Great Nectar Sources To Feed Fall Butterflies

With our nighttime temperatures in the 60’s, fall is definitely in the air. And while many of our friends in other parts of the country are preparing for the end of the growing season, even in the worst of winters, our growing season will last for several more months.

This really hit home yesterday as I walked through the garden and saw tons of caterpillars: Gulf Fritillaries; Polydamas; Common Buckeyes and more. Hopefully, most (if not all) will transform into butterflies. This means they’ll soon be looking for food.

Here in Tampa Bay, several of our native wildflowers in the aster family are great nectar sources at this time of year. These wildflowers include narrowleaf sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius), frost aster (Symphyotrichum pilosum), Elliott's aster (Symphyotrichum elliottii), hairy trilisa (Carphephorus paniculatus), and salt and pepper (Melanthera nivea). Layer them with other fall showstoppers: cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), salt bush (Baccharis halimifolia) and firebush (Hamelia patens) and before you know it, you’ll have a garden filled with abundant color and beauty for your human visitors and lots of nectar for butterflies and bees.

Be sure to follow other tips from our blog, “Outdoor Design” on ways to add layers and texture to your garden to make sure it’s incredibly inviting. And, as always, please stop by to learn about any of our plants or the butterflies they support. Together, we can #NurtureNative and amplify the #ButterflyEffectTampa.