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The Wentworth Blog

Attract Butterflies with These 5 Summer Blooms

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Summer is here and with it come the beautiful flowers, colours, and fluttering butterflies and bees buzzing all around! Here are five of our favourite summer blooming perennials that can all be paired together for a stunning pollinator garden.

Coneflower - Echinacea

The coneflower is one of the most common perennials used in butterfly and pollinator gardens. With many varieties, this plant blooms in almost any colour you could want from June to August and is native to North America. With a height of 2 to 4 feet and a spread of 1 ½ to 3 feet this flower is perfect for the back of a sunny garden. Plant it in full sun to partial shade and it will flourish. It is an extremely drought tolerant, low maintenance perennial; simply cut the spent flower stems back to encourage new growth in the spring and you will have vigorous blooms all summer long. Coneflowers look best in a more naturalized setting like a perennial border.

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Butterfly Milkweed – Asclepias tuberosa

Butterfly Milkweed, unlike its cousin, the common milkweed, is a native, non-invasive perennial that attracts butterflies. It's a major food source for Monarch Butterfly caterpillars and feeds an abundance of our native pollinators. It grows up to 2 ½ feet tall and 1 ½ feet wide. This perennial blooms from June to August in bright orange that contrasts nicely with the purple Coneflower. It is also drought tolerant and loves the full heat of the sun. Fun Fact: the root is used for medicinal purposes to treat lung inflammations.

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Russian Sage – Perovskia atriplicifolia

While this plant isn’t native to North America, it is still a beautiful and textural addition to most gardens. The elegant spires of lavender-blue flowers bloom from July to October with a height of 3 to 8 feet and 2 to 4 feet wide. As with many other pollinator plants, Russian Sage looks best massed in informal borders in the full summer sun. The fragrant leaves are not edible like other sages, but the flowers can be used as garnishes in small amounts. The only maintenance this perennial needs is to be cut back almost to the ground as soon as the new growth appears. This fragrant bloom attracts birds, makes for a great addition to a cut flower medley, and works great in containers as well.

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Kobold Blazing Star – Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’

While this plant is drought tolerant, the sensational perennial is also perfect for rain gardens. The fuzzy spikes of flowers not only attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees but can also be cut and dried to brighten up the interior of your home. The majestic deep purple blooms of this plant appear from July to August. Blazing Star grows 1 ½ to 2 ½ feet tall and up to 1 foot wide and requires full sun.

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Butterfly Bush - Buddleia davidii 'Nanho Blue'

If the name hasn't given it away this plant is a guarantee for attracting butterflies. It blooms mid summer to mid fall with fragrant blue flowers and is best grown in full sun. It grows quite rapidly and once it has reached maturity it grows up to 5 feet tall with a similar spread, and a texture that lends itself to a natural setting. It is adaptable to both dry and moist locations and under ideal conditions, this shrub can live up to 20 years. Its wildlife draw is quite diverse attracting not only butterflies but also bees and a range of hummingbirds. It makes for excellent cut flowers and with grayish-green foliage, it brings a unique colour and texture to floral arrangments. It's a relatively low-maintenance shrub. You can treat it as a perennial and cut it back to the ground each spring once the threat of extreme cold has passed.

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