Carrol Henderson is Supervisor, Nongame Wildlife Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Your backyard flower garden can become a lively butterfly, moth and hummingbird garden if you choose the right flowers. Here are some top choices for a beautiful flowerbed that will be irresistible to these wild creatures.
Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Rough blazing star (Liatris aspera)
Meadow blazing star (Liatris ligulistylis)
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
Pink everlasting (Sedum alboroseum)
Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia) (Allow lots of space for this plant, it will be at least three feet wide and four feet tall at maturity.)
For ruby-throated hummingbirds
Scarlet bergamot (Monarda didyma)
Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
Scarlet runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus)
For white-lined sphinx moths
Vinca (Vinca minor) -- look for the moths at dusk in late summer.
Flowering tobacco (Nicotiana alata) -- the moths feed on this at dusk.
Note: All but the Mexican sunflower are perennials and will not need to be reseeded next year. The milkweeds and blazing stars may be available only from nurseries that specialize in native prairie plants.
For further details, see the book Landscaping for Wildlife, published by the Nongame Wildlife Program of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The book is available online at www.comm.media.state.mn.us/bookstore/bookstore.asp.