It is late summer and butterflies are beginning their descent to more suitable wintering sites. Many butterflies move northward in the spring from overwintering sites and then the following generations return southward in the fall. Some of these species include Monarchs, Painted Lady’s, Sulphurs, Question Marks, Buckeyes, and Skippers. As these butterflies migrate southward, it is important to have valuable nectar plants along their path for their nourishment.
While many of our native and roadside areas have several species of asters, goldenrods, and sunflowers blooming in late summer, we gardeners have a chance to add extra stopping spots for these traveling beauties. Many people design their butterfly gardens with the caterpillars in mind, providing a food source for larval feeding. However, we must be sure to include fall blooming perennials for butterfly migrants.
In my own garden, I have a large variety of fall blooming wonders. I include tall sedums, goldenrod, asters, mums, rudbeckia, lobelia, blazing stars, ironweed, sunflowers, bonesets, and veronica. These along with the native plants in my prairie provide necatries for butterflies traveling southward. The following list includes some butterfly magnets that we have available here at the nursery.
Prairie Dock Silphium terabinthinaceum
Willowleaf Sunflower Helianthus salicifolius
Rough Blazingstar Liatris aspera
Aster ‘Woods Purple’
‘Kickin’ Carmine Red’
Showy Goldenrod Solidago speciosa
Sedum ‘Autumn Fire’
Sweet Autumn Clematis ‘Clematis terniflora’