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Butterfly plants for your garden

Add these nectar plants to your garden to attract more butterflies. Click on the images to learn more.

NOTE: Some of these plants need to be contained so they do not become a problem for our native species 

Blue Mist Plant (Bartlettina sordida)
Blue Mist Plant (Bartlettina sordida)

Description: Large green to purple leaf. Clusters of pink to purple beads with long stamen protruding. Size: Grows between 1-2m high. Location: Full sun to shade. NOTE: This plant can self-seed and may become a problem in some conditions.

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Cat's Whiskers (Orthosiphon)
Cat's Whiskers (Orthosiphon)

Description: Related to mint and other medicinal and culinary herbs. Glossy green serrated leaves, with tubular white flowers, long stems.

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Duranta erecta
Duranta erecta

Description: Sprawling shrub or small tree. Flowers are light blue ruffles with jagged white edges, produced in tight clusters on terminal and axillary stems. The fruit is a small, round yellow/orange berry. Size: Grows up to 6m. Location: Full to part sun.

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Giant Goldenrod (Solidago)
Giant Goldenrod (Solidago)

Description: Sunny yellow plumes, made up of many small flowers lined up in tiny rows along the stem. Flowers August to September. Prune hard after flowering. Spreads rapidly. Size: Grows up to 2m tall. Golden plumes 35 cm and over. Location: Full sun. Likes poor to average nutrients, but well drained soil.

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Lilac Lady Pentas (Pentas lanceolata)
Lilac Lady Pentas (Pentas lanceolata)

Description: Small shrub with green foliage and clusters of star shaped flowers. Size: 1-2m high. 1m spread. Location: Full sun to light afternoon shade.

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Mauve snakeweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis)
Mauve snakeweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis)

Description: Small evergreen shrub with small mauve flowers on snakelike stems. Prune regularly to desired height for heavier flowering. Size: Can grow to 2.5m if unpruned. Location: Full sun.

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Mexican Marigold (Tagetes lemmonii)
Mexican Marigold (Tagetes lemmonii)

Description: Sprawling evergreen shrub with aromatic foliage and bright golden daisy-like flowers adorned with darker yellow disks. Size: 120-80cm high, 180-300cm wide. Location: Full sun. Will tolerate part shade but may get leggy. Well drained soils. Regular water. Drought tolerant.

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Pink coral vine (Antigonon leptopus)
Pink coral vine (Antigonon leptopus)

Description: Fast growing vine, will climb pergolas and trees. Clusters of deep pink flowers. Heart shaped leaves produce tendrils that make it easy for this vine to cover spaces quickly. Size: Grows to 12m. Location: Grows best in loam soil for its tuberous roots. Regular watering.

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Pink snakeweed (Stachytarpheta mutabilis)
Pink snakeweed (Stachytarpheta mutabilis)

Description: Small evergreen shrub with small pink flowers on snakelike stems. Prune regularly to desired height for heavier flowering. Size: Can grow to 2m if unpruned. Location: Full sun.

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Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata)
Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata)

Description: Flowers have five petals and grow in clusters at the end of stems. Colours range from periwinkle blue to white. Blooms through the year. Simple, smooth oblong leaves. Size: Grows to 1-1.5m high and 1.5-2m wide. Location: Full sun to partial shade. Well drained soil. Drought resistant.

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Red Pentas (Pentas lanceolata)
Red Pentas (Pentas lanceolata)

Description: Small shrub with green foliage and clusters of mushroom-shaped flower heads. Prune heavily in early spring for new season's growth. Size: 1.2m high. 0.5m spread. Location: Full sun.

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Salvia - Red Cherry Pie
Salvia - Red Cherry Pie

Description: Clusters of raspberry red flowers. Sweet herbal scented flower. Size: Grows up to 1m high. Location: Full sun.

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White Buddleja (Profusion)
White Buddleja (Profusion)

Description: Fast growing shrub. Spear shaped clusters of long white flower spikes with honey scent. Size: Grows 2-3m high and 2 metres wide. Location: Full sun. Free draining soil. Cold hardy.

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Plant care tips

  • ​Plant them as soon as possible to avoid over-watering or under-watering in the pots. 

  • ​Allow plenty of room for your plants to grow to maturity.  Prepare a good sized hole, at least 150mm deeper than the pot your tree is in and at least 500mm wide. 

  • Never dig your hole down into heavy clay soil as it could trap the water and waterlog the roots. After breaking up the topsoil, build up above it if necessary with sandy loam.

  • Add natural fertiliser, or vegetable compost and manure which have been well rotted, in the bottom of the hole. 

  • Preferably do not use a chemical fertiliser when planting your trees. 

  • If using dried or pelleted fowl manure, spread two cupfuls evenly across the bottom of the hole then add 50mm of soil on top.

  • Carefully squeeze the pot to loosen the roots slightly. 

  • Plant the tree at the same level as it was in the container. 

  • Mix a cup of organic manure evenly through the remaining soil. 

  • Press the soil carefully around the plant firmly.  

  • Water thoroughly but do not puddle, as this forces the air out of the soil, compacting it excessively. 

  • Spread a cup of organic manure evenly across the 500mm area around the plant. 

  • Stake the plant if necessary and tie it loosely.

  • Add a 25mm layer of coarse plant mulch on the ground to a diameter of at least 500mm.

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