Kay wrote:Looking to plant some perennials in my school's courtyard to attract monarchs. We have a variety of milkweed plants and some annual flowers. At home my butterfly bush is a sure fire attraction, but I don't believe it's a native plant for VA so I'm looking for another bush to plant. Ideas?
The butterfly bush is not native, but it is one of the best butterfly attractants you can have for a garden. It does not behave like an invasive weed at zone 6/7 so it's ok to plant. It's very easy to keep them under control with a nice monthly trimming. There have been years I never bother to dead head since I do want to obtain seedlings to pull up in the spring and pot up to use in other locations or as gifts and even then it's only a few plants that do manage to sprout. Anytime I've personally tried growing them in pots directly from seeds has been a failure - much easier to let nature do the work for me.
I also like joe-pye-weeds and iron weeds, but those do not bloom during the spring/summer.. so they tend to only be good for the migration south in the fall.
Another great flower (but not native) is Tithonia/Mexican sunflower. Monarchs simply adore Tithonia in the fall and it is one of the few plants I've noticed that will continue to flower even after the early frosts hit...so late migrant stragglers have something to seek out.