Butterfly Garden

Butterfly Garden

The Destin Library Butterfly Garden is maintained by Velda Dougherty, an Okaloosa county Master gardener and Destin resident. This garden is located on the southeastern side of the building outside of the periodical reading area. From the parking lot, head to the right side of the building and follow the path of round pavers.

Species Glossary


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Ajuga, ‘Catlin’s Giant’; Ajuga reptans 

  • Zones: 3-9
  • Light: Partial shade to full sun
  • Size: 3-6”H-12-24”W
  • Flowers: Showy blue/purple spikes in spring to early fall. Bronze-green foliage.
  • Uses: Great ground cover. Flowers attractive to butterflies. Deer resistant. Beautiful planted in masses, will provide a blanket of blue flowers in spring. Good drainage soil is essential to avoid crown rot. Originally from Europe.
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Alcea hybrid, Vietnamese Hollyhock

  • Zones: 10-12, annual
  • Light: Full sun
  • Size:  3-4’in height
  • Plant: 18-24” apart
  • Water: Drought tolerant once established
  • Flowers: Rose cherry pink.  Blooms spring-fall.
  • Uses: Good background plant in mixed borders. Host plant for Painted lady butterfly and their larvae (black wooly caterpillar with tan markings). Nectar source for Zebra Swallowtail.
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Alocasia, Elephant Ear; Alocasis macrorrhizos 

  • Zones: 10-11, dies to ground in winter 8b but comes back in the spring
  • Size: Varies to type. 2’-10’H
  • Light: Sun to shade depending on variety
  • Soil: Well-drained potting mix or crumbly loamy soil. Prefers moist soil. Fertilize with liquid fertilizer in growing season.
  • Propagate: Cut off clump or rhizome division.
  • Leaves: Large heart shaped leaves.
  • Uses: Focal plant, textural interest.
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Angelonia, Archangel Dark Purple, Summer Dragon; Angelonia augustifolia

  • Zones: Hardy to 40
  • Light: Prefers full sun
  • Size: 12-14”H-10-12”W
  • Water: Low, once established
  • Flowers: Large. Vibrant purple flowers. Blooms spring, summer and fall.
  • Uses: Attracts butterflies.
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Asiatic Lilies; Lilium spp. (Asiatic types)

  • Zones: 3-8
  • Light: Full sun to partial sun. At least 6 hours of sunlight daily.
  • Size: 18”-4’ in height
  • Soil: Well drained, organic material added
  • Flowers: Trumpet shaped flowers in white, pink, orange, yellow and gold. Bloom in May to late summer.
  • Uses: Attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.
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Athena Sun Euryops; Euryops ‘Athena Sun’

  • Zones: 9
  • Light: Full sun
  • Size: 15-18” in height and 15-18”in width
  • Fertilization: Monthly
  • Flowers: Small yellow daisy-like flowers. Blooms spring, summer, and fall.
  • Uses: Attracts butterflies.

Basil; Ocimum basilicum

  • Zones: Annual 2-11, Perennial zone 10
  • Light: Full sun
  • Size: 12-24” in height
  • Plant: 18-24 “ apart
  • Uses: Herb, medicinal. Attracts butterflies. Host plant for larvae.
Photo Coming Soon

Bergamont, Bee Balm; Monarda didyma

  • Zones: 4-8, Perennial
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Size: 2-4’ in height and 9-12” in width
  • Water: Prefers moist soil
  • Flowers: Beautiful blooms of red, pink, purple or white. Very fragrant flowers. Cut back to 2 inches in fall. Deadhead spent blooms to encourage rebloom in late summer. Divide every 2-3 years.
  • Diseases: Powdery mildew can occur on foliage in hot, humid conditions. Reduce watering and make sure to space 18-24 inches apart so plant has good air flow.
  • Uses: medicinal herb used by American Indians, for digestive uses. Leaves can be used for tea or as insect repellant. Attracts butterflies, birds, hummingbirds, and bees.
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Black-Eyed Susan; Rudbeckia herta

  • Zones: 3-9
  • Light: Prefers full sun, but can tolerate partial shae
  • Size: 12-14” in height
  • Flowers: Orange, red and yellow flowers that bloom summer to fall.
  • Uses: Nectar source that will lead a parade of butterflies and hummingbirds to your landscape. Very drought tolerant!
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 Blue Daze Evolvulus; Evolvulus mutallianus ‘Blue Daze’

  • Zones: All zones; not hardy as perennial lower than 32 degrees
  • Light: Full sun
  • Size: 8-10” in height and 18-24” in width
  • Water: Water twice per week
  • Flowers: Delicate, small ocean-blue flowers that bloom summer-fall. Attracts
  • Uses: Butterflies and hummingbirds. Great ground cover.
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Bottlebrush; Callistemon spp.

