Extreme summer temperatures challenge butterfly gardeners this time of year, wilting many nectar sources and killing host plants that just can’t take this historic Texas heat.
Yet some butterfly garden plants endure, even thrive, when temperatures hover in the hundreds.
I’ve written before about my favorite butterfly plant Cowpen Daisy, also known as Golden Crownbeard. This happy, resilient daisy is attractive to Queens, Monarchs, Swallowtails and other butterflies, and it also serves as host plant to the Bordered Patch butterfly. Cowpen Daisy blooms even on 100-degree days. Pruning and deadheading result in even more hearty flowers.
A bonus is Cowpen Daisy, Verbesina encelioides, produces a prolific seed crop, making for easy propagation.
It doesn’t make sense to plant anything right now, but don’t hesitate to gather seeds when you discover Cowpen Daisy’s dried blooms, which are already forming. For tips on cultivation, see the Biography of Cowpen Daisy on our Facebook page.
Other heat loving nectar sources tough enough to take our Texas heat include Greg’s Purple Mistflower and the native lantanas. Purple Mistflower behaves like Cowpen Daisy in that the more you cut it back, the more blooms result. It spreads, so if you want to contain it, pull it out by the roots. Native lantanas were born to weather our Texas summers.
All these plants need a bit of water, but they’re not guzzlers. With just a meager amount of attention, they’ll provide you and butterfly visitors months of enjoyment.