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
1 rating

Saturday - June 15, 2013

From: Farifax, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives, Butterfly Gardens, Wildlife Gardens
Title: Replacement for Globe Thistle in Virginia
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi, We are trying to get our garden to be 100% North American Native and are at about 90% native to our region. One of the last plants we have to replace is our Globe Thistle. Do you have a good recommendation for a native replacement? We have a smallish butterfly/ humming bird garden in our front yard next to the front porch. The Globe thistle has been doing well- it isn't at all invasive or bullying our other plants , but he doesn't make the cut when committing to be 100% native. Thanks!

ANSWER:

Nan

The globe thistles (Echinops spp.) are beautiful but, as you said, are not native.  They are native to Europe and Asia.

I visited our Virginia Recommended page of commercially available native plants for landscaping in Virginia and found the following that would be a good replacement for your globe thistle:

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed) is a host plant for monarch and queen butterflies.  Here is more information from Missouri Botanical Garden.

Baptisia australis (Blue wild indigo) is attractive to bees and the color is similar to the globe thistle.  Here is more information from Missouri Botanical Garden.

Conoclinium coelestinum (Blue mistflower) is a major attractant for butterflies.  Here is more information from Missouri Botanical Garden.  Be sure to note the cautions about its agressiveness.

Eupatoriadelphus fistulosus (Trumpetweed) attracts bees and butterflies.  Birds may consume the seeds.  Here is more information from Illinois Wildflowers.

Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower) attracts bees, butterflies and humingbirds.  Here is more information from North Carolina State University.

Lobelia siphilitica (Great blue lobelia) attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.   Here is more information from Illinois Wildflowers.

Monarda didyma (Scarlet beebalm) attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.   Here is more information from Illinois Wildflowers.

Monarda fistulosa (Wild bergamot) attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.  Here is more information from The Herb Society of America.

Penstemon digitalis (Mississippi penstemon) attracts butterflies and other pollinators.  Here is more information from Rainscaping.

You should also check out other possibilities on the Virginia Recommended page.   You can use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to select the criteria you want.

 

From the Image Gallery


Butterflyweed
Asclepias tuberosa

Blue wild indigo
Baptisia australis

Blue mistflower
Conoclinium coelestinum

Joe-pye weed
Eutrochium fistulosum

Cardinal flower
Lobelia cardinalis

Great blue lobelia
Lobelia siphilitica

Scarlet beebalm
Monarda didyma

Wild bergamot
Monarda fistulosa

Mississippi penstemon
Penstemon digitalis

More Butterfly Gardens Questions

Texas native variety of butterfly weed
November 19, 2008 - Which variety of Butterfly Weed is the native Texas variety? I want to know which one supplies the proper defense against birds to the Monarch butterfly through it's nectar? I have heard that the n...
view the full question and answer

Butterfly and Pollinator Plants for Indianapolis Garden
June 23, 2015 - I live in Indianapolis, IN and would like to have a native garden. I'd be especially interested in plants that help butterflies and bumble bees. There's a fairly dry area on the west side of the hou...
view the full question and answer

Want to Amend Soil Without Harming Earthworms in Dallas Area
March 16, 2011 - I have a totally odd question. I live in the Dallas area in the blackland soil. I am removing sod from part of my back yard and will replant with nectar and host plants for butterflies. The soil is...
view the full question and answer

Butterfly Plants for D.C. Garden
July 16, 2015 - I have one half of the side of the house face NE and the other half faces NW. The front of the house faces east. The back of the house faces west which is woody with native trees of Rock Creek Park of...
view the full question and answer

Butterfly Bush Alternatives in New Egypt NJ
June 14, 2015 - I have a Non Native Butterfly Bush near my house. I heard that it could be invasive. What alternative plants could replace this bush as it is a butterfly magnet in late summer. Swallowtales and monarc...
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