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6 Plants Irresistible to Butterflies

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This week, Ken Lain The Mountain Gardener of Watters Garden Center in Prescott shares 6 plants that are irresistible to butterflies. Learn how to attract more butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden, which plants butterflies like, and how to get a butterfly to land on you.

butterflies, Ken Lain, The Mountain Gardener, Watters Garden Center, aster

How to attract more butterflies into the gardens was this week’s most-asked question from friends, family, and garden center customers. Because butterflies have their favorite foods, the answer is the same whether you are in a townhome, cabin in the pines, or the newest track home on the block: it all comes down to the right plants. Readily available water sources also are butterfly magnets, but a garden’s irrigation provides enough water to attract them. So, “it all comes down to the right plants”!

This list of butterfly-attracting plants is not exhaustive but ensures your landscape will have more butterflies than you do now. If you plant them, they will come!! (Click on each named plant to access more information.)

butterflies, Ken Lain, The Mountain Gardener, Watters Garden Center, butterfly bush

Butterfly Bush is the essential plant to attract more of these majestic creatures to your landscape. Most are in bloom at the garden center now in a rainbow of colors. For more accessible care with the same number of flowers, look for mountain dwarf varieties that are equally attractive to butterflies and to the gardeners who plant them.

butterflies, Ken Lain, The Mountain Gardener, Watters Garden Center, butterfly weed,

Butterfly Weed has clusters of butterfly-attractive yellow and scarlet red flowers. This easy-care, well-behaved plant needs little attention and delivers terrific landscape color. Try planting this beauty in a glazed pot right on the deck or patio for a real show.

butterflies, Ken Lain, The Mountain Gardener, Watters Garden Center, candy tuft

Whiteout Candytuft is an improved variety of good ol’ candytuft. Dense branching and uniform flowering keep this popular plant covered in pure white flowers from its edges to its center from early to late spring. For a dramatic effect, plant them in masses and watch the butterflies be drawn in as if to magnets.

butterflies, Ken Lain, The Mountain Gardener, Watters Garden Center, Sedum Bronze

Bronze Carpet Stonecrop needs little water once established. This beautiful trailing succulent forms a lush, ground-hugging mat with dainty pink flower stalks rising above the bronze-red foliage. Useful in borders, rock gardens, and containers, it’s an excellent contrast to green- or gray-leaved plants.

butterflies, Ken Lain, The Mountain Gardener, Watters Garden Center, easy elegance rose

Easy Elegance Roses are for new gardeners who fear that roses are hard to grow. Elegance roses flower all season steadily, so there is always a show of colors to enjoy. Include astonishingly clean, disease-resistant foliage and a perfectly round form, and you have dependable, easy-care roses.

butterflies, Ken Lain, The Mountain Gardener, Watters Garden Center, lantana

Miss Huff Lantana is the cold-hardiest lantana yet, with established clumps known to survive temperatures as low as 0°F. Showy orange and pink flowers cycle throughout the warm season. It’s an excellent choice for blistering hot locations, along hillsides, and in patio containers.

butterflies, Ken Lain, The Mountain Gardener, Watters Garden Center, red hot poker

Mango Shoutout Red Hot Poker has striking mango-orange flowers that bloom continuously from summer into fall. This drought-tolerant plant attracts hummingbirds and butterflies and adds magnificent color to mixed beds and mass plantings.

These are my top 6 summer-blooming plants for butterflies. For more ideas, you’ll have to visit your favorite garden center. Here is the link to a list of all 88 mountain-hardy butterfly plants. Also, printed copies are available at Watters Garden Center.

Free Gardening Class at Watters Garden Center in July

Watters Garden Center, gardening classes, Prescott, Ken Lain, The Mountain Gardener

FUN GARDENING CLASSES grow green thumbs of even novice gardeners. Classes are free and are held at Watters Garden Center at 9:30 am every Saturday morning.

July 30 @ 9:30 am – Edible Landscapes with Trees & Berries

August 6 @ 9:30 am – Proper Planting for Success

August 13 @ 9:30 am – Wildlife & Bug Prevention

August 20 @ 9:30 am – Best Evergreen Landscapes

August 27 @ 9:30 am – Gardening for Newcomers

Visit the Entire Summer Class Schedule

Until next issue, I’ll be helping local gardeners Interiorscaping with better houseplants here at Watters Garden Center.

This article was written by Ken Lain. He can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through his website at or

Watters Garden Center, open house, The Mountain Gardener, Ken Lain, Lisa Watters-Lain,

Get more gardening tips from Watters Garden Center in the Mountain Gardener Column on Signals A

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