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Brightly colored butterfly weed is a butterfly magnet, attracting many kinds of butterflies to its colorful blooms. Monarch butterfly larvae feed on its leaves but seldom harm this native plant. It is slow to emerge in the spring, so mark its location to avoid accidental digging before new growth starts. If you don't want it to spread, deadhead faded blooms before seedpods mature. It is sometimes called milkweed because it produces a milky sap when cut.
From 1 to 8 feet
2-3 feet wide
more varieties for Butterfly weed
Asclepias tuberosa offers fiery orange flowers that harmonize well with red, yellow, and other hot hues in the perennial border. Because it has a long taproot, it grows best in well-drained soil and is difficult to transplant once established. Grows to 3 feet tall. Zones 4-9
'Hello Yellow' butterfly weed
Asclepias tuberosa 'Hello Yellow' has the same butterfly-attracting qualities as the species but produces clear yellow flower clusters instead of orange ones. Grows to 3 feet tall. Zones 4-9
Asclepias sullivantii is similar to common milkweed except that it has smooth stems and leaves and larger flowers. The leaves have a distinctive upward sweep. The plant grows 3 feet tall. Zones 3-7
'Soulmate' swamp milkweed
Asclepias incarnata 'Soulmate' is a long-blooming selection with delightful rosy pink blooms. Zones 3-8
Asclepias incarnata is a North American native species that grows well in wet sites. It produces fragrant pink flowers on 4-foot-tall plants. Zones 3-8
plant Butterfly weed with
Catmint is one of the toughest perennials you can grow. It's a proven performer during hot, dry weather, and the silvery foliage and blue flowers look great most of the season. Deadhead or cut back hard after first flush of bloom to encourage more flowers. Average, well-drained soil is usually sufficient. Tall types may need gentle staking; it sometimes seeds freely.As you might guess from the common name, catmint is a favorite of cats. They'll often roll around in the plants in delight.
One of the longest bloomers in the garden, coreopsis produces (usually) sunny yellow daisylike flowers that attract butterflies. Coreopsis, depending on the variety, also bears golden-yellow, pale yellow, pink, or bicolor flowers. It will bloom from early to midsummer or longer as long as it's deadheaded.
Like so many grasses, fountaingrass is spectacular when backlit by the rising or setting sun. Named for its especially graceful spray of foliage, fountaingrass also sends out beautiful, fuzzy flower plumes in late summer. The white, pink, or red plumes (depending on variety) continue into fall and bring a loose, informal look to plantings. This plant self-seeds freely, sometimes to the point of becoming invasive.