Question: What to Plant in Late Summer for Great Butterfly Action?
Answer: Asclepias or milkweed.
Asclepias tuberosa, butterfly weed (picture below) loves sunny spots with dry sandy even gravelly soils. For more information
Butterfly Weed may need a few seasons to reach full size of 36 inches tall. It is recommended to leave the old stalks in place so you don’t forget about them in spring while they green up.
incarnata or swamp milkweed. For more information
To encourage butterflies to hang out in your garden as long as possible, provide food sources for the larvae (caterpillars) as well as nectar plants for the adults (butterflies). Here is a list of native butterfly plants for Philadelphia*:
*Marinelli, Janet, Brooklyn Botanical Garden All-Region Guides: The Wildlife Gardener’s Guide, 2008.
Host Plants for Caterpillars:
Aristolochia macrophylla, Dutchman’s Pipe
Asclepias incarnate, swamp milkweed
Baptisia australis, false indigo
Chelone glabra, white turtlehead
Eurybia or Aster divaricate, white wood aster
Passiflora incanata, passionflower
Rudbeckia species, yellow coneflower
Solidago rugosa, rough goldenrod
Vaccinium angustifolium, lowbush blueberry
Nectar Plants for Adults
Asclepias tuberosa, butterfly weed
Clethera alnifolia, sweet pepperbush
Echinacea purpurea, purple coneflower
Eutrochium purpureum or Eupatorium purpureum, joe-pye weed
Pycnanthemum muticum, mountain mint
Rudebeckia laciniata, cutleaf coneflower
Solidago species, goldenrods
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, New England Aster
Vernonia noveboracensis, New York ironwood
To learn more about planting for Great Butterfly Action check out these websites: