Discover how plants like salvia, agastache, monarda, milkweed and coneflower can be effectively combined to attract butterflies. There are many butterfly-friendly perennials to choose from, with various textures, colors and flowers, which are sure to please every gardener.

Here are some eye-catching combos to get you started:

© Lorraine Roberts.

This is a textural, loose, flowing design that attracts beneficial insects and butterflies. The white plumes of the Aruncus enliven this predominantly cool colour scheme. Aruncus d. ‘Kneiffi’ has fine, fernlike foliage for all-season interest. This perennial is only 24 inches high without the bloom. Tip: All height guidelines on plant tags are usually including the bloom stem.



Aruncus dioicus ‘Kneiffii’
Common name: Cutleaf Goat’s Beard
Flower shape: plume
Blooms: early summer to mid-summer
Foliage: deep green
Size: 42h x 30w inches
Soil: dry to average to moist to wet
Zone: 3-7


Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low’
Common name: Catmint
Flower shape: filler
Blooms: early summer to early fall
Foliage: grey green
Size: 30h x 36w inches
Soil: dry to average to moist
Zone: 3-8


Salvia ‘Sensation Deep Rose Improved’
Common name: Perennial Salvia
Flower shape: spire
Blooms: early summer to mid-summer
Foliage: deep green
Size: 16h x 16w inches
Soil: dry to average to moist
Zone: 3-8

© Lorraine Roberts.

A split complementary colour scheme harmoniously brings together two uniquely shaped spires. Hummingbirds and butterflies love Salvia and Agastache.



Agastache ‘Kudos Gold’
Common name: Anise Hyssop
Flower shape: spire
Foliage: deep green
Blooms: mid-summer to late fall
Size: 18h x 16w inches
Soil: average to moist
Zone: 5-10


Salvia nemorosa ‘May Night’
Common name: Perennial Salvia
Flower shape: spire
Blooms: late spring to mid-fall
Foliage: grey green
Size: 24h x 16w inches
Soil: dry to average to moist
Zone: 3-8


Iris germanica ‘Cajun Spice’
Common name: Tall Bearded Iris
Flower shape: uncategorized
Blooms: late spring to
early summer
Foliage: light green
Size: 36h x 18w inches
Soil: dry to average
Zone: 3-9

© Lorraine Roberts.

Incorporating plants in your garden for the monarch butterfly’s larvae is essential for their survival. Monarch larvae eat only milkweed plants. Asclepias tuberosa is a beautiful native perennial well suited to any garden. Orange, blue and green colours make up this triadic colour scheme.



Asclepias tuberosa
Common name:
Milkweed/Butterflyweed
Flower shape: umbel
Blooms: mid-summer to late summer
Foliage: green
Size: 24h x 29w inches
Soil: average to moist
Zone: 4-9


Veronica spicata ‘Royal Candles’
Common name: Speedwell
Flower shape: spire
Blooms: early summer to early fall
Foliage: deep green
Size: 16h x 10w inches
Soil: average to moist
Zone: 3-8

© Lorraine Roberts.

These mouthwatering perennials unite to bring on the butterflies and beneficial insects. The long-blooming Phlox p. ‘David’ prominently lights up the back garden and is one of the most powdery mildew-resistant varieties.



Echinacea ‘Solar Flare’
Common name: Coneflower
Flower shape: daisy
Blooms: mid-summer to late fall
Foliage: deep green
Size: 36h x 20w inches
Soil: average to moist
Zone: 4-8


Agastache 'Blue Fortune’
Common name: Anise Hyssop
Flower shape: spire
Foliage: deep green
Blooms: mid-summer to late fall
Size: 36h x 24w inches
Soil: average to moist
Zone: 5-9


Phlox paniculata ‘David’
Common name: Tall Phlox
Flower shape: umbel
Blooms: mid-summer to early fall
Foliage: deep green
Size: 42h x 36w inches
Soil: average to moist
Zone: 4-8

© Lorraine Roberts.

