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Nectar Plants in the Flutterby Garden

The Nectar Plants, not just for Monarchs!

Flutterby Courtyard Garden Plant list:

  1. Bee Balm – Monarda didyma

            Most Monarda didyma are grown in average, medium to wet soil is full sun to part shade.  Monarda fistulosa are more tolerant of dryer soils. In the heat of summer, they prefer afternoon shade and never allow the soil to dry out.          

  1. Black-eyed Susan – Rudbeckia

            Black-eyed Susan is a common native wildflower which grows best in average, medium moist, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. They remain in the garden by freely self-seeding.         

  1. Columbine – Aquilegia Canadensis

            Columbine is easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade.  It prefers rich, moist soils in light to moderate shade. Freely self-seeds and will form large colonies if in its preferred conditions.

  1. False Blue Indigo – Baptisia australis

            Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil, full sun to part shade.  Tolerates drought and poor soil. Blooms in early spring with a blue lupine-like flower.        

  1. Goldenrod – Solidago Canadensis

            Goldenrod grows easily, tolerates almost any soil and moisture but is intolerant of shade.  Somewhat weedy, it can rapidly form colonies.  It is best to remove flower heads before they go to seed.    

  1. Ironweed – Vernonia fasciculata

            Mostly seen in the wild growing in moist soils, it tolerates average to medium soil in full sun. Easily grown from seed and adds a beautiful nectar plant in the back of the garden.

  1. Joe Pye Weed – Eutrochium purpureum

            Easily grown in average, medium moist soil in full sun to part shade. It tolerates clay and appreciates evenly moist soil. Its pink blossoms provide nectar late in the summer.

  1. Little Bluestem grass – Schizachyrium scoparioum

            An easily grown native grass because it tolerates a wide range of conditions. Planting in full sun is about the only requirement.  Performs well in poor soil and is drought resistant once established.  

  1. Milkweed, common – Asclepius syriaca

            It is absolutely essential for the Monarch life cycle. It grows well is poorish, dryish soil and is very low maintenance. Milkweed is easy to grow, not so easy to contain. It spreads through rhizomes and seed and can easily become a colony - as every Monarch thinks it should.  

  1. Phlox - Phlox maculate

            Phlox is a beautiful addition to the garden but it is not tolerant and forgiving. However, if you have it in the right place with moist soil and partial shade, it will reward you with beauty and your pollinator friends with nectar.                                                                  



  1. Prairie Dropseed – Sporobolus heterolepis

            Prairie dropseed is a native grass gown here for beauty, not nectar. It is drought tolerant, clay tolerant and thrives in rocky, dry soil. Besides those good attributes, it adds lovely movement, texture and golden orange fall color to the garden. 

  1. Purple Cone flower – Echinacea purpurea

            This familiar plant tolerates just about everything: partial shade, full sun, dry or wet conditions.  You don’t even need to deadhead the spent flowers to keep it blooming - though it does improve the appearance.  If you leave the flower heads through the winter, you may be feeding finches and other birds who feed on the seeds.

  1. Spiderwort – Tradescantia (Andersoniana group)

            There are 65 species of this herbaceous perennial in the Americas. It’s undemanding and does well in sun or partial shade and average soil. The blue, three-petal flowers show off best as they grow amongst other plants. It can be cut back when the summer heat leaves it looking stressed.

  1. Tickseed – Coreopsis

             Lance leaf

             Fern leaf



            Coreopsis blooms best in full sun and tolerates average soil and low water. There are 75-80 species throughout the Americas making for difficult identification. No matter the variety though, coreopsis proves to be quite a hardy and tolerant plant. 


  1. Wild Geranium – Geranium maculatum


            Wild geranium is undemanding and grows well in average soil and moisture. Although it can tolerate full sun, it prefers a shady home. It produces sweet lavender blooms in early summer. It is perfect for a low border or ground cover.


  1. Wild Ginger – Asarum canadens

            This pretty little shade plant has hidden flowers in the spring. Under the foliage you’ll find the cup-shape purplish brown ‘bloom’. It prefers partial to full shade and constant moist soil. (It is not related to culinary ginger although early Americans did use it fresh or dried as a ginger substitute.)

  1. Great Blue Lobilia – Lobelia syphilitic

                Easily grown in rich, medium to wet soil with full sun to part shade. Tolerates sun in northern climates, but appreciates part shade in this climate. Naturally grows along streams and low woodlands.

  1. Cardinal flower – Lobelia cardinalis

                Cardinal flower needs rich, medium to wet soil with part shade except in cool, northern climates. The soil should not be allowed to dry out. Using good mulch helps keep in moisture and protect against cold in the winter.  



  1. Mullein – Verbascum Thapsus

            The weedy plant is native to Eurasia.  Brought to America by colonists primarily for its medicinal uses, it has now naturalized in all 50 states.  It is tolerant of most growing conditions except shade and wet soil.  It prefers average, dry to medium well-drained soil in full sun.

  1. Anise Hyssop – Agastache foeniculum

            Plant this member of the mint family in full sun and well drained soil. Hyssop will bloom midsummer through late fall.


Potted plants – non-native, nectar rich

Speedwell – Northern Europe. Needs well-drained consistently moist soil, full sun

Autumn joy Sedum – Europe, China and Japan. Needs full sun and well-drained soil

Catmint – Europe, Asia and Africa. Grow in full sun with well-drained, average soil

Lantana – Central and South America. An easily grown annual in full sun, average soil and moisture

Lemon balm – Southern Europe. Grows easily in dry to medium, well-drained soil. Prefers full sun except in the hottest summer, when it appreciates part shade.