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Recommended Plantings to Attract
Hummingbirds, Butterflies, & Moths

by Patricia Sutton

Click here to download the list as a pdf 

With the terrific help of coworker Michael Pollock,
we've tried to make the selection of plants
as strong and useful as possible!

HOW TO USE THIS LIST
It clearly indicates:

TRIED & TRUE FAVORITES

NECTAR PLANTS:
Perennials, Annuals, Vines, Shrubs, & Trees

CATERPILLAR FOODPLANTS
(for butterflies & moths):
Perennials, Annuals, Grasses & Sedges,
Vines, Shrubs, & Trees

SUITABLE FOR THE NORTHEAST
This list is the result of years of gardening for butterflies and hummingbirds in southern New Jersey, and visiting other gardens in New Jersey, surrounding states, and around the country. Jane Ruffin (Rosemont, PA), Karen Williams (Woodbine, NJ), Jim Dowdell (Villas, NJ), Michael Pollock (northern NJ), and Denise Gibbs (Gaithersburg, MD) all played key roles in fine-tuning this list to reflect the very best choices for this region. Many friends shared their favorites and further strengthened this list. I'd love to hear from you too if you have a plant to add.

NATIVES  With the keen interest to use as many native plants as possible, we are very grateful to Karl Anderson for his annotation of this list to reflect natives.
The list delineates plant origin:
native to New Jersey (NJ), native to North America (NA), or alien (Alien).

ALIENS
I am a purist when it comes to tree, shrub, & vine selection for bird gardens / food, but not when it comes to butterfly and hummingbird gardening. This list includes a number of plants not native to New Jersey and a few not even native to the U.S., but which can be used, particularly in small gardens, to provide nectar sources to fill in the times during the summer and late fall when native sources are less common. In all cases avoid invasive non-native plants that will spread beyond your garden.

OFFERINGS SPRING THROUGH FALL
To attract and hold butterflies and hummingbirds a garden needs to offer nectar spring through the first hard frost in late fall. This list shares time of bloom for each of the plants so gardeners can do just that.  Spring (1), Summer (2), Fall (3), until frost (4).

CHOCOLATE CAKE (CC) This is Jane Ruffin's terrific term for the flowering plants that are irresistible to butterflies and hummingbirds no matter what else is in bloom. We found that a Chocolate Cake in one garden sometimes attracted little attention in another. Massed plantings made all difference. If you have a tiny area to garden, focus on Chocolate Cakes.

SUN (S) or SHADE (sh), COLOR, and TYPE OF PLANT:
Annual (A),
  Perennial (P), Biennial (B),
Tender Perennial (TP), and Tender Shrub (TS) all noted on this list.

CATERPILLAR FOODPLANTS
This list includes many weeds, trees, shrubs, and vines that you may already have in your yard as well as others you can plant that are sought by adult butterflies and moths for egg laying
(to create the next generation).

 

Recommended Plantings to Attract Hummingbirds,
Butterflies, & Moths
[a pdf file]


Be sure to read the article that accompanies this list,
 "How to Create a Butterfly & Hummingbird Garden"

Part 1 -- Know Who You Are Inviting: Hummingbirds, Butterflies, & Moths
Part 2 -- Planning the Garden: Sage Advice


NATIVES for Sale (click here).  Support NJ Audubon with plant purchases.  The CMBO Center for Research and Education sells plants spring through fall that have been grown for CMBO by Flora For Fauna, a local nursery specializing in habitat gardens. Many native species are offered. Natives have been nursery propagated by seeds and cuttings from plant populations maintained for that purpose. No plant offered for sale has been collected from the wild.  Other NJ Audubon centers have special plant sales.

Learn how to grow native plants from seed.