Ask a Question forum: A lot of detailed questions!

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Fox Lake, IL
MDAukerman
Apr 24, 2018 5:44 PM CST
I hope you can help, and that this is not too cumbersome. I am trying to create a large garden that is both very colorful and will attract Hummingbirds, Orioles, and Butterflies. I have a list of plants that do that, but I don't know anything about most of these. If I give you the list, can you tell me about 4 or 5 (or a few more) that fit the category of "colorful"? AND, can tell me where I can buy and/or order these from?

• Ajuga
• Bee balm
• Begonia
• Bleeding heart
• Butterfly weed
• Canna
• Cardinal flower
• Century plant
• Columbine
• Coral bells (heuchera)
• Cleome
• Crapemyrtle
• Dahlia
• Dame's rocket
• Delphinium
• Fire pink
• Four o' clocks
• Foxglove
• Fuchsia
• Gilia
• Geranium
• Gladiolus
• Glossy abelia
• Hollyhocks
• Impatiens
• Iris
• Lantana
• Liatris
• Lily
• Lupine
• Nasturtium
• Nicotiana
• Paintbrush
• Penstemon
• Petunia
• Phlox
• Sage
• Salvia
• Scabiosa
• Scarlet sage
• Sweet William
• Verbena
• Yucca
• Zinnia
• Milkweed (for Monarchs)


Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
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sallyg
Apr 24, 2018 5:54 PM CST
Some of those bloom for a short time, like spring, and others bloom all summer. For long summer bloom and actual attraction for butterflies, I nominate:
Butterfly weed
Lantana
Salvia any kind
Verbena
Nicotiana
Sweet William
Zinnia

..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Huntsville, AL
Nullthumb
Apr 24, 2018 6:29 PM CST
Butterfly weed and lantana are great. Some plants, like century plants, aren't super "colorful" and may require a different moisture level than what the rest of your garden has. Definitely keep PH concerns and light concerns (as well as moisture) in mind. I find that false rosemary is exceptional in such a bed - the flowers are gorgeous and its useful, too :)
Name: Chris
Hermann, MO (Zone 6a)
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FoolOnTheHill
Apr 24, 2018 6:35 PM CST
Does the spot receive full sun, part sun, shade? Is it dry?

Butterflies like all sorts of flowers. I don't have experience with Orioles, except at feeders. On your list, Cardinal Flower and Columbine are the ones that I see hummingbirds visit the most, of the plants that I happen to grow. Columbine will prefer partial shade. These plants are commonly available in garden centers (although the Columbine will be hybrid, and I'm not sure they are always as attractive to the hummers as the species, but your experience may differ), so just ask at whatever one you frequent. Impatiens also attract hummers (my parents grow a lot, and see hummers visit them), are a shade plant, and are commonly available. The first 2 are perennial, so they'll come back every year, but will have a shorter blooming period. The impatiens are annuals, so you'd have to replant them every year, but they'll bloom all summer. If you have full sun, you have lots of choices, and it really depends on what look you find attractive.

Anyway, this gives you a little more food for thought before making a decision Smiling

I'd suggest visiting your local nursery or garden center with your list, read the plant tag to see if it grows in your site (these sometimes also list if they attract butterflies, etc) and grab a few that are there that you like the looks of to start. Thumbs up
central Illinois
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jmorth
Apr 24, 2018 6:41 PM CST
From my experience, I'd nominate:
Liatris - for BF especially
Zinna - for BF
Bee Balm -the red ones work really well.
Lily - for Hummingbird Moth (night moth that behaves like a HB), also known as a hawkmoth.
4 o'clocks - same as above
Nicotiana - same
Dahlia - certain kinds really attract BF well > the single dark leaved anemone type (ex.- the Happy Single series, of which there are 9 I think)

also, some of the tall decorative type.


I didn't see Purple Coneflower (Magnus) in your list or New England Aster - the wild, tall kind; both of which are huge BF magnets.
Nothing that's been done can ever be changed.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Apr 24, 2018 7:09 PM CST
How experienced are you.
Some are weed flowers, i.e. if you do not do manual control you will be pulling them like weeds.
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Apr 24, 2018 7:09 PM CST
The hummingbirds in my yard like Hyacinth Bean (vine, requires support) but I don't see that on your list.
Salvia is good for hummers, especially the red-flower Salvia.

I would leave out the Century plant. For the amount of room it takes up it does not provide enough color or attract bees or hummers all that much.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland Composter Region: Mid-Atlantic Native Plants and Wildflowers
Keeper of Poultry Region: United States of America Dog Lover Cat Lover Birds
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sallyg
Apr 24, 2018 8:54 PM CST
I would leave out bleeding heart also. I have never seen an oriole/ hummer/or butterfly on one. blooms just spring. ditto Ajuga.

Your List appears here, for hummers
https://www.gardeners.com/how-...

Here are six for hummers from a link to Midwest Living: perennials honeysuckle, bee balm and cardinal flower, as well as annuals Mexican cigar plant, blue anise sage and Texas sage.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Apr 25, 2018 7:37 AM CST
greene said:The hummingbirds in my yard like Hyacinth Bean (vine, requires support) but I don't see that on your list.
Salvia is good for hummers, especially the red-flower Salvia.


Ditto...
Been a while since I've been up in the Chicago area... Much on your list is unlikely to be hardy in Illinois, while many other of your selections refuse to grow here.

I really like lantanna for the butterflies and canna for the hummingbirds, but unless you want to be digging them up and carrying them over through the winter indoors every year... Probably not good candidates for an Illinois garden.

The humming birds appreciate my eastern columbine and coral honeysuckle, but that is stricktly one month of bloom.

Seems to me.... That I'd try a few selections and a few packets of wildflower seed in the vegetable garden and gradually over a period of years, remove more turf and introduce additional plants and divide perennials that have performed well for you.

The really nice thing about illinois is that with the adequate rainfall, and the wonderful prarie topsoil, just about anything you plant should grow with very little effort on your part.

Consider a prarie mix of wildflower seeds.

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