En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - March 31, 2009

From: Louisville, KY
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Wildlife Gardens
Title: Plants for butterflies and hummingbirds in Louisville, KY
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in Louisville KY. I have a waterfall and ponds connected by a small stream. I want to plant several plants around my waterfall- approx. 20 sq ft on both sides of waterfall. It's in full sun. What would be some good things to plant- I would like to attract butterflies and hummingbirds if possible.

ANSWER:

Before we begin, let us give you some reading material to help you get started. You didn't say if you planned to have any water plants in your ponds, but it would be a shame to miss that opportunity. Our How-To Articles on Water Gardening and Butterfly Gardening (with an extensive Bibliography at the bottom) are good places to start. You can also go to the BAMONA site and learn about butterfly habitats and culture. We will begin with our Special Collections Butterflies and Moths of North America,  Narrow Your Search to Kentucky, and then to herbs (herbaceous flowering plants) and shrubs. We will then make another search in our Native Plant Database, again on Kentucky, but looking for plants that can tolerate moist soil, for the ponds. Our final search will be for herbs that we know to be hummingbird attractors. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. A good case in point is the butterfly garden; butterflies patronize only certain flowers, and there is no reason to plant something non-native to your area because the butterflies native to that area will not be bothered with it. If you have a chance, pick up the book in the Bibliography below, Bringing Nature Home-How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in our Garden.

You can repeat any of our searches, making your own selections and you should note that many of these plants do double duty, being attractive to both butterflies and hummingbirds.  Follow each plant link to the page on that individual plant and learn under what conditions it flourishes, and what butterflies or birds it attracts.

Butterfly and Hummingbird Plants Native to Kentucky

Aruncus dioicus (bride's feathers)

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed)

Helianthus decapetalus (thinleaf sunflower)

Lupinus perennis (sundial lupine)

Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima (blackeyed Susan)

Symphyotrichum undulatum (wavyleaf aster)

Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush)

Salix discolor (pussy willow)

Viburnum acerifolium (mapleleaf viburnum)

Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower)

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower)

Monarda didyma (scarlet beebalm)

Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle)

Water Plants for Kentucky

Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)

Equisetum hyemale var. affine (scouringrush horsetail)

Nymphaea odorata (American white waterlily)


Aruncus dioicus

Asclepias tuberosa

Helianthus decapetalus

Lupinus perennis

Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima

Symphyotrichum undulatum

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Salix discolor

Viburnum acerifolium

Echinacea purpurea

Lobelia cardinalis

Monarda didyma

Lonicera sempervirens

Equisetum arvense

Equisetum hyemale var. affine

Nymphaea odorata

 

 

 

 


 

More Wildlife Gardens Questions

Plants for pollinators in Brown County, Texas
July 23, 2013 - I am attempting to plant on our family property a wide range of native plants for the central Texas area (May, TX). The flowers, bushes and trees that rely on pollinators, in particular bees, in order...
view the full question and answer

Native nectar plants for hummingbirds in Central Texas
April 24, 2008 - Ref: Cen.Tx. Hummingbird plants I am seeking a list of appropriate plants with lots of nectar to attract hummingbirds in Central Texas. I live in Hays County between Kyle & Wimberley in a mostly ...
view the full question and answer

wildflowers for bees and hummers in central Texas
June 16, 2011 - I'm building a native habitat for different hummingbirds and bees at the Inks Lake Fish Hatchery, and I was wondering what kind of native plants in Texas attract these creatures but are also low main...
view the full question and answer

Plants that ducks and geese will not eat
March 23, 2009 - Hello, I have a pet duck and goose. Who I love dearly and have built two ponds for.. one 4ft deep the other 6ft deep. The ponds are for their use, first and for most, but I would like to have a plan...
view the full question and answer

Plants for hummingbirds and butterflies in Galveston County TX
September 09, 2014 - I am looking for native plants for a butterfly and hummingbird garden. I plan on putting the hummingbird garden in part shade and would like some Fall blooming plants to attract them during migration....
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center