Just like the name suggests, these are magnets for butterflies and other pollinators like bees, moths, and hummingbirds. They’re great bang-for-your-buck in limited-space gardens, too, since they bloom for such a long time and offer fragrance to boot. So many varieties have appeared recently that it can be hard to keep track of them all; many are dwarf and easy to squeeze in the garden, though there are tall types too if you want to use them as a backdrop to a butterfly garden or mixed bed. Nearly seedless or sterile forms don’t waste any energy on seed and so re-bloom even more thoroughly than their “old-fashioned” counterparts. A simple pruning-back in late winter keeps things fresh. For a truly effective butterfly garden, be sure to include a mix of perennials and shrubs – especially natives, and include their host plants – to keep them interested and nourished.
by Miri Talabac, Woody Plant Buyer