  • Zones: 8b-11
  • Light: Full sun to part sun
  • Size: 6-30’ in height and 6-15’ in width
  • Flowers: Red brush shaped flowers spring through summer.
  • Uses: Attracts butterflies, birds, and beneficial insects. Medium to low wind resistance.
Photo Coming Soon

Cannas; Canna indica

  • Zones: 8-11
  • Light: Full sun
  • Size: 2-6 ’in height can spread rapidly as they grow from rhizomes
  • Fertilization: Start spring and fertilize monthly, stop 6 weeks before first frost
  • Flowers: Many colors available! Yellow, Apricot, Orange, Red, Coral, etc.
  • Uses: Attract Monarchs, Swallowtails. Only Host plant for Brown Skipper Butterfly larvae (yellow green with brown or red head)
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Cherry Sparks Beard Tongue; Penstemon ‘Cherry Sparks’

  • Zones: 5-9
  • Light: Full sun
  • Size: 18-20” in height and 14-16”in width
  • Water: Keep moist first year, water once a week after the first year
  • Fertilization: spring and summer
  • Flowers: Luscious cherry red bells with white throat flowers. Bloom spring and summer.
  • Uses: Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Resistant to deer.
Photo Coming Soon

Chrysanthemum; Chrysanthemum morifolium

  • Zones: 3-9
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Size: 4-36” in height and 12-36”in width
  • Flowers: Pom-pom shaped flowers in white, lavender, pink, yellow and bronze. Great cut flower.
  • Uses: Great nectar source for butterflies and hummingbirds and one of the last flowers to keep blooming in the fall.
Photo Coming Soon

Crinum Lilies; Crinum asiaticum (poison bulb, spider lily)

  • Zones: 9-11
  • Light: Full sun to filtered light
  • Size: 3-5’Hx2-3’W, plant 4-6 feet apart
  • Soil: Well drained
  • Flowers: White (Alba), Pink (Milk and Wine). Showy fragrant flowers. Blooms July-October.
  • Uses: Grown in southern Plantation gardens. Moisture and humidity loving. Loved by hummingbirds and butterflies! Deer resistant.
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Curled Parsley; Petroselinum crispum

  • Zones: 4-9, annual
  • Light: Part shade 3-6 hours
  • Size: 12” in height and -12” in width
  • Uses: Herb, medicinal. Host plant for Black Swallowtail butterflies.
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Fernleaf Dill; Anethum graveolens

  • Zones: 3-10
  • Light: Full sun
  • Size: 18-24” in height and 12-15” in width
  • Flowers: Yellow/green. Bloom in spring and fall.
  • Uses: Attracts butterflies, specifically the Anise swallowtail butterfly (Papilio zelicaon). Host plant for larvae.

Firebush, Scarletbush; Hamelia patens

  • Zones: 9-11
  • Light: Prefers Shade but tolerates partial shade to sun
  • Size: 5-20’ in height and 5-8’ in width
  • Flowers: Orange/red, spiky delicate year-round flowers. Foliage
  • usually more attractive in shade but flowers best in sun.
  • Uses: Attracts butterflies (Zebra Longwing and Fritillary), birds and
  • hummingbirds.
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Firecracker; Russelia equisetiformis

  • Zones: Best in Zone 10 but can grow in 9b or 8b.
  • Light: Full to part sun
  • Size: 3’ in height and 3-5’ in width
  • Flower-spikes of tiny red, white, or pale-yellow flowers. Grow in a waterfall shape.
  • Uses: Attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
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Florida Native Wild Petunia; Ruellia caroliniensis

  • Zones: Perennial in Zone 8b
  • Light: Full sun or shade
  • Water: Very drought tolerant
  • Flowers: Small pink flowers, flowers spring through fall
  • Uses: Larvae host for Buckeye and Malachite butterflies.
Photo Coming Soon

Gillardia; Gillardia pulchbella(Blanket flower)

