Explore our selection of Butterfly Host and Nectar Plants! The Butterfly Gardens to Go collection was developed by Michigan Native Butterfly Farm. We specialize in plants for rearing indigenous butterfly species, butterfly gardens and the promotion of Monarch Waystations. Our diverse product line was designed to help create habitat which promotes the life cycle of butterflies ensuring that future generations will prosper. Each plant has been carefully chosen to support the most common North American butterflies through each stage of development.
Our collection includes an extensive variety of native Milkweed plants for a variety of growing conditions and native habitat throughout the United States.
We have an excellent selection of butterfly host plants, butterfly nectar plants and native plants that support the butterfly life cycle.
The nectar sources we have selected are proven butterfly favorites in our own gardens and the flight houses where we rear our butterflies.
We are pleased to offer a collection of ‘Petite Perennials’ that are perfect for small garden spaces or gardens that are already established and just need a touch of color or a fun new plant!
Did you know that butterflies are important pollinators? With diminishing butterfly populations you can make a difference by planting butterfly and pollinator friendly gardens.
Our butterfly host and nectar plants are grown without the use of harmful pesticides.
Plants are grown in 4.5″ square pots unless otherwise specified.
Agastache foeniculum – Lavender Hyssop
Anise Hyssop has very showy flowers, fragrant foliage and seems to be of little interest to deer. It self seeds readily and often blooms the first year. New seedlings are hardy and can be transplanted easily. It's a bee, hummingbird, and butterfly magnet and makes an excellent addition to herb gardens, borders, perennial gardens, and prairies. When the leaves of the Anise Hyssop are crushed they smell like licorice and have been used to make tea and cold remedies. Other common names in use: Lavender Hyssop or Blue Giant Hyssop
Available May to Mid May.
Amorpha canescens – Leadplant
Host Plant – Silver Spotted Skipper
This is a lovely, and very long lived shrub of the prairie. The deep purple flower spikes rise above the silver-gray foliage to create a striking bloom display in June. The very deep taproot allows this plant to be very drought tolerant. Butterflies are attracted.
Available May – Mid May
Antennaria dioica rubra – Red Pussytoes
Availavle for shipping Mid May.
This native groundcover is ideal for xeriscaping; fuzzy silver leaves and rising pink flowers make this a unique addition to rock and alpine gardens; serves as a food source for the caterpillar for the Painted Lady butterfly
Red Pussytoes features tiny balls of pink flowers at the ends of the stems from late spring to early summer, which emerge from distinctive rose flower buds. It's attractive small tomentose narrow leaves remain grayish green in color throughout the year. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.
Red Pussytoes is an herbaceous evergreen perennial with a ground-hugging habit of growth. It brings an extremely fine and delicate texture to the garden composition and should be used to full effect.
This is a relatively low maintenance perennial, and should not require much pruning, except when necessary, such as to remove dieback. Deer don't particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. It has no significant negative characteristics.
Red Pussytoes is recommended for the following landscape applications;
Naturalizing And Woodland Gardens
General Garden Use
Red Pussytoes will grow to be only 2 inches tall at maturity extending to 4 inches tall with the flowers, with a spread of 12 inches. Its foliage tends to remain low and dense right to the ground. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 5 years.
This perennial should only be grown in full sunlight. It prefers dry to average moisture levels with very well-drained soil, and will often die in standing water. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for a low-water garden or xeriscape application. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in poor soils. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This plant can be propagated by division.
This is a selection of a native North American species.
Antennaria neglecta – Field Pussy Toes
Availavle for shipping Mid May.
Description: This perennial herbaceous plant is up to 1′ tall, but more commonly ½’ or less. It consists of a rosette of basal leaves, which sometimes produces an inflorescence on a short stalk during the spring. The basal leaves are up to 2″ long and ½” across; they are oblanceolate, with smooth margins. There is a single prominent vein on the upper surface of each basal leaf, while the lower surface is white and hairy. There are small alternate leaves along the pubescent flowering stalk; they are narrowly lanceolate or linear.
The late spring flowers look like tiny cat’s feet, thus the name. A member of the Aster family, Prairie Pussytoes are found across much of the Midwest and Northeast. USDA Hardiness zones: 3-7.
Pussytoes usually are grown for their velvety leaves rather than the white to pale pink flower. Flowers will reach up to about a foot in height but the leaves grow at ground level. Spreading by rhizomes, Pussytoes provide a good ground cover for dry areas such as rock gardens. Parts of the plant are poisonous so deer and rabbits and other small animals won’t touch them.
A. neglecta and A. plantaginifolia can be difficult to differentiate between with their primary differences existing in their leaves. A. neglecta has narrower leaves with 1-2 prominent veins compared to the 3-5 prominent veins seen in the broader leaves of A. plantaginifolia.
Aquilegia canadensis – Columbine Little Lanterns
Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Wide range of soil tolerance as long as drainage is good. Prefers rich, moist soils in light to moderate shade. Freely self-seeds and will naturalize to form large colonies in optimum growing conditions. Remove flowering stems after bloom to encourage additional bloom. Keep soils uniformly moist after bloom to prolong attractive foliage appearance. When foliage depreciates, plants may be cut to the ground.
