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Choosing the right plants

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Tall verbena (Verbena bonariensis) is a nectar-producing herbaceous plant
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Michel Tremblay)

This table presents a list of those plant species that are most likely to attract butterflies to your garden. Those perennials that are not hardy in the Montréal region are listed with and may be grown as annual plants.

Trees and shrubs

Common name Latin name Nectar or Host

Annual, Biennial or Perennial

Hardiness zone Blooming period
Butterfly bush Buddleja davidii Nectar Non-hardy perennial often used as an annual   July to September
Paper birch Betula papyrifera Host Perennial 2  
Crabapple (resistant to scab) Malus cv. Nectar and Host Perennial 3 to 5 depending on cultivar May
Pin cherry tree Prunus pensylvanica Host Perennial 2  
Common lilac Syringa vulgaris Nectar Perennial 3 May to June
Elm Ulmus spp. Host Perennial 2 to 5 depending on species  

Herbaceous plants

Common name Latin name Nectar or Host Annual, Biennial or Perennial Hardiness zone Blooming period
Common yarrow Achillea millefolium Nectar Perennial 2 to 3 June to September
Dyer’s chamomile Anthemis tinctoria Nectar Perennial 3 May to July
Bloodflower Asclepias curassavica Nectar and Host Non-hardy perennial used as an annual   July to September
Swamp milkweed Asclepias incarnata Nectar and Host Perennial 3 July to August
Common milkweed Asclepias syriaca Nectar and Host Perennial 3 July to August
Swan river daisy Brachycome iberidifolia Nectar Annual   July to September
Persian knapweed Centaurea dealbata Host Perennial 3 to 4 July to September
Spider flower Cleome hassleriana Nectar and Host Annual   July to September
Tickseed Coreopsis grandiflora Nectar Perennial 3 to 4 July to August
Common cosmos Cosmos bipinnatus Nectar Annual   July to October
Dahlia Dahlia cv. Nectar Non-hardy perennial used as an annual   July to October
Common foxglove Digitalis purpurea Nectar Biennial or Perennial depending on cultivar 4 July to August
Purple coneflower Echinacea purpurea Nectar Perennial 3 June to September
Small globe thistle Echinops ritro Nectar Perennial 3 June to September
Spotted Joe-pye weed Eupatorium maculatum Nectar Perennial 2 to 3 July to September
Sunflower Helianthus annuus Nectar Annual   July to September
Common heliotrope Heliotropium arborescens Nectar Non-hardy perennial used as an annual   July to October
Herb treemallow Lavatera trimestris Nectar Annual   June to September
Spiked gayfeather Liatris spicata Nectar Perennial 3 July to August
Sweet alyssum Lobularia maritima Nectar Annual   May to October
Lupine Lupinus cv. Nectar Annual or Perennial depending on cultivar 3 to 4 June to September
Flowering tobacco Nicotiana x sanderae Nectar and Host Annual   June to September
Forest tobacco Nicotiana sylvestris Nectar and host Annual   June to September
Star cluster Pentas lanceolata Nectar Annual   May to October
Petunia Pandunia x hybrida Nectar Annual   June to September
Orange coneflower Rudbeckia fulgida Nectar Perennial 3 to 4 July to September
Black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia hirta Nectar Annual   June to October
Mealy sage Salvia farinacea Nectar Annual   June to September
Caucasian scabious Scabiosa caucasica Nectar Perennial 3 to 4 June to September
Canada goldenrod Solidago canadensis Nectar Perennial 3 August to September
Signet marigold Tagetes tenuifolia Nectar Annual   June to September
Mexican sunflower Tithonia rotundifolia Nectar Annual   June to September
Nasturtium Tropaeolum cv. Nectar Annual   July to October
Tall verbena Verbena bonariensis Nectar Non-hardy perennial used as an annual   June to September

Herbs and aromatic plants

Common name Latin name Nectar or Host Annual, Biennial or Perennial Hardiness zone Blooming period
Dill Anethum graveolens Host Annual    
Fennel Foeniculum vulgare Host Annual    
Hyssop Hyssopus officinalis Nectar Perennial 4 July to September
Parsley Pandroselinum crispum Host Annual and biennial    

Climbing plants

Common name Latin name Nectar or Host Annual, Biennial or Perennial Hardiness zone Blooming period
Morning glory Ipomoea tricolor Nectar Annual   June to September
Hyacinth bean Lablab purpureus Nectar and Host Non-hardy perennial used as an annual   August to October
Perennial pea Lathyrus latifolius Nectar Non-hardy perennial used as an annual   July to September
Black-eyed Susan Thunbergia alata Nectar Non-hardy perennial used as an annual   June to September

Tropical plants grown outdoors in the summer

Common name Latin name Nectar or Host Annual, Biennial or Perennial Hardiness zone Blooming period
Yellow sage Lantana camara Nectar Non-hardy perennial used as an annual   June to September

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