  • Zones: 7a
  • Light: Full sun
  • Size: 1-2’ in height
  • Soil: Sandy
  • Water: Drought tolerant
  • Flowers: Yellow, orange red combination, daisy like shape. Blooms till first frost. Easy to plant seeds in fall to late winter,
  • Uses: Attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees.
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Hummingbird Bush; Hamelia patens

  • Zones: 9
  • Light: Full sun
  • Size: 3’ in height and 3’ in width
  • Water: Keep moist first year
  • Fertilize: Spring and summer
  • Uses: Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies
Photo Coming Soon

Ironweed; Vernonia gigantica

  • Zones: Perennial in Zone 8b, dies back in winter and returns in late spring.
  • Light: Full sun
  • Size: 5-6’ in height
  • Flowers: Showy violet purple tassel like flowers.
  • Soil: Average, sandy.
  • Uses: Very attractive to butterflies.
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Lantana (sterile); Lantana camara

  • Zones: All zones
  • Light: Full sun
  • Size: 12-24" in height and 12-24” in width
  • Water: Keep moist first hear, weekly after that
  • Fertilization: Monthly
  • Uses:  Attracts butterflies; Monarchs, Hairstreak, Painted ladies, Swallowtails, Checkered Whites, Cloudless Sulfur, Red-Spotted Purples, Red Admirals.

Lavender; Lanvandula

  • Zones: 5-9
  • Light: Full sun
  • Size: 12-18” in height and 12-18” in width
  • Flowers: Lavender-blue blooms on spikes
  • Uses: Herb/Medicinal. Attracts butterflies, Horaces Dustywing and Western Tiger Swallowtail and more.
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Leavenworth’s Tickseed; Coreopsis leavenworthii (Florida’s state flower)

  • Zones: Annual, short lived native perennial
  • Light: Full sun.
  • Size: 1-2’ in height
  • Water: Likes moist soil
  • Flowers: Daisy like yellow flowers in late summer. Light airy foliage
  • Uses: Attractive to butterflies.

Mesa Peach Blanket Flower; Gaillardia arristata ‘mesa peach’

  • Zones: 3-11
  • Light: Full sun
  • Size: 16-18” in height and 20-22” in width
  • Water: Keep moist first year
  • Fertilization: Monthly
  • Uses:  Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. Resistant to deer, and rabbits.
Photo Coming Soon

Mexican Bush Sage; Salvia leucantha

  • Zones: 8-11
  • Light: Full sun
  • Size: 3‘ in height and 3’ in width
  • Water: Keep moist first year
  • Flowers: Purple feather like spikes, aromatic foliage. Beautiful silvery foliage. Summer and fall flowers.
  • Uses: Attracts Swallowtail and other butterflies and hummingbirds.
Photo Coming Soon

Mexican Flame Vine; Pseudogynoxys chenopodioides

  • Zones: 8b-9
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Size: Vine that can grow to 20 feet
  • Soil: Needs well-drained soil
  • Water: Water well to establish. Drought tolerant once established
  • Flowers: Orange daisy like flowers in spring and summer.
  • Uses: Adds interest and color to fences or trellis. Monarchs love it. No serious pest issues.
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Mexican Heather; Cuphea hyssopifolia

  • Zones: 9-11
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Size: 1-2’ in height and 2.5’ in width
  • Propagation: Through seeds, cuttings of division
  • Flowers: Lavender to purple trumpet shaped flowers. Use organic fertilizer during growing season in spring through fall.
  • Uses: Butterfly nectar source. Can tolerate drought conditions once established.
Photo Coming Soon

Obedient Plant; Physostegia virginiana (False Dragonhead)

  • Zones: 3-10
  • Light: Full sun-partial shade
  • Size: 18-36” in height
  • Soil-Prefers moist soil
  • Flowers:  Trumpet shaped white, pink, or purple flowers in late fall.
  • Uses: Attracts hummingbirds and bees. Resistant to deer.
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Peggy Martin Antique Rose, Rosa ‘Peggy Martin’

  • Zones: 4-9
  • Light: Full sun
  • Size: Climbing rose (semi thornless)
  • Flowers: Delicate, small pink fragrant blossoms.
  • Uses: Attractive to butterflies and bees. This rose survived being under hurricane salt water for 2 weeks. It is pest-free and would make a great addition to your garden!
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PowWow Wild Berry Coneflower; Echinacea purpurea

