Butterflies love nectar. Flowers produce nectar. Succulents make flowers. Ergo, butterflies love succulents. Yes!



By:  Deb Pavlosky


Succulents are often forgotten about when gardeners are planting to attract butterflies.  But, as we become more and more water conscious, succulents are becoming more a part of our every day landscapes.  Yes, we live in a humid environment, but many succulents don’t mind the humidity as long as they have well draining soil to grow in.  Are your planting beds raised or are you gardening in containers?  If the answer to that question is yes, then it’s not hard to make a proper home for succulents.   All you have to do is add some rock, expanded shale or sand to your planting mix.  That’s really all you need to do to make your soil succulent ready.


What kinds of succulents flower?  Well, almost all of them – as long as they get the proper amount of light, fertilizer (not much, really) and temperature conditions.  Some succulents are not cold hardy, but that’s true for tropicals and other landscape plants too.  Yes, some may need some protection in the winter, but gosh the reward is so worth having them.  And many flowering succulents produce a lot of nectar compared to other flowering plants.  More nectar = more and happier butterflies= more fun for you!


So, what are you waiting for?  Go ahead and add some succulents to your butterfly garden plans.  You won’t be disappointed and you can brag about being more “water-wise” too.


Here are a few of my favorite blooming succulents (in no particular order) to grow in this area:


Bulbine – Zones 8-11.  Part to Full Sun.  Grows in clumps 1-2 ft. tall and spreads to 3’-4’ wide by rhizomes.  Blooms spring through late summer (orange or yellow flowers).


Brakelights Yucca – Zones 5-10.  Full Sun.  Grows to 2’-3’ tall and wide.  Blooms in the spring (red).


Yellow Yucca – Zones5-11.  Full Sun.  Grows 2’-3’ tall and wide with flower stalks as tall as 6’.  Blooms early spring through Fall


Red Yucca – Zones 5-11.  Full Sun.  Grows 3’-4’ tall and wide with flower stalks as talls as 6’.  Blooms early summer with continuous rebloom (red).


Lemon Coral Sedum – Zones 7-11.  Part to Full Sun.  Grows 3”-10” tall and spreads to 16”-24” tall.  Blooms in summer (yellow).


Dragon’s Blood Stonecrop – Zones 3-9.  Part to Full Sun.  Grows 4”-6” tall and 2’ wide.  Blooms late summer (deep red).  Red margined leaves become more red with cooler temperatures.


Autumn Joy Stonecrop – Zones 4-11.  Part to Full Sun.  Grows 18” to 24” tall and wide.  Blooms late summer to fall (rosy red).


Purple Emperor Stonecrop – Zones 4-9.  Full Sun.  Grows to 15” tall and 1’ -2’ wide.  Blooms in the summer (salmon pink).  Leaves are deep purple, almost black.


Lipstick Echeveria – Zones 9-11.  Part to Full Sun.  Grows 6” tall and 6”-12” wide.  Blooms spring through summer (red).  Bright green leaves are edged in red/pink.


Black Prince Echeveria – Zones 9-11.  Part to Full Sun.  Grows 4”-10” tall and wide.  Blooms fall and winter (red).  Leaves are dark, nearly black.


Sempervivum Cobweb – Zones 3-10.  Part to Full Sun.  Grows to 4” tall and12” wide.  Blooms late summer to early fall (magenta).


Kiwi Aeonium – Zones 9-11.  Part to Full Sun.  Grows 2’-3’ tall and wide.  Blooms in late spring to summer (yellow).  Very colorful leaves year round.


Other great flowering succulents you should definitely consider – Prickly Pear Cactus, Barrel Cactus, (really almost all cacti make beautiful blooms), Portulaca, Hoya, Aloe, Crown of Thorns and Kalanchoe.  There are so many different varieties of these to choose from.  Really.  The list is endless.


And, if you haven’t seen our Orchid Cacti  (Epiphyllum) here at the nursery, you definitely need to stop by soon to see them blooming.  Amazing!cactus orchid 2cactus orchid