About the SFMGA

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Gardening for Hummingbirds and Butterflies!

by Joy Mandelbaum, Master Gardener and Audubon Project Leader

Flower nectar provides an important part of the diet for both hummingbirds and butterflies.

Think gaudy for hummingbirds — red, yellow, orange and hot pink long tubular flowers.

Plant in masses, stagger the blooming season, and keep bee-attractive plants separate from hummingbird-attracting. For the Santa Fe area, try:


  • Crabapple trees
  • Honey Locust trees
  • Redbud trees
  • Butterfly bushes
  • Lilac bushes
  • Trumpet vines
  • Wisteria vines
  • Agastache
  • Bleeding Hearts
  • Columbines
  • Daylilies
  • Heuchera
  • Kniphofias
  • Lobelia Cardinalis
  • Monarda
  • Cleome
  • Desert Four O'clocks
  • Impatiens
  • Mexican sage
  • Morning Glories
  • Pineapple Sage
  • Salvias
  • Scarlet Sage

Butterflies have somewhat indiscriminate lifestyles. They love a variety of food and nectar sources in a very sunny location—a mud puddle (the pool), some rocks on which to sun (the beach), overripe fruit (dinner) and some of Rover's dung (dessert). Top that off with open-faced flowers in blue-purple and yellow-orange shades. Pupal and larval stage butterflies need food provided by plant leaves and stems. Plants that attract New Mexico's skipper, monarchs, and fritillaries, include:

  • Butterfly bushes
  • Lilac bushes
  • Spirea bushes
  • Wisteria vine
  • Aster family
  • Blanketflower
  • Butterfly Weed
  • Coneflower
  • Cosmos
  • Daisy family
  • Goldenrod
  • Heliotrope
  • Marigolds
  • Mexican Sunflowers
  • Scabiosa
  • Sweet Alyssum
  • Verbena
  • Zinnias

Visit the Randall Davey Audubon Center Master Gardener Wildlife Demonstration Garden to see some of these plantings and enjoy the birds and butterflies!