When people ask me about attracting butterflies to their garden, my number one recommendation is to plant coneflowers. In this day and age, a lot of plants at the nursuries are marketed a “pollinator-friendly” and usually have a picture of a butterfly on them. But there are many, many types of pollinators (bees, wasps, hover flies…). They are all good, and by all means, plant things that attract them, but if you want butterflies, I’ve found there’s nothing better than coneflowers.
Monarch’s do need milkweed (it’s the only place they lay their eggs) but when it comes to snack time, they love a good coneflower.
This Black Eastern Swallowtail spent a good half hour checking out each one of the coneflower blooms in my backyard the other day.
Another one came by a day later. He was missing half his wing, but it didn’t stop him from getting some good eats.
This little one came by a day or two after that. She was about half the size of the others, and was hard to photograph because she would NOT stop fanning her wings!
Part of me believes she’s the caterpillar that got away – though there’s absolutely no way to know.
And last… the coneflowers are even interesting to the White Cabbage butterflies.
They are probably the most ubiquitous butterfly in our garden. At any given moment there’s at least one fluttering about. But they are notoriously hard to photograph because they rarely sit still!
This fall, I’m planning a it of a revamp on the gardens, and if there’s any room in them come spring, I’m planting more coneflowers!