Top Plants for Bees/Butterflies: June-July Part II

Welcome back! The glorious Independence Day is over and summer is bearing down upon us. I am always so busy getting things done for the holidays, that I hardly have time to put posts together. The second half of the season has started and we need some flower power to steer us through. The second half of our Top 10 list of perennials for June-July is below. Enjoy the show!

Yarrow ‘Saucy Seduction’

6. Yarrow (Achillea species) Cultivars: ‘Paprika’ ‘Saucy Seduction’ ‘Apricot Delight’                  Yarrow is a wonderful, moderate to fast spreading, groundcover perennial. This low growing perennial is great for a number of insects, blooming from May through August, and father is deadheaded. Some of the old species yarrows bloom once and its over, but newer cultivars put out a continuous display of color for 8 to 12 weeks, sometimes more. The ferny foliage is mat forming and forms a dense cover that chokes out most weeds. Flowers lift above the mat from 12 to 24 inches. They prefer slightly drier than normal soils, in full sun.

False Sunflower

7.  False Sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides) Cultivars: (Native) ‘Summer Sun’ ‘Prairie Sunset’               False sunflowers are workhorses of the garden, coming up early and staying out late. They begin blooming in May and keep going to September and often until first frost. These bright sunflower-like perennials will seed readily into any landscape and hold their position strongly. Bees and butterflies of all kinds utilize the composite flowers. They prefer full sun to part shade, in well-drained soils. They are extremely drought tolerant, holding up well in the hottest landscapes. 

Giant Swallowtail Butterfly on Tall Garden Phlox

8. Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata) Cultivars: ‘Coral Creme Drop’ ‘David’ ‘Flame Series Red’                   Tall garden phlox is an old-time favorite of gardeners across the United States. This reseeding perennial can handle the heat and bring it! It starts blooming in late June and goes and goes and goes all the way to September. With colors ranging from lavender to white to purple to red, this perennial powerhouse is a favorite go-to for butterflies, especially swallowtails. The nectar is enjoyed by many pollinators. It loves full sun to part shade and well-drained to heavy clay soils. 

Monarch butterfly on Swamp Milkweed

9. Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) Cultivars: (Native) ‘Ice Ballet’ ‘Cinderella’                              Swamp milkweed is one of those perennials that is a must have for monarch watchers. Monarchs use this tall milkweed during the summer months as a food source and host for their caterpillars. Many other insects use the nectar for food too. The cultivars above start blooming earlier than the species, often in May. Bloom times last from July to frost on the native. They prefer well-drained to moist soils, in full sun. Plants reach from 2 to 6 feet in height, depending on moisture levels and cultivar. 

Buttonbush ‘Sugar Shack’

10. Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) Cultivars: (Native) ‘Sputnik’ ‘Sugar Shack’               The only shrub on this list, buttonbush is  very uniquely blooming plant for pollinators. Though the bloom time is short, for 5 weeks during July and August, this shrub plays its part in pollinator paradises. Butterflies and bees love the round, white balls of pollen and nectar, and flock to it. These shrubs can get large, from 6 to 12 feet in height and spread into large thickets. They prefer full sun to part shade in moist to well-drained soils. The glossy leaves also make this an attractive shrub for landscapes. They are drought-tolerant as well.


Happy planting!

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