The arrival of spring means the appearance of hummingbirds and butterflies in our native plant garden and at the feeders on the porch of Tara Lodge. Our guests enjoy watching these small wonders and we work to include plants in our native plant garden that serve as food during the life cycle of Mississippi butterflies.
If you want to attract hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden throughout the season, you will need to select plants that bloom at different times to provide a consistent food source. Here are some plants we recommend for attracting and feeding hummingbirds and butterflies:
This unique plant (Spigelia marilandica) blooms in June, providing nectar for hummingbirds. If you remove spent flowers after the initial bloom, it will continue to bloom well into summer. Learn more about Indian pink.
Just like its name implies, Asclepias tuberosa attracts butterflies with its bright orange color and provides nectar. It’s a great plant to grow and hardy once established, but it is difficult to transplant due to its deep roots. It blooms in late May to September.
This lovely native shrub (Itea virginica) produces and abundance of fragrant flowers in April to June. It attracts a variety of pollinators including butterflies.
In early spring, there aren’t many flowers in bloom. The red buckeye shrub (Aesculus pavia) really stands out, blooming in early spring. During this time, you’ll find many a hummingbird and black swallowtails feeding on the nectar. Learn more about red buckeye.
The purple passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) is a host plant for larvae of the Gulf Fritillary butterfly. While the flowers are amazing, if you plant this vine and the butterflies lay eggs on it, there might not be much of the vine left. Regardless, it’s an important plant to the life cycle of the butterfly, and if you get to enjoy the blooms, it’s an added bonus.
There are many other plants (natives and non-natives) that can provide food and host plants for butterflies and hummingbirds. For additional suggestions in your area, follow up with your local Extension office.