternal optimist I can join you.  Last year one of my caryopteris (Blue mist-I think) croaked and left two little green buds on the root.  After getting a large replacement, I tossed the dead roots and planted my little 1 inch sprout in my perennial bed and ended up with a respectable little shrub.  I have several Blue mists right by my front porch and they attract many interesting sights.  I sit with my 3 year old and watch the fat bumble bees, honeybees, moths, a few butterflies and was surprised to see my first hummingbird ever. 

Puttering & plant collecting in Suburban clay Z5.
Rosebud88's picture

(post #11814, reply #30 of 45)

I have no idea. I really don't know much about wegelia except that I like them! I border on the ridiculous with my plants- like the daylilies- if I break so much as 1/2" off of a daylily root, that smidgen is getting it's own pot.

 


 

 

 

TRVLBAG's picture

(post #11814, reply #42 of 45)

i HAVE A LIGHt PINK WEIGELIA .  It is a small very full branched shrub, small being about 2-3 feet high and wide.  Have been looking at it, has too many crossed branches, and I'm not certain how to prune?  shall I prune just like roses?   cut back about a foot high, or be more circumspect? 


thanks, Kathleen

RuthWells's picture

(post #11814, reply #4 of 45)

Scout, 


My sedum "Matrona" was covered in bees and butterflies in late summer & early fall.  Okay, it was a fairly pedestrian grey-brown butterfly, and not terribly beautiful, but if you want bees, Matrona will deliver.  I've got tons of it and it roots very easily, so let me know if you want some... otherwise, I think you've hit all the usual suspects.  Buddleia has always been the best butterfly magnet for me -- if you coppiced it every year, would you have room in your raised bed?  I think Art mentioned catmint -- I have a nice stand of 'Six Hills Giant' I can share if you'd like some.


 


 


Ruth Wells

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

Rosebud88's picture

(post #11814, reply #9 of 45)

I would love to try some- I have what I call a "dry" bed that I have my dianthus in, it would probably grow well there. I had some lavender there as well, but it still croaked. <sigh> I have been able to grow a variety called "spanish butterfly", so I not totally without lavender. I would *love* some of your catmint. I had a huge plant of "Six Hills Giant" and last year when I re-designed (destroyed) my garden, it did not survive the move. It has a nasty smell to me, but I love the gary colored leaves and those blue flowers.


My favorite current buddelia is Honeycomb. I also moved it last year after it got much larger than I expected, I hope it fares better this year or I may move it once again. It definitely prefers loamy soil to red baked clay. Can't imagine why......finicky plant <grin>



 


 


Edited 1/20/2003 11:38:53 AM ET by Scout

 

 

RuthWells's picture

(post #11814, reply #12 of 45)

Bop me an email when you get a chance, Scout.  I've got all my reminders for spring cuttings in my inbox.... are you coming to WolvieFest?


 


Ruth Wells

Ruth Wells

"Gardening is the only unquestionably useful job."
 - G.B. Shaw

www.lemonade-and-kidneys.blogspot.com

www.ruthssweetpleasures.com

http://www.pkdcure.org/Default.aspx?TabI...

Rosebud88's picture

(post #11814, reply #33 of 45)

I sure hope so! I am sending the e-mail now- thanks!

 


 

 

 

Karen__W's picture

(post #11814, reply #14 of 45)

Buddleia 'Lochinch' has done well for me in red baked clay out in the meadow. It even seeded off into the ashes of an old bonfire site, although the seedlings were not especially attractive. I can take cuttings this spring if you want to try it. And I have a lavender monarda cultivar called Claire Grace that is mildew resistant, it originated at Southern Perennials and Herbs in Mississippi. Mine is in a very dry spot and isn't very happy so it will need to be moved this year if it survived the drought, and I'd be glad to send some.

North Carolina -- Zone 7