  • Zones: 4-9
  • Light: Full sun to light shade
  • Size: 15-18” in height and 12-18” in width
  • Water: Low once established
  • Flowers: Rose-purple flowers that are long lasting. Bloom summer-fall.
  • Uses:  Ideal for sunny borders, mixed container. Useful for cutting garden. Attracts butterflies, (Painted ladies, Swallowtails; Gulf Fritillaria, Monarchs), birds and hummingbirds. Resistant to deer, drought, heat, humidity and is poor soil tolerant.
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Purple Passionflower; Passiflora incarnata

  • Zones: 6-11
  • Light: Bright to moderate light, not direct
  • Size: Herbaceous vine can grow 25 feet long
  • Flowers: Purple and white blooms June-October. Maypop fruit develops 2-3 months after it blooms. Invasive so prune in early spring. Consider planting in containers.
  • Uses: Host larvae (gold with black spikes caterpillar) plant for the Gulf and Variegated Fritillary. Nectar source for Gulf and Variegated Fritillary, Julia and Zebra (Heliconia) butterflies.

Rattlesnake Master; Erynium yuccifolium

  • Zones: Perennial Zone 8b
  • Light: Full sun
  • Size: 4-5’ in height and 2-3’ in width
  • Soil: Dry, sandy soil.
  • Water: Drought tolerant
  • Uses: Host plant for Black Swallowtails
Photo Coming Soon

Rose Milkweed; Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed)

  • Zones: Perennial 8b, dies back in winter, returns in spring
  • Light: Full sun to light shade
  • Size: 2-4’ in height
  • Water: Needs consistently wet soil. Do Not let it dry out.
  • Flowers: Rose/pink clusters, blooms spring-fall
  • Uses:  Monarch host plant. Attractive to other butterflies and bees.
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Rosemary; Salvia Rosmarinus

  • Zones: 8-11
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Size: 2-6’ in height and 2-5’ in width
  • Soil: Chalk, clay, sand, and loam
  • Flowers: Blue-purple flowers
  • Uses: Attracts honeybees, mason bees, bumblebees, and flower bees. Host plant for butterfly larvae.
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Saw Palmetto; Serenoa repens

  • Zones: 8-10
  • Light: Full fun to shade
  • Size: 5-10’ in height and 4-10’ in width
  • Flowers: small whitish-yellow flowers on 3-foot spikes in spring attract bees. In fall it has yellow berries that the birds and mammals love.
  • Uses: Host plant for monk and palmetto skipper butterfly larvae. Extract from the yellow berries are considered by some to be an alternative treatment for prostate cancer. Be careful where you plant this plant as they are hard to remove.
Photo Coming Soon

Seaside Goldenrod; Solidago sempervirens

  • Zones: 3-9
  • Light: Full sun
  • Size: 2-8’ in height
  • Plant: 12-18” apart
  • Soil: Prefers moist, wet soil
  • Flowers:  clusters of deep yellow flowers, leaves are somewhat succulent. Blooms August-October
  • Uses: Special value to native and honeybees. Attractive to butterflies, birds, and bees.
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Shoal Creek Chaste Tree; Vitex agnus-castus ‘Shoal Creek’

  • Zones: 7b-11
  • Light: Full sun
  • Size: 15’ in height and 15’ in width
  • Water: Keep moist first year, water twice per week in the years following
  • Fertilization: Annually
  • Flowers: Purple spikes. Blooms summer, spring, and fall. Sage scented foliage.
  • Uses: Attracts butterflies, birds, and hummingbirds.
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Silky Gold Milkweed; Ascelpias curassavica ‘Silky Gold’

  • Zones: 9-11
  • Light: Full sun
  • Size: 36” in height and 18” in width
  • Fertilization: Every 6-8 weeks
  • Flowers: Orange/red clusters of small flowers. Blooms summer/fall.
  • Uses:  Attracts Monarch and Queen butterflies. Food source for the Monarch larvae, which are white, green, and black with black horns.
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Sunflower; Helianthus

  • Zones: All, annual (non-hardy below 32 degrees)
  • Light: Full sun
  • Size: 36-48” in height and 16-24” in width
  • Fertilization: Summer
  • Flowers: Large brown disks surrounded by yellow petals. Bloom in summer.
  • Uses: Good for Painted Lady butterflies to lay their eggs on due to large flat flowers.
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Sunshine Mimosa, Powder Puff; Mimosa strigilosa

