13 Late Summer Bloomers that Attract Butterflies!
A BAKER’S DOZEN FOR LATE SUMMER BLOOMS THAT ATTRACT BUTTERFLIES
Written by Ann Meisoll
How many of these plants do you have in your garden? If the answer is none, then shame on you! Not only are they all easy to care for, but all of them have the added bonus of attracting hummingbirds and/or butterflies and bees. All of the plants listed here are low maintenance and bloom for a good long time, starting in mid-summer.
Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)
Black-eyed Susans are the state flower of Maryland but they grow great in the state of Virginia! The blankets of golden yellow that you see for over a month are usually Black-eyed Susans. Birds love the seed heads, so be sure to leave them on the stems.
Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)
Quite simply, butterflies love butterfly bushes. So do gardeners. They are so easy to grow and care for (the plant, not the gardener!) and they are available in different shades of lavender, blue, pink, magenta, and white.
Caryopteris is one of the most underutilized plants in the garden. They look like miniature vitex (or chaste trees) and have beautiful blue, spiky puffball flowers on them.
Coneflowers should be a staple of every sunny garden. You can plant different shades of yellow, orange, red, lavender and white for a rainbow of summer color. Goldfinches absolutely LOVE the seed heads, so be sure to leave them attached to the stems when the petals fall.
Need a small-to-medium size tree that blooms for months in the summer? Plant a crape myrtle. They’re low maintenance, hardy, beautiful, and long-lasting. Butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds also love the abundance of blooms.
Hardy Hibiscus (Perennial)
Hardy hibiscus should have a place of prominence in every sunny garden bed. Bloom size ranges from 3” across to almost dinner plate size, and you can find them in all shades of red, white and pink. A mass planting is a showstopper and a stopping place for butterflies and hummingbirds.
While we do love hydrangeas, paniculata hydrangeas are standout performers. Paniculatas have cone-shaped blooms, they don’t mind the sun, and they bloom for weeks. Little Lime is a dwarf variety of Limelight, and Strawberry Sundae is a compact form of Vanilla Strawberry.
Many gardeners remember phlox paniculata from their parents’ or grandparents’ gardens, but have no idea what it’s called! It’s that “tall, beautiful, fragrant phlox my grandma used to grow”. These phlox are a mid-border-to-back-of-the-border plant. But don’t worry, the butterflies will find it wherever it is planted.
Agastache is a member of the mint family, and they are beautiful both in the garden and containers. Hummingbirds absolutely love them. They bloom all summer long up until frost and come in some great fluorescent colors
Russian sage (Perovskia)
Russian sage is a tough as nails perennial that has tons of pale blue blooms from midsummer to early fall. The light color blooms combined with the silvery foliage will light up any corner of your garden. Bees love it, as do butterflies.
Lobelia (Perennial upright variety)
Lobelia is great for that wet squishy area in your garden where nothing else will grow. Red is the most common bloom color, but blue is also available. They have neat, tubular flowers that bees and hummingbirds love to feed from.
Rose of Sharon (Althea)
Rose of Sharon is actually a flowering shrub, but it was too pretty to pass up for this entry. Althea is commonly mistaken for hibiscus. It can be a large bushy shrub/small tree and is covered with beautiful hibiscus-like blooms for most of the summer. Bees love to pop in and out of the blooms.
Perennial salvia is such a strong performer, it should be in every garden. Like Agastache, salvia is related to mint, but its’ growth is much more controlled. Hummingbirds will be all over Salvia greggii—the bright colors and tubular blooms all summer are just what they need and want.
We strongly recommend adding at least one of these (if not all of them) to your garden, to make it a much more beautiful space!