Attract Hummingbirds And Butterflies To Your Garden

Shutterbugs with green thumbs are in luck. With a little work it's possible to bring the magic of butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden. Just select the right plants--butterflies like bright colors while hummingbirds and butterflies both like blooms with plenty of nectar. Is there a more perfect way to hone your nature photography skills while also getting some great photos for your collection?

Easy-to-grow plants that attract pollinators include butterfly bushes, Rose of Sharon, and Weigela.

Butterfly bush (Buddleia) is a favorite of butterflies and hummingbirds. The sweet fragrance and bright summer flowers are appealing to people, too. Unfortunately, traditional butterfly bush varieties have a tendency to get overgrown and leggy. Regular pruning is often needed to keep them in check.

New Lo & Behold 'Blue Chip' Buddleia is a miniature butterfly bush with all the fragrance and butterfly appeal of older varieties but in a smaller package.

It stays just 24"-30" tall and wide without any pruning, and produces abundant lavender blue flowers from midsummer to frost. This continuously blooming butterfly magnet does not need deadheading, and makes a fantastic low-maintenance mass planting. A noninvasive hybrid, Blue Chip is perfect for anyone who wants to attract butterflies and hummingbirds but doesn't have space for a big plant. It can be incorporated into container gardens.

While not as petite as Blue Chip, 'Miss Ruby' is a compact new variety with intense flower color. Its vivid magenta flowers are richer and brighter than those of other varieties. Miss Ruby matures to approximately 4'-5' tall and wide, not as small as Blue Chip but much more manageable than the 6'-8' range of many older varieties.

These new varieties are easy to grow in full sun and are hardy to USDA Zone 5. Butterfly bushes tolerate most moist, well-drained soils. Buddleia may be trimmed back in later winter or early spring, although pruning is usually not necessary with these new varieties.

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) is another easy-to-grow plant that attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. They bloom in mid- to late summer and are available in a wide variety of colors.

The pure white of White Chiffon is especially nice in the evening, while gardeners looking for deep color will appreciate the rich violet of Violet Satin.

Weigela are even more diverse in size, shape, color and foliage. Wine & Roses is popular for attracting hummingbirds. Fine Wine is a smaller version of this favorite, and dwarf Midnight Wine is smaller yet.

My Monet is another miniature Weigela. Its green and white variegated leaves often blush pink to match its pink spring flowers. The chartreuse foliage on reblooming Ghost Weigela transforms to iridescent buttercream in late summer. Weigelas are fast-growing plants that thrive in full sun.

Buddleia Blue Chip is a miniature butterfly bush that blooms abundantly but doesn't require as much pruning as the traditional varieties.

Miss Ruby has vivid magenta flowers that are richer and brighter than other varieties. They only reach four to five feet tall.

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