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Attracting Hummingbirds and Butterflies

Attracting hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden is a satisfying and rewarding experience. The sight of these beautiful creatures fluttering about makes the garden come alive. Here are some tips to help you attract these winged beauties from spring ‘til fall.

  1. Provide both open, sunny areas and shrubs or trees for shade, nesting and other food sources.
  2. Provide a mix of Native and cultivated plants with various bloom times and colors from the lists provided. By providing a wide variety of plants, your garden can attract a wide diversity of both hummingbirds and butterflies.
  3. While hummingbirds are attracted to many of the same nectar filled flowers as butterflies, they are more strongly attracted to flowers which are also tubular, lacking in fragrance, structurally designed to be accessible to hummingbirds (and, therefore, inaccessible to other nectar feeders) and have the color red.
    As an example, Aquilegia (Columbine) is attractive to both creatures; however, the red varieties will tend to be more attractive to hummingbirds.
  4. Consider providing hummingbird feeders filled with sugar-water. Even flowers with the longest blooming period and the most abundant nectar production may not be able to fill the energy needs of these busy little creatures. However, once you start attracting these gems to your yard, make sure you have someone to look after the flowers and feeders while you are gone. Hummingbirds come to rely upon a dependable source of food.
  5. In addition to nectar, hummingbirds rely on spiders and other small insects as a food source. Do not use insecticides of any kind in your hummingbird or butterfly garden. Not only do these chemicals kill the food sources and poison the nectar that these creatures rely upon, but can also sicken or even kill the hummingbirds or butterflies that ingest them.
  6. Remember, caterpillars are baby butterflies. You can’t have a butterfly garden without them. Butterflies should have host plants (marked with an * on the following list) on which to lay their eggs, and for the caterpillars to eat. Expect these plants to look very bare as the babies munch.
  7. Butterflies also appreciate shallow water or puddles to drink from and over ripe fruit for a treat.

Butterfly Attractors

ACHILLEA species
ACTAEA simplex
AEGOPODIUM p. Variegatum
AGASTACHE species
*ALCEA species
ALCHEMILLA mollis
ALLIUM species
AMORPHA canescens
AMSONIA species
ANGELICA gigas
AQUILEGIA species
ARABIS species
*ASCLEPIAS species
ASTER species
ASTILBE species
AUBRIETA deltoidea
BAPTISIA species
BOLTONIA species
CALAMINTHA species
CEANOTHUS americanus
CENTAUREA species
CENTRANTHUS ruber
CHELONE glabra
*CHELONE lyonii
CHELONE obliqua
COREOPSIS species
DALEA purpurea
DELPHINIUM species
DENDRANTHEMA species
DIANTHUS species
*DICTAMNUS albus
ECHINACEA species
ECHINOPS species
ERIGERON species
EUPATORIUM species
FILIPENDULA species
FRAGARIA species
GAILLARIDA species
GERANIUM species
GEUM species
*HELENIUM species

HELIANTHUS species
HELIOPSIS species
HEMEROCALLIS species
HEUCHERA species
*HIBISCUS species
IBERIS species
IRIS species
KALIMERIS species
KNAUTIA species
LAVANDULA species
LEUCANTHEMUM
species
LIATRIS species
LOBELIA siphlitica
*LUPINUS species
LYSIMACHIA Atropurpurea & clethroides
MALVA species
MONARDA species
NEPETA species
ORIGANUM laevigatum
Herrenhausen
PACKERA aurea
PAEONIA species
PENSTEMON species
*PENSTEMON digitalis
PEROVSKIA species
PHLOX species
PHYSOSTEGIA species
POTENTILLA species
PRIMULA species
PRUNELLA grandiflora
PYCNANTHEMUM
RATIBIDA pinnata
RUDBECKIA species
RUELLIA humilis
SALVIA species
SCABIOSA species
SEDUM species
SOLIDAGO species
SPIGELIA marilandica

STOKESIA species
THALICTRUM species
THYMUS species
TRADESCANTIA species
TROLLIUS species
*VERBENA species
VERNONIA species
VERONICA species
VERONICASTRUM
virginicum
*VIOLA cornuta
*VIOLA pedata
*VIOLA sororia
YUCCA filimentosa
ZIZIA species

GRASS

Pennisetum
Alopecuriodes

VINES

ARISTOLOCHIA durior
HUMULUS
lupulus Aureus
HYDRANGEA
a. petiolaris
LATHYRUS latifolius

HERBS

Borage
Chives, Garlic
*Dill
*Fennel
Lavender
Mint
Oregano
*Parsley
Rosemary
*Rue
Sage (Salvia officinalis) species
Thyme

*Butterfly host plants

Hummingbird Attractors

AJUGA species
ALCEA species
AQUILEGIA canadensis
AQUILEGIA x Crimson Star
AQUILEGIA x Red Hobbit
CAMPSIS radicans
CLEMATIS species
DELPHINIUM species
DIANTHUS barbatus
DICENRA x Burning Hearts
DICENTRA x King of Hearts
DIGITALIS species
HEMEROCALLIS species
HEUCHERA sanguinea
HEUCHERA x brizoides
HOSTA species
IRIS ensata
IRIS pseudacorus
IRIS versicolor & virginiana

LAMIASTRUM
LAMIUM
LIATRIS species
LILIUM species
LOBELIA cardinalis
LOBELIA Hybrids
LONICERA
LUPINUS species
LYSIMACHIA atropurpurea
MONARDA species
PENSTEMON species
PHLOX species
PHYSOSTEGIA species
PULMONARIA species
SALVIA nemerosa
& pratensis
SILENE regia
SILPHIUM perfoliatum
SILPHIUM terebinthinaceum
SOLIDAGO rigida
SOLIDAGO rugosa Fireworks
SOLIDAGO speciosa
SPIGELIA marilandica

HERBS

Pineapple Sage
Rosemary