Butterflies in Mind -- Zinnia
Susan C. Dunlap
A collection of 50 images as if seen from a butterfly’s point of view. Includes the names of native Zinnia species and the most complete list of US butterflies that will feed on Zinnia blossoms.
Butterflies in Mind -- Asclepias
Susan C. Dunlap
“Milkweed is the single most important plant for Monarch butterflies. This lavishly illustrated book contains details about the structure and cultivation of native Milkweeds, information about the 139 nectar-feeding butterflies they...
Butterflies in Mind -- Monarch
Susan C. Dunlap
This abundantly illustrated volume enables you to select from a complete list of well described perennial nectar plants that are known to attract & feed Monarch butterflies. Over 40 genera are described that are suitable to be grown...
Butterflies in Mind -- Perennials
Susan C. Dunlap
Butterflies in Mind - Perennials. This book is a definitive guide to perennial nectar plants preferred by US butterflies. It empowers you to feed, attract, support (and help identify) nectar-feeding butterflies that reside in the US....

Verbena bonariensis

Family: Verbenaceae


Native to: South America

Sentiment: pray for me


Types: annual, perennial

Forms: erect, open form

Max height: 6.6 feet

Max width: 3 feet


blue/green, magenta/purple, secondary color present, violet, white/off white




Attracts wildlife: adult butterfly, bird, hummingbird, specific butterfly species

Plant part consumed by birds: nectar

Exposure: sun

Landscape use: container

Propagates by: seed

flowers in fall

flowers in summer

Soil types: average, loam, well drained

USDA Zones: zone 7 to 0 f, zone 8 to +10 f, zone 9 to +20 f, zone 10 to +30 f, zone 11 to +40 f

Temp. range: 0 to above +40 °F

Water: drought tolerant

Butterflies that feed on this plant

Abaeis nicippe

Achalarus albociliatus

Achalarus casica

Achalarus toxeus

Aglais milberti

Aguna asander

Amblyscirtes oslari

Anartia jatrophae

Anthanassa texana

Anthocharis cethura

Anthocharis midea

Asterocampa celtis

Asterocampa clyton

Asterocampa leilia

Astraptes fulgerator

Astraptes gilberti

Atalopedes campestris

Atrytone deleware

Atrytonopsis deva

Atrytonopsis edwardsi

Atrytonopsis hianna

Atrytonopsis pittacus

Atrytonopsis python

Atrytonopsis vierecki

Autochton cellus

Battus philenor

Calycopis isobeon

Chioides catillus

Chioides zilpa

Chiomara mithrax

Chlosyne endeis

Chlosyne lacinia

Codatractus arizonensis

Cogia hippalus

Colias interior

Colias philodice

Cupido comyntas

Cyclargus thomasi

Cymaenes odilia subsp. trebius

Cymaenes tripunctus

Danaus gilippus

Danaus plexippus

Decinea percosius

Dryadula phaetusa

Epargyreus clarus

Erynnis baptisiae

Erynnis funeralis

Erynnis horatius

Erynnis pacuvius

Erynnis tristis

Euptoieta claudia

Eurema mexicana

Glutophrissa drusilla

Hemiargus ceraunus

Hesperia comma

Hesperia pahaska

Hesperia uncas

Hylephila phyleus

Lasaia sula

Leptotes marina

Lerema accius

Lerodea eufala

Limenitis arthemis

Limenitis fessonia

Lon melane

Mastor aenus

Mastor aesculapius

Mastor cassus

Mastor celia

Mastor celia subsp. belli

Mastor elissa

Mastor exoteria

Mastor fimbriata

Mastor nereus

Mastor simius

Mastor texanae

Mastor tolteca

Mastor vialis

Nastra julia

Nymphalis antiopa

Oarisma edwardsii

Ochlodes snowi

Ochlodes sylvanoides

Panoquina hecebolus

Panoquina ocola

Papilio appalachiensis

Papilio glaucus

Papilio machaon

Papilio polyxenes

Papilio rutulus

Papilio thoas

Papilio troilus

Papilio xuthus

Papilio zelicaon

Parrhasius m-album

Phoebis sennae

Piruna aea

Poanes yehl

Polites coras

Polites sabuleti

Pontia protodice

Speyeria atlantis subsp. hesperis

Speyeria callippe

Strymon kingi

Strymon melinus

Synapte malitiosa

Systasea zampa

Thorybes drusius

Thorybes pylades

Urbanus procne

Vanessa annabella

Vanessa atalanta

Vanessa cardui

Vidius perigenes

Yvretta carus

Zerene cesonia

This is an amazing plant. Locally, in the San Francisco Bay Area, it is a perennial, and is wonderfully erect, wistful really. A favorite. And oh, my, do the butterflies and bees love it! The Carpenter bee, Xylocopa californica, likes it as well as every butterfly and skipper that comes through the garden. It is a must-have plant for a butterfly garden. It is possible to imagine that every butterfly known only to feed on "plant nectar" (rather than a known plant species) will feed on this plant. Watch for the list of butterfly species known to feed on this plant grow like a weed.

Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) are dependent upon garden plants and will very happily feed on this Verbena and red-flowering passionflower, Passiflora, as well. A stray Funereal Duskywing (Erynnis funeralis), flying very much outside its normal range, found its way to this plant. While visiting the garden it fed exclusively on Verbena bonariensis, selecting from a smorgasbord of flowering options that included other Verbenas. We are pleased to report the expanded appeal of this plant to wildlife.

Try this plant in a container - the larger the better - but it is true that butterflies will come to its flowers even if the plant is in an 8" pot. This plant should be sold out at the nursery and sold in six-packs or flats.

The dimensions for this Verbena are correct, and it has a very open form - 3' wide at the top, with long stems emerging from a very small base. As with many plants, especially perennial and annual species (perhaps not hybrids), Verbena bonariensis leans over as it matures. Seems plants do this for one or maybe two reasons - to spread seed away from the base and enable sunlight to more easily reach the secondary growth. It is the secondary growth that extends the growing season. Once established it requires very little water.

There are 108 species of Verbena, or VERVAIN, a member of the Verbenaceae family. Verbena stricta is a short-lived perennial that grows in Zones 4-7, to over three feet tall, and tolerates dry conditions. There are seed vendors online who sell seeds for this perennial. And Missouri botanical has good information as well. The perennial Verbena rigida attracts birds, bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies and grows from seeds or cuttings. It is hardy in Zones 8-11, flowers in summer, grows to two feet tall, and is drought tolerant. Verbena bonarensis is a favorite to insects. It can grow to over 6 feet tall in Zones 7-10 and blooms from summer into fall. It can naturalize – sometimes a bit too aggressively as it can be invasive in favorable conditions especially found in the southern United States on parcels near wetlands.

Container plants that attract adult butterflies - perennial

This plant can be grown in a container and will attract and feed adult butterflies. These plant can be found in every height range – from tiny to large – from less than a foot high to over 10 feet tall.

Our database of nectar plants for all US butterflies contains over 10,000 entries. The top five nectar plants -- Cirsium, Lantana, Asclepias, Salvia, and Verbena -- will appeal to 90% of all US butterflies. Pick from these if you want to provide nectar for your local butterflies.

Once you start with these, you can add from another 630 genera in 110 plant families to attract more insects to your garden.

By far the most import butterfly nectar plant family is Asteraceae. If you grow plants in from this family, butterflies will find your garden.