Attracting Butterflies & Other Pollinators

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These four pollinators are endangered and facing extinction. They need our help. The Monarch Butterfly population has dropped by 90% since 1990. Milkweed is their food source of choice. Milkweed is being poisoned with pesticides and adversely affected by GMOs. GMO’s are being profusely used on corn, soy and other crops. As a result the native milkweed crop has declined in the United States by 80% in the last 20 years. There are steps that individual gardeners, farmers and flower bed tenders can take to help remedy this issue.


Eliminate those pesticides that kill pollinators especially malathion, sevin and diazinon.


Grow native and garden flowering plants that attract pollinators.

Non-All Inclusive List

Allium- Bees Alyssum- Butterfly American Painted Lady- Butterfly Aster- Butterfly & Bees

Azalea- Butterfly Basil- Bees Bee Balm (all parts edible-great in salads & great as a tea) Butterfly, Bees, Hummingbirds & Hummingbird Moths

Begonia- Hummingbirds Black Eyed Susan- Butterfly & Hummingbird Moths

Bleeding Heart- Hummingbirds Blue Bells- Hummingbird Moths Blueberries- Butterflies

Brugmansia (Clara Molden is a white trumpet variety) Hummingbird Moths

Calendula- Butterfly Calla Lily- Bee Cardinal Flower ( beautiful red spikes) Bee

Clover (esp Purple Prairie Clover) Butterfly Clover White & Red Clover- Bee

Columbine- Bee Cosmos- Butterfly & Bee Crape Myrtle- Bee Dahlia- Hummingbird

Daylily- Butterfly Dianthus- Butterfly Dill- Butterfly Four O’clock- Bee & Hummingbirds

Geranium- Bee & Hummingbird Gladiola- Hummingbird Holly Hock-Butterfly & Hummingbirds

Honeysuckle- Hummingbird Moth Impatiens- Hummingbird Iris- Hummingbird

Jasmine- Hummingbird Moth Lambs Quarter- Butterfly Lavender- Butterfly & Bees

Liatris- Butterfly & Hummingbird Lupines- Butterfly, Bees & Hummingbirds

Marigolds- Butterfly

Moonflower (Ipomoea Alba) dusk blooming morning glory vine w/ heart shaped leaves Do not confuse with Moonflower (Datura Inoxia) ground plant w/ egg shaped fruit w/ spikes which is toxic

Nasturtium- Butterfly & Hummingbird Nicotiana- Hummingbird & Hummingbird Moth

Oklahoma Native Milkweed- Butterflies especially Monarchs Oregano- Butterfly

Paint Brush- Bee & Hummingbird Pale Petunia- Hummingbird Moth Parsley- Butterfly

Passion Flower- Butterfly Peas- Butterfly Petunias- Hummingbirds

Phlox- Butterfly & Hummingbird Purple Coneflower- Butterfly Queen Anne’s Lace- Butterfly

Salvia- Hummingbird Scabiosa- Butterfly & Bee Shasta Daisy- butterfly

Straw Flower- Butterfly Sunflower-Bee Sweet William- Hummingbird Tulip Tree- Butterfly

Verbena- Butterfly, Bee, Hummingbird & Hummingbird Moth Wild Rose- Bee

Wildflower Mixtures- All Pollinators especially Butterfly / Suppliers Eden Brothers & Brecks & others

Yucca- Hummingbird Yarrow- Butterfly Zinnia- Butterfly, Bee & Hummingbird /All size however Giant Zinnias are easier for some pollinators.


Sunshine is essential for most butterflies to collect pollen. Hummingbird moths collect pollen from daylight to dusk. Bees collect pollen in the daylight primarily & hummingbirds collect pollen in the daylight and will continue into the darkness in well lit areas and also during migration.


The color factor. Butterflies are attracted to vivid bright reds, yellows, oranges, pinks & purples. Bees when given a choice prefer red clover over white. Hummingbird Moths seem to prefer pale colors and whites. Hummingbirds are busy and try flats, flutes and all colors.  NOTE: Hummingbirds & Hummingbird Moths prefer tubular flowers w/ flared openings shaped like a trumpet. Butterflies & Bees prefer flat blossoms & short flowering tubes.


If deciding to plant milkweed make sure what you choose fits your growing season.


Pollinator Refuges are important if you wish them to stay. Butterflies like to rest on flat rocks in the sunshine surrounded by a bird bath or a flat container of sand with water around but not covering it. Bee like hollow trees or logs. They need to be in and surrounded by structure. Hummingbirds live in tiny nests built in shrubs, trees & out of casual sight areas. Hummingbird moths are often accidentally destroyed. They start as a tiny green eggs usually on a branch or underneath a leaf, forming into a caterpillar which drops to the ground and hides under flower bed debris until evolving as an adult moth. An adult spends resting time primarily in the shade.

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