Bring on the hummingbirds, butterflies and beneficial insects. With these plants they’ll be able to dine all in one location. Butterflies love blazing star, shasta daisies attract a long list of beneficial insects and hummingbirds can’t resist the red Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, all contributing to the health of your garden.



Liatris spicata
Common name: Blazing Star
Flower shape: spire
Blooms: early summer to late summer
Foliage: deep green
Size: 30h x 15w inches
Soil: average to moist
Zone: 3-8


Leucanthemum ‘Goldfinch’
Common name: Shasta Daisy
Flower shape: daisy
Blooms: early summer to late summer
Foliage: deep green
Size: 20h x 24w inches
Soil: average to moist, well drained
Zone: 5-9


Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’
Common name: Montbretia
Flower shape: uncategorized
Blooms: mid-summer to late summer
Foliage: deep green
Size: 42h x 12w inches
Soil: average, well drained
Zone: 5-9

© Lorraine Roberts.

These differing flower shapes are kept harmoniously together because of the analogous colour scheme. Create a thriving butterfly and pollinator garden with this combination.



Phlox paniculata ‘FLAME™ Series Pink’
Common name: Dwarf Phlox
Flower shape: umbel
Blooms: mid-summer to early fall
Foliage: deep green
Size: 18h x 24w inches
Soil: average to moist
Zone: 3-8


Monarda didyma ‘Pardon My Purple’
Common name: Bee Balm
Flower shape: button
Blooms: mid-summer to late summer
Foliage: deep green
Size: 12h x 14w inches
Soil: average to moist
Zone: 4-9


Agastache ‘Blue Boa’
Common name: Anise Hyssop
Flower shape: spire
Foliage: deep green
Blooms: mid-summer to late summer
Size: 28h x 16w inches
Soil: average to moist
Zone: 5-10

© Lorraine Roberts.

Here is a sizzling combination for a butterfly garden. Including the colour green, this is a triadic colour scheme with the dominant “hot” colours having the same tint of white.



Monarda ‘Grape Gumball’
Sugar Buzz™ Series

Common name: Bee Balm
Flower shape: button
Blooms: mid-summer to late
summer
Foliage: deep green
Size: 20h x 18w inches
Soil: average to moist
Zone: 4-9


Agastache ‘Kudos Coral’
Common name: Anise Hyssop
Flower shape: spire
Foliage: deep green
Blooms: mid-summer to
late fall
Size: 18h x 16w inches
Soil: average to moist
Zone: 5-10

© Lorraine Roberts.

The textural umbels of Sedum ‘Autumn Charm’ take on a light pink hue that perfectly complements Echinacea p. ‘PowWow Wild Berry’. This is an easy-to-grow, low maintenance combination that provides food for the pollinators.



Sedum ‘Autumn Charm’
Common name: Autumn Stonecrop
Flower shape: umbel
Blooms: late summer to late fall
Foliage: grey green
with yellow edges
Size: 18h x 18w inches
Soil: dry to average
Zone: 3-9


Echinacea purpurea
‘PowWow Wild Berry’

Common name: Coneflower
Flower shape: daisy
Blooms: mid-summer to late fall
Foliage: deep green
Size: 24h x 20w inches
Soil: average to moist
Zone: 3-9

These plant combinations originally appeared in the new book, Spectacular Plant Combinations for the Perennial Garden, by Lorraine Roberts. Lorraine and her husband Robert are the owners of Plant Paradise Country Gardens™ a botanical garden and nursery in Caledon, Ontario, Canada.

All photography is by Lorraine Roberts on location at Plant Paradise Country Gardens, except where noted. Small photo of Agastache 'Blue Boa' courtesy www.terranovanurseries.com. Small photos of Phlox paniculata ‘FLAME™ Series Pink’ and Monarda didyma ‘Pardon My Purple’ courtesy www.waltersgardens.com.

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