Aquilegia canadensis is a native spring wildflower which occurs in rocky woods, slopes, ledges and open areas. Features drooping, bell-like, 1-2″, red and yellow flowers (red sepals, yellow-limbed petals, 5 distinctive red spurs and a mass of bushy yellow stamens). Delicate, biternate foliage is somewhat suggestive of meadow rue (Thalictrum) and remains attractive throughout the summer as long as soils are kept moist. Flowers are quite attractive to hummingbirds.
Genus name comes from the Latin word for eagle in reference to the flower’s five spurs which purportedly resemble an eagle’s talon.
Specific epithet means of Canada or also of north-eastern North America.
This species has very good resistance to leaf miner which often causes severe damage to the foliage of many other columbine species and hybrids.
Borders, cottage gardens, open shade gardens, woodland gardens or naturalized areas. Also a good selection for a hummingbird garden. Continue to water plants after bloom to enjoy the ground cover effect of the attractive foliage.
Aristolochia macrophylla – Dutchman’s Pipe
Host Plant – Pipevine Swallowtail
Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers rich, moist soil. Intolerant of dry soils. Cut back in late winter to control growth. Grows well from seed.
This deciduous, woody, climbing vine is an eastern American native which typically occurs in the wild in rich, moist woods and along streams. Can rapidly grow to 20-30′. An old-fashioned favorite that is grown for its large, heart-shaped, densely overlapping leaves (6-12″ long) which can quickly cover an arbor or trellis with attractive, glossy, deep green foliage. Commonly called Dutchman’s pipe because the unusual, 2″ long, yellowish-green flowers (each flaring at the calyx mouth to form 3 brownish-purple lobes) superficially resemble Dutch smoking pipes. Although the flowers make interesting conversation pieces, they are usually hidden by the dense foliage and are somewhat inconspicuous.
Aristolochia serpentaria – Virginia Snakeroot
Virginia Snakeroot is one of several species of vines known as “pipevines.” This species grows up to 18 inches tall and has thin, heart-shaped leaves. The stems of the plant tend to zig-zag.
Aristolochia serpentaria is a host plant to the beautiful Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly. It has a wide distribution throughout the United States and is a good shade ground cover for native gardens.
Grown in 4.5″ square pots.
All of our plants are grown without harmful pesticides.
Shipping begins Mid-May.
Artemisia stelleriana – Silver Brocade
Host Plant – American Lady
Features to Note:
- Deer Resistant
- OK in containers – see FAQ for overwintering
- Scented Foliage
- Hot Dry site tolerant
- For a sunny spot
Artemisia are prized for their aromatic silver leaves, excellent texture and vigorous growth. This perennial does not flower conspicuously but are used for their contrasting foliage. Also excellent in flower arrangements.
Asclepias curassavica – Tropical Milkweed
Tropical Milkweed, also known as Blood flower, is a tender evergreen perennial in the dogbane and milkweed family. It is native to South America, but has naturalized worldwide in many tropical and subtropical areas. It has a much longer flowering period than the perennial milkweeds that are winter hardy in Michigan. Showy red-orange flowers bloom late spring through late autumn except in USDA Zones 9-11 where it is winter hardy. Grows best in light, rich, evenly moist, well-drained soil in full sun. Will tolerate light shade and some soil dryness. Hummingbirds, butterflies and bees are attracted to the flowers. Monarch butterflies lay eggs on this plant and the resulting larvae (caterpillars) use the plant leaves as a food source. Flowers are followed by long, narrow seed pods (3-4” long) which split open when ripe releasing silky tailed seeds for dispersal by wind. Stems and leaves exude a milky sap when cut or bruised. Plants can be poisonous to livestock. Consider wearing gloves when working with these plants because the milky sap is poisonous if ingested and can be toxic to human skin.
Asclepias exaltata – Poke Milkweed
Poke Milkweed is native to Michigan and can also be found throughout the eastern portion of the United States and Canada. It is most often found at the edges of forests and upland woods and is one of the few milkweeds that prosper in shaded conditions. Tall and elegant with drooping flowers that are white with pink accents and extremely fragrant, this milkweed is a popular nectar source in addition to being a host plant for the Monarch butterfly. This is a non-aggressive milkweed and once established, plants are known to survive for decades.
Available – May 2017
Asclepias hirtella – Tall Green Milkweed
Asclepias hirtella Tall Green Milkweed is a Michigan native although it is considered threatened in the state. Tall Green Milkweed is found throughout the Tallgrass Prairie region in open areas, usually in prairies or remnants of prairies and throughout the midwest. Though not as well known as other varieties of milkweed, Tall Green Milkweed distinguishes itself with abundant clusters of green-white flowers that attract many butterflies and bees.
Other Common Names in use include Green Milkweed.
Available May 2017
Asclepias incarnata – ‘Cinderella’ Milkweed
‘Cinderella’ is a cultivar of native Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed) featuring pale pink, vanilla scented flower clusters. This milkweed occurs throughout most of the United States. It is a tall plant found in moist habitats such as wet meadows, floodplains, riverbanks, pond shores, stream banks, wet woods, swamps, and marshes, although it will also grow in drier areas such as prairies, fields, and roadsides. Swamp milkweed needs full sun or partial shade to flourish. Flowers are very attractive to butterflies and bees as a nectar source. Swamp milkweed is also an important food source for the larval stage of Monarch butterflies.The plants are deer resistant and heat tolerant.