Phlox is a genus of herbaceous perennials that is loved by many gardeners for its showy blooms and sweet fragrance. But it's not just gardeners that are drawn to phlox; butterflies are also major fans of this plant. With so many different species and cultivated varieties, phlox can be a little confusing to identify, but one thing is for sure: all phlox species are butterfly magnets.
One particular phlox cultivar that stands out in the garden for its ability to attract butterflies is Phlox hybrida 'Magenta Pearl'. This plant boasts clusters of bright pink flowers on tall stems, making it a favorite for both gardeners and butterflies alike. The lush foliage also provides early-season protection for insects from the fluctuating temperatures of spring.
But it's not just 'Magenta Pearl' that butterflies love. Many different species of butterflies are attracted to phlox, including the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Monarch, and Spicebush Swallowtail. Some species of butterflies are even specialist to certain types of phlox.
At Natchez Glen House, we've found that Phlox paniculata 'Jeana' is a standout for attracting butterflies. This cultivar may take a little longer to establish than other paniculata cultivars, but it is well worth the wait. The amount of butterflies that flock to 'Jeana' is truly stunning and a testament to the powerful attraction that phlox can have on pollinators.
Phlox is not only a beautiful addition to any garden, but it also serves an important ecological purpose as a magnet for butterflies and other pollinators. With so many different species and cultivars to choose from, there is a phlox variety for every garden and every butterfly. So, the next time you're planning your garden, consider adding some phlox to help support these important insect populations.