Verbena bonariensis with orange alstroemeria
Bob Wigand

Tips on the plantings and extras that attract winged wildlife

Judy Wigand with Sharon Cohoon

Plants they love
Below are the top wildlife plants at the Brighams' nursery in San Marcos, California.

Hummingbird plants
• Alstroemeria hybrids.
Evergreen perennials. Pink, purple, orange, or white flowers. Peak in spring and summer.

• Bottlebrush (Callistemon). Large shrub or small tree. Red flowers. Peaks in spring and summer.

• Kangaroo paw (Anigozanthos). Perennial. Red, yellow, or green flowers. Spring through fall.

• Nicotiana. Perennials grown as annuals. White, pink, red tubular flowers. Peaks in summer and early fall.

• Penstemon. Perennials. Reds and blues predominate. Spring and summer bloom, depending on species.

• Salvia. Perennials and shrubs. Lots of blues and reds, plus but many other colors. Spring through fall.

Butterfly plants
• Butterfly bush
(Buddleja). Shrub. Flowers mostly in shades of purple. Peaks in summer.

• Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa). Perennial. Clusters of orange or yellow flowers in summer.

• Lantana. Shrub grown as annual in cold climates. Wide range of colors ― lavender to yellow, orange, and white. Long bloom season.

• Pincushion flower (Scabiosa). Annuals and perennials. Blue, pink, and white flowers in spring and summer.

• Verbena. Perennials often grown as annual. Purples, pinks, reds. Summer and fall bloom.

Other amenities

• Babysitting services.
Provide larval-food plants for the butterflies common to your area: milkweed for monarchs, fennel for anise swallowtail, and buckwheat for hairstreaks. Add birdhouses, and set out piles of nesting material for birds: pine needles and small pieces of string.

• Mineral water. Butterflies need minerals and salts in their diet as well as sugar. One place they get it from is mud, so give them a permanent puddle. Dig a shallow depression, line it with pebbles, and keep the soil moist.

• Dust baths. Birds like their dirt dry. They ruffle their feathers in it to rid themselves of parasites. Set aside a few square feet for them, bordered with rocks or brick, and fill the area with loose, sandy soil.

• Tanning salon. Butterflies enjoy basking in the sun. Provide some flat rocks for them in an area protected from the wind by shrubs.


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