The Q&A Archives: Partial Sun Perennials for Hummingbirds and Butterflies

Question: I live in NYS, about 2 hrs north of NYC. I would like to plant flowering perennials that would attract butterflies and hummingbirds. I only get about 4 hrs. of afternoon sun. Could you please suggest some plants?

Answer: Butterflies and hummingbirds will be attracted to almost any blooming plant, although butterflies seem to "see" plants better when they are planted in large drifts or masses all of one kind and hummers seem to be creatures of habit, following a route every day to feed at the same areas. If your afternoon sun is in the hours closer to noon, you could experiment with sun loving plants and those labeled sun to part shade. If your hours of sun are in the late afternoon only, you could try working with plants labeled for shade to part shade. Some particularly adaptable plants to consider might be columbine, gold leafed hostas, heuchera, penstemon, sedum spectabilis and purple coneflower: all of these attract hummingbirds and butterflies in partial shade in my own garden. Have fun with your project!

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