The Butterfly Magnet

Eupatorium-greggii.jpg

Butterfly Mistflower
Conoclinium dissectum
Asteraceae

  • Takes up about 2' space, about 1.5' tall

  • Blue flowers spring to fall

  • Magnet for butterflies

  •  regular water (bottom zone)

  • Full sun to part shade

  • Freezes to ground in winter but hardy to 0°F 

  • Great container plant

  • larval host for Rawson's Metalmark butterfly

If you were given the choice of only choosing one plant with the purpose of attracting butterflies, this would be the one. If there are butterflies in the area, any species of butterfly, they will be fluttering about on this plant, feeding on the nectar of the mistflower. It is also a larval host to the Rawson's metalmark butterfly. 

Butterfly mistflower is a perennial subshrub growing about 2 feet tall and speading to about 3 feet wide via underground rhizomes (underground roots), though it can be kept much more compact with pruning. It can tolerate a range of soil types, but looks better with soil that has been improved with organic material. Plants appreciate some shading in the summertime though too much shade will make them lanky, and cause them to bloom less. If you have your plants in full sun, provide them with improved soil and regular irrigation; this will keep them looking gorgeous.

Mistflowers bloom for most of the year, from spring to fall. Freezing temperatures will cause plants to burn and/or freeze to the ground, but they come back from the roots readily, handling temperatures down to 0 degrees fahrenheit. Plants will need to be sheered to the ground in early spring to get rid of frost-damaged growth.

This plant does excellent in containers, and is well-behaved enough for tight areas like borders. 

Previously known as Eupatorium greggii or Conoclinium greggii and sometimes still sold under those names at plant nurseries. 

Butterfly mistflower is native from west Texas to southeast Arizona, south to Durango and Zacatecas in northern Mexico. It can be found in Arizona at elevations of 3500-5000 feet in places like the Santa Rita, Mustang, and Dragoon mountain ranges down into wet parts of the valleys like the San Pedro River. 

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Katherine Gierlach