Long-Blooming Flowers that Attract Butterflies and Hummingbirds

Fill your garden with flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds from summer into fall.

Whether the calendar says summer or fall, these flowers that attract butterflies will keep on going until the first frost – and sometimes beyond. It’s important to keep flowers blooming as long as possible to help butterflies and hummingbirds later in the season. With thousands of monarchs and hummingbirds migrating south for the winter, these amazing fliers still need good nectar sources to fuel their journeys. While some hummers and monarchs start their flights south as early as late July, many of them are still passing through in late October or even early November.

To make it easier to choose the right plants, we put together this “Sweet 16” list of blooms to grow in your yard this time of year. We chose them because they are some of the hardiest plants you can find – and they also happen to be gorgeous. Enjoy the late season color while attracting hummingbirds and butterflies galore!

  • attracting butterflies

    Joe Pye Weed

    Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum, Zones 3 to 9)
    This tall perennial (grows up to 7 feet) definitely deserves a spot in your flower bed. It has large medium-pink blooms and interesting foot-long, whorled leaves (see photo above). As a bonus, the flowers smell like vanilla; it’s no wonder they’re great at attracting butterflies!

  • attracting butterflies

    Russian Sage

    Russian Sage (Perovskia, Zones 4 to 9)
    Big and showy, the purple blooms of Russian sage are butterfly magnets. Plant just one of these perennials in your garden, and you’ll see a difference in a single season. With its silvery foliage and bursts of small purple blooms, it’s a great accessory anywhere.

  • attracting butterflies

    Black-Eyed Susan

    Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia, Zones 3 to 9)
    Hummingbirds and butterflies nectaring on these flowers start the wildlife parade followed by seed-eating birds. It’s common to see butterflies at these yellow, orange and russet blooms. As a bonus, these are some of the most drought-tolerant blooms you can find.

  • attracting butterflies

    Chrysanthemum

    Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum, Zones 5 to 8 or annual)
    When it comes to great fall flowers, the list wouldn’t be complete without chrysanthemums. Whether you start with bare-root mums in spring or buy container-grown plants in late summer, these stunners are a great nectar source. They’re one of the last blooms in the garden attracting butterflies in the fall.

  • attracting butterflies

    Bee Balm

    Bee Balm (Monarda didyma, Zones 4 to 9)
    Hummingbirds love the tubular blooms of this bright red flower, which grows up to 4 feet tall. Many think of it as predominantly a summer plant, but it also offers a great nectar source through early fall, too.

  • attracting butterflies

    Aster

    Aster (Aster, Zones 3 to 9)
    Growing up to 6 feet tall (dwarf varieties are shorter), asters sport dozens of blooms on a single plant. If you plant early in the season, they’ll have plenty of time to get established for winter. Or try your luck by picking up some end-of-season deals. You’ll be glad you did.

  • attracting butterlies

    Autumn Joy Sedum

    Autumn Joy Sedum (Sedum ‘Autumn Joy,’ Zones 3 to 8)
    Fall is the peak time for this backyard favorite, which grows up to 2 feet high and is a popular choice for attracting butterflies. The star-shaped blooms start out pale green and then become a rich burgundy color as the leaves change and finally turn a rust color after frost.

  • attracting butterflies

    Coreopsis

    Coreopsis (Coreopsis species, Zones 3 to 11)
    This two-for-one bloom attracts both seed-eating birds and butterflies. Skippers, buckeyes, painted ladies and monarchs often stop by for the plant’s sweet nectar, especially in late summer when it’s growing strong while other blooms are wilting away.

  • attracting butterflies

    Dahlia

    Dahlia (Dahlia, Zones 9 to 11)
    Big and beautiful, a dahlia is a shining star in the garden. Though in most regions gardeners have to dig up the tubers in late fall and replant in spring, the effort is well worth it. The end result is huge blooms (some as big as 10 inches) that are excellent for attracting hummingbirds and butterflies.

  • attracting butterflies

    Cosmos

    Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus, annual)
    You can find this beauty in shades of pink, white, red and purple, growing as high as 6 feet tall. It lasts well into fall and is like a bright beacon to hummingbirds and butterflies passing through on their migrations.

  • attracting butterflies

    Purple Coneflower

    Purple Coneflower (Echinacea, Zones 3 to 9)
    Birds, bees and butterflies all love this perennial. While birds will pause to snack on its drying seed heads, butterflies and hummingbirds will stop for its nectar in fall.

