by Janet Woody, Librarian, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Excitement is building for Butterflies LIVE! We can’t wait for the May 25 opening of this display. If you haven’t visited it before, you are in for a real treat. We will be planting both host and nectar plants to attract and support all of the free-range butterflies that will be visiting the Garden, as well as offering host/nectar plants in the Conservatory for our guest butterflies to enjoy. If you haven’t planted anything at home yet to attract butterflies, now is the time to do it, and we’ll be featuring many butterfly attracting plants at our Spring Plant Sale ( that runs today through Saturday, May 5, 2012).
One of my favorite butterfly plants is Tithonia rotundifolia, or the Mexican sunflower, and we’ll have it at the Spring Plant Sale. It makes dozens of brilliant red-orange flowers on top of generous foliage. Some varieties grow 4 to 6 inches tall and about 2 to 3 feet wide; if that’s too much for your space, there is a dwarf variety too, which will reach 2 to 3 feet tall. Tithonia is an annual that keeps blooming until the first frost. It is easy to grow from seed and is heat and drought tolerant. Monarch butterflies love it and so do I. To me it’s just not summer without tithonia.