  • Zones: Perennial
  • Light: sun to partial shade
  • Size: Ground cover
  • Flowers: Small pink, blooms non-stop from spring to fall. Spreads quickly.
  • Water: Water to establish and then very drought tolerant
  • Uses:  Attract butterflies. Very effective for erosion control.
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Texas Star Hibiscus; Hibiscus coccineus

  • Zones: 8-11, vigorous perennial. Dies to ground in winter but returns in spring
  • Light: Full sun
  • Size: 4-6’ in height and 3-4’ in width
  • Flowers: Showy red or white star shaped flowers. Blooms spring through fall.
  • Uses: Good plant for back of landscape beds. Good focal plant. Attracts a parade of butterflies and hummingbirds to landscape.

Verbena; Verbena officinalis

  • Zones: 7-11
  • Light: Full sun
  • Size: 1’ in height and 2-5’ in width
  • Flowers: Clusters of blue/purple flowers that blooms spring and summer.
  • Uses: Attracts butterflies. Good for sunny borders.
Photo Coming Soon

Wild Black Cherry; Prunus serotine

  • Zones: 3-9
  • Light: Full sun to part shade
  • Size: 60-90’ in height
  • Water: Very drought tolerant once established
  • Flowers: Fragrant flowers. Fall leaves yellow and orange.
  • Uses: Butterflies, birds and wildlife devour this plant! Larvae host plant for Eastern Swallowtail, Red-spotted Purple and Coral hairstreak butterflies. Leaves can be poisonous to livestock if eaten in large amounts.
Photo Coming Soon

Wooly Paw-Paw; Asimina incana

  • Zones: 5-9
  • Light: full sun to heavy shade
  • Size: 2-5’ in height
  • Flowers: Outer white petals and inner cream-colored petals. Three inch oblong yellow green berries.
  • Uses: Host plant for the Zebra Swallowtail butterfly larvae (blue green with yellow stripes)
Photo Coming Soon

Zinnia; Zinnia elegans

  • Zones: 2-11, Native to North America and some of Central America
  • Light: Full sun
  • Size: 6-14” in height
  • Soil: Drought tolerant
  • Flowers: many colors. Low maintenance and heat tolerant.
  • Uses: Attractive to butterflies and bees.


Gulf Fritillary Butterfly

Gulf Fritillary; Agraulis vanillae

  • Family: Nymphalidae
  • Food plant: Passionflower Vine

Image Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Agraulis_vanillae_1.jpg

Monarch Butterfly

Monarch; Danaus plexippus

  • Family: Nymphalidae
  • Food plant: Milkweed

Image Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Danaus_plexippus_(7).jpg

Common Buckeye Butterfly

Common Buckeye; Junonia coenia

  • Family: Nymphalidae
  • Food plant: Frogfruit, Snapdragon

Image Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Junonia_coenia_1.jpg

Red-Spotted Purple butterfly

Red-Spotted Purple; Limenitis arthemis

  • Family: Nymphalidae
  • Food plant: Wild Cherry Tree

Image Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Limenitis_arthemis_astyanax_P1190710a.jpg 

Atala Butterfly

Atala; Eumaeus atala

  • Family: Lycaenidae
  • Food plant: Coontie

Image Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eumaeus_atala_florida.jpg

Great Purple Hairstreak Butterfly

Great Purple Hairstreak; Altides halesus

  • Family: Lycaenidae
  • Food plant: Mistletoe

Image Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Great_Purple_Hairstreak_(Atlides_halesus),_ventral.jpg

Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly

Pipevine Swallowtail; Battus philenor

  • Family: Papilionidae
  • Food plant: Pipevines

Image Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pipevine_Swallowtail_(Battus_philenor).jpg

Zebra Swallowtail

Zebra Swallowtail; Eurytides marcellus

  • Family: Papilionidae
  • Food plant:Paw paw tree

Image Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Zebra_Swallowtail_-_Eurytides_marcellus,_Mona%27s_house,_Herndon,_Virginia.jpg

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail; Papilio glaucus

  • Family: Papilionidae
  • Food plant: Sweet Bay, Wild Black Cherry, Tulip Tree

Image Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eastern_Tiger_Swallowtail_Papilio_glaucus_on_Asclepias_curassavica_%27Silky_Gold%27.jpg