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The Best Florida Butterfly Flowers (With Pictures)

The Best Florida Butterfly Plants (With Pictures)

Nothing adds more joy and life to a garden than clouds of beautiful butterflies flitting from flower to flower. Florida’s sunny, humid climate provides the perfect environment for many butterfly species to thrive if you plant the right nectar sources and host plants.

This guide will cover some of the top butterfly plants to grow in Florida landscapes. You’ll find pictures to help identify each one, plus details on their ideal growing conditions and which butterflies they attract. Get ready to turn your garden into an irresistible butterfly oasis!

Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)

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One of the most popular flowering shrubs for luring butterflies is the aptly named butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii). Its large, spiky blooms are butterfly magnets when they appear summer through fall.

Butterfly bush varieties like ‘Black Knight’, ‘Royal Red’, and ‘Miss Ruby’ thrive in Florida’s heat and humidity. Plant them in full sun and well-draining soil. The flowers come in shades of purple, pink, red, yellow, white, or bicolor. Be sure to prune them back annually for best blooms.

Pentas

Pentas-1 The Best Florida Butterfly Flowers (With Pictures)
Image Source : plantogallery

Another foolproof butterfly-attracting plant is the long-blooming pentas (Pentas lanceolata). These low, dense shrubs produce masses of bright star-shaped flower clusters in shades of pink, red, purple and white.

Pentas bloom continuously from spring to frost, providing steady nectar sources for adult butterflies. They grow well in sun or part shade and aren’t too fussy about soil as long as it drains well. Butterflies can’t resist their sugary flowers!

Tropical Milkweed – Mexican Butterfly Weed

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While many milkweed varieties are host plants for monarch butterfly caterpillars, tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) serves double duty. Its bright orange, red or yellow flat-topped flower clusters provide nutritious nectar for adult monarchs and their larvae feed on the leaves.

Tropical milkweed thrives in Florida’s heat and blooms spring through fall in sun or part shade. Plant it in well-draining soil or containers. The fluffy seed heads are quite ornamental too. Other milkweed options for monarchs include the native butterflyweed varieties.

Firebush

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With its electric red-orange tubular blooms, the firebush (Hamelia patens) is an excellent hummingbird and butterfly plant. This large shrub or small tree is a prolific bloomer spring through fall when planted in sun or part shade.

Firebush grows best in fertile, well-draining soil and is fairly drought tolerant once established. Its bright flowers are irresistible to swallowtails, sulfurs, and many other nectar-seeking butterfly species. Let it grow naturally into its vase shape or trim into a hedge.

Lantana

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You’ll find lantana (Lantana camara) growing wild all over Florida. This rough and tumble perennial blooms continuously with clusters of tiny tubular flowers in shades of orange, red, pink, yellow, purple and white – sometimes all on the same plant!

Plant lantana in full sun to light shade and make sure the soil drains well. Butterflies, bees and hummingbirds all flock to its sugary sweet flowers. Dwarf varieties like Miss Huff make excellent ground covers, while larger types can be pruned into flowering hedges or shrubs.

Porterweed

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For steady sources of brilliant blue nectar, you need to grow porterweed (Stachytarpheta species). This low-maintenance perennial produces spikes of fuzzy blue or purple flowers that bloom spring to frost.

Porterweed handles Florida’s heat and humidity with ease when planted in full to partial sun. Give it well-draining soil and prune occasionally to encourage new flushes of butterfly-attracting blooms. Species like Jamaican porterweed and blue porterweed thrive across the state.

Brazilian Skyrocket

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As its name implies, the Brazilian skyrocket (Ipomoea fistulosa) provides vertical interest and brilliant magenta blooms to lure butterflies. The large, tubular flowers appear in flushes from summer to fall on tall, upright stems.

This tropical beauty grows 6-8 feet tall and wide so give it plenty of room. Plant Brazilian skyrocket vines in full to partial sun and fertile, well-draining soil. It’s beautiful for borders, foundations, and butterfly gardens.

Plumbago Another

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Florida-friendly shrub with light blue or white butterfly-attracting blooms is plumbago (Plumbago auriculata). Its phlox-like flower clusters blanket the plant from spring through fall, continuously providing nectar sources.

Plumbago is well-suited to Florida’s climate when planted in full sun to part shade and well-draining soil. It makes an excellent spiller plant for containers and hanging baskets or spreading ground cover for borders and slopes. Butterflies can’t resist its sweet-smelling azure blue blooms!

Purple Coneflower

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Coneflowers like the classic Echinacea purpurea are tough, long-blooming perennials that butterflies adore. The huge purple or pink daisy-like flowers have slightly protruding centers packed full of nectar.

While most coneflowers prefer cooler climates, the subtropical variety ‘Mango Meadowbrite’ is bred to thrive in hot, humid Florida gardens. Plant in full sun and loamy, well-draining soil. This rugged beauty blooms late spring through summer, enticing scores of butterflies.

Corkystem Passionflower

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In addition to providing nectar sources, you’ll also want to grow host plants for butterfly larvae (caterpillars) to munch on. The corkystem passionflower (Passiflora suberosa) fits the bill as a food source for Julia butterflies, gulf fritillaries, and zebra longwings.

This vining Florida native passionflower has little dark red flowers and hairy, cork-like stems. Let it scramble along fences, trellises, or train it up a trellis in sun or partial shade. Plant it in well-draining soil. The fruit is also edible for humans!

Coontie

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The ancient, primitive coontie (Zamia pumila) isn’t the flashiest plant, but it serves as a crucial host for atala butterflies. These rare Florida natives depend on coontie as their sole larval food source, so providing this plant may help preserve the species.

Coontie is a small, cycad-like plant that grows 2-4 feet tall in sun or shade with good drainage. Keep it pruned and the butterflies will find it! Just be sure not to purchase illegally collected plants from the wild.

Turns out creating an inviting environment for Florida butterflies is relatively easy if you plant the right nectar sources and host plants. Look for long-blooming annuals, perennials, shrubs, and vines in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Cluster groups of the same plants together to really catch the attention of passing butterflies.

Grow both flat clusters or umbels as well as tubular flowers to provide for different butterfly feeding preferences. Don’t forget to include green foliage that caterpillars can eat, and site everything in a sheltered, sunny spot.

With just a few butterfly magnets incorporated into your Florida garden, you’ll start to notice way more winged visitors stopping by for a sip and stay. There’s nothing quite like sitting back and watching the butterflies flit serenely from plant to plant. Enjoy the living kaleidoscope in your own yard!

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