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

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Thursday - January 24, 2013

From: Powderly, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Butterfly Gardens, Wildlife Gardens
Title: Perennial native plant to attract butterflies/hummingbirds
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Need 3-6 foot perennial native plant to attract butterflies/hummingbirds in Paris Texas...full sun, with sprinkler system

ANSWER:

On our Recommended Species page there are four good sources for finding butterfly-attracting and hummingbird plants for your area:

  1. On the map on the page click on the area of Texas where Lamar County is located.   It seems to be right on the line, but I believe it may actually be in North Central Texas.  On the Texas–North Central Recommended page is a list of 105 native plants that are commerically available for landscaping in your area.   You can use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to shorten the list.
  2. Butterflies and Moths of North America.  This list shows 354 entries and you will need to use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to at least narrow the list to plants occurring in Texas.  You can also shorten the list by choosing other specific criteria for your selections.  Since Texas is a very large area with lots of different ecosystems, after you have narrowed your selection to Texas plants you will need to determine if the plant of interest will grow in your area.  You can do this by scrolling down the page on the species page till you reach the heading ADDITIONAL RESOURCES.  Click on the USDA link and it will take you to the USDA Plants Database for the species that shows a distribution map.   If you click on Texas on that map it will give you another map indicating the counties in Texas where this plant has been reported as growing.
  3. Ann and O. J. Weber Butterfly Garden.  Although most of these are Texas species you will still need to do the check on the USDA Distribution Map to see if they grow in or very near Lamar County.
  4. Hummingbird Plants for Central Texas.  Although you are in the northern part of Central Texas, many of these plants will grow in your area.  Again, you will need to do the check on the USDA Distribution Map to see if they grow in or very near Lamar County. Please note that hummingbird plants generally have red blossoms.

On the first list (or any of the lists, for that matter) you can use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to choose "Texas" from the Select State or Province option, "Perennial" from Lifespan and "3-6" from Height (in feet).  Here are some suggestions taken from more than one of the lists above:

Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed)

Conoclinium coelestinum (Blue mistflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Eastern purple coneflower)

Hesperaloe parviflora (Red yucca)

Hibiscus laevis (Halberdleaf rosemallow)

Vernonia baldwinii (Baldwin's ironweed)

Ipomopsis rubra (Standing cypress)

Physostegia intermedia (Intermediate false dragonhead)

Most of these attract both butterflies and hummingbirds.   Check the BENEFITS section on each species page to find out the plant's benefits to wildlife.   You should also check the GROWING CONDITIONS section to see if their requirements match your site.

 

From the Image Gallery


Cardinal flower
Lobelia cardinalis

Butterflyweed
Asclepias tuberosa

Blue mistflower
Conoclinium coelestinum

Eastern purple coneflower
Echinacea purpurea

Red yucca
Hesperaloe parviflora

Halberdleaf rosemallow
Hibiscus laevis

Baldwin's ironweed
Vernonia baldwinii

Standing cypress
Ipomopsis rubra

Spring obedient plant
Physostegia intermedia

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