  • attracting butterflies

    Goldenrod

    Goldenrod (Solidago species, Zones 3 to 9)
    This is another plant for which a little deadheading goes a long way. Be sure to give these beauties plenty of room to spread. They grow up to 48 inches high and 30 inches wide, with a beautiful golden shade.

  • attracting butterflies

    Zinnia

    Zinnia (Zinnia, annual)
    Another surefire annual, this beauty is guaranteed to extend the season until the first frost. If you’re looking for variety, zinnias are the perfect flower for you. You can find bloom shapes in daisy- or dahlia-like configurations and in just about any color, and nearly all are excellent when attracting butterflies and hummingbirds.

  • Petunia

    Petunia

    Petunia (Petunia x hybrida, annual)
    Get your pinchers ready—deadheading these blooms will keep them going all the way until frost in beautiful shades of pink, red, pale yellow, violet-blue, white and various combinations. A favorite for hanging baskets, petunias attract hummingbirds in late summer and early fall.

  • Attracting butterflies

    Pansy

    Pansy (Viola x wittrockiana, perennial in Zones 8 to 11 or annual)
    If you live in a cooler climate, pansies are perfect for you. Many cultivars are specifically developed to survive spring and autumn temperatures. Some even work as winter annuals.

  • attracting butterflies

    Sunflower

    Sunflower (Helianthus annuus, annual)
    Summer wouldn’t be complete without giant stalks of sunflowers. They are a favorite among seed-eaters, but since they last into early autumn, they’re a great nectar source as well. Though the classic sunflower is yellow, you can now find varieties in red, brown and more. Gardeners are often surprised to find these are flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds as well as songbirds.

  • More From Birds & Blooms
  • attracting butterflies

    Joe Pye Weed

  • attracting butterflies

    Russian Sage

  • attracting butterflies

    Black-Eyed Susan

  • attracting butterflies

    Chrysanthemum

  • attracting butterflies

    Bee Balm

  • attracting butterflies

    Aster

  • attracting butterlies

    Autumn Joy Sedum

  • attracting butterflies

    Coreopsis

  • attracting butterflies

    Dahlia

  • attracting butterflies

    Cosmos

  • attracting butterflies

    Purple Coneflower

  • attracting butterflies

    Goldenrod

  • attracting butterflies

    Zinnia

  • Petunia

    Petunia

  • Attracting butterflies

    Pansy

  • attracting butterflies

    Sunflower

  1. Betty Lee Kennedy says

    I was searching for the easy container recipes for container plants that attract humming birds and butterflies as shown in the mew issue it directed me to come to your
    web site /bonus to find them.

  2. darlene says

    Can all of the 16 butterfly plants be grown in a planter? If so, what would be the best flower arrangment?

  3. Mary says

    I’ve planted ‘Iron weed’. Is Joe Pye weed the same plant. From the pictures, they look the same and the butterflies and hummers like it.

  4. Donna Hudson says

    Hi, I was wondering how a mix of these would work in a bed with gladeolias. I would like to do a bed at the back of her garage which gets full sun. If we can keep the dogs and cats out. What do you think, starti g the growing season off with glads then a mix of these listed?

  5. Daniel says

    You are a master artist, with a camera. All your butterfly and flower pictures, are a masterpiece of beauty and color. I love all your nature pictures. Other artists paint with a paint brush to create beauty, you create beauty with a camera……..

    • Sara Powell says

      People seem assume the author is also the photographer and often it is not. This is very unfair to the talented photographers supplying these images. I believe the photographer deserves to be at least named.

  6. Daniel says

    All the butterfly and flower photographs, were, super, super, beautiful….. Print more photographs of butterflies and flowers…….There are a lot of butterfly lovers out there…..

  7. Joy McGinniss says

    We planted zinnias from seed and the rabbits ate them all. And they also ate my blackeyed susans which I’ve had for several years. And that’s after I sprayed them with anti-rabbit solutions. Argh!

  8. Rick Nicklas says

    The picture of the butterfly on the orange flower was taken by me. That is actually a Mexican Sunflower not zinnia.

  9. Kathy Rohe says

    The photographers of all these wonderful photos are not acknowledged. I think it is not fair to use their talent and not give them the credit they deserve.

  10. Hannah Holtz says

    Hi everyone,

    We noticed our slideshows have not been displaying photo credit properly. Usually, a green box containing the credit appears under the photo, as it does for other articles. We are working to have this issue resolved. Thank you!

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