Is it right for my yard?

As we plan to add new plants to our gardens, we should think about which plants are best for our area and the species of butterflies in our area of the world.  Just because it is native, attracts butterflies, and produces nectar doesn’t mean it is best for your garden or yard.

Think twice before choosing a new plant.  Do research.  Ask others for advice, people who may know more about the plant that you are considering for your yard.  Some native plants are better for a yard/garden than others.

One of the wild native nectar plants in our area would win your heart when you see the way butterflies flock to it.  It’s a fantastic source of nectar.  Redroot, Lachnanthes caroliniana, is a native plant that grows in wet soil.  There is just one problem: it is extremely aggressive.

Redroot with a Zebra Swallowtail and a couple of Gulf Fritillaries
Redroot with a Zebra Swallowtail and a couple of Gulf Fritillaries

Blooming only in the fall, this plant spreads rapidly and is difficult to eliminate, once it spreads.  It is great for a boggy area if you don’t mind it taking over.

Redroot with at least 7 butterflies, primarily Swallowtails
Redroot with at least 7 butterflies, primarily Swallowtails

When it sends up bloom spikes, it grows a fuzzy white growth at the top, often thought to be the bloom.  Instead, the blooms are yellow flowers that open in the fuzzy white top of the spikes.

Redroot with two Spicebush Swallowtails and one Gulf Fritillary
Redroot with two Spicebush Swallowtails and one Gulf Fritillary

Although native, we advise using extreme caution if you are considering adding this plant to your garden.  A better plant would be one that doesn’t spread so aggressively.  A  plant that blooms all season, spring through fall, is a better choice for a small yard or garden.

Redroot grows in wet soil
Redroot grows in wet soil

Although native plants are wonderful and I have many in my garden/yard, there are some natives that are not good choices for gardens/yards.

This plant would be great for a retaining pond, wet ditch in the country, or other area where it wouldn’t cause issues with its spreading nature.

Think first:

  • Is it right for my yard?
  • Is there a better location for the plant?
  • Should I avoid it all-together?

A good native alternative for a boggy area would be Cardinal Flower, Lobelia cardinalis.  Its red blooms also attract butterflies and provide nectar to many insects.

Cardinal flower and a Cloudless Sulphur butterfly

What are your favorite native nectar plants?

4 thoughts on “Is it right for my yard?

  1. 😂I’m waiting to see what my backyard will look like this year. I planted some milkweed a few years ago, it was quite robust last year and I had to pull a few out, which had grown beyond the borders anyway. That’s the down side. The upside, I enjoyed watching the caterpillars and the other bugs on the milk weed, so I’m hoping for even more of an abundance of butterflies this year.

    Liked by 1 person

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