Top 10 Flowers To Attract Swallowtails

I have always thought that swallowtails were one of the most attractive butterflies that visit our gardens so am keen to pick up any tips on ways to encourage them to drop by. This list of ten plants will be familiar to most of you although I had not realized that growing pawpaws was one of the best ways to draw the swallowtails into the garden. These ten plants are described in an article by Jill M. Staake which I found on the Birds and Blooms website.

Every butterfly gardener delights when showy swallowtails make an appearance. These butterflies are some of the largest in the garden, and their colorful wings and soaring flight patterns make them a treat to watch. After working for several years in a butterfly garden in Florida, I?ve learned which flowers swallowtails seem to gravitate toward the most and now I?m bringing those insider tips to you. (Psst! They work for other butterflies, too.)

Bee Balm

Monarda didyma, zones 4 to 9

Top 10 Plants For Swallowtails | Birds & Blooms Magazine


Often grown for the minty citrus scent of the leaves, bee balm has striking tubular flowers that swallowtails can?t resist. Native to the eastern?U.S.?and Canada, it doesn?t often tolerate the extreme humidity of southern summers, but it thrives everywhere else.

Why we love it: Swallowtails love it, but deer typically stay away, which is always a bonus!


Vernonia sp., zones 5 to 9

Top 10 Plants For Swallowtails | Birds & Blooms Magazine


Many native wildflowers are attractive to butterflies, and ironweed is no exception. A late summer bloomer, ironweed sends flower stalks up to 7 feet with fuzzy purple flower clusters at the branched ends. For best flowering, be sure to provide moist soil.

Why we love it: Ironweed is a long bloomer. It lasts well into fall, providing
nectar for the last butterflies of the season.


Petroselinum crispum

Top 10 Plants For Swallowtails | Birds & Blooms Magazine


Parsley isn?t just to garnish your dinner plate! This annual is a favorite host plant for black swallowtail caterpillars. They?ll also eat fennel, dill, Queen Anne?s lace and other members of the carrot family, but parsley is easy to grow in just about every garden. In the Deep South, provide some shade in the hot summer months.

Why we love it:?All parsley, especially the curly varieties, look beautiful as a border in your flower bed or spilling out of a hanging planter.

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Feature photo: BIRDFANCIER



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