Florida has plants of all sizes that will attract butterflies to the garden. Plant tall trees, short shrubs, shorter perennials and climbing vines to create a multidimensional butterfly garden with flowers that will attract them for the nectar and their own special moving splash of color.
White Butterfly Ginger Lily
White butterfly ginger lily (Hedychium coronarium) is also known as the ginger lily and garland flower. The plant is a perennial that grow from 3 to 7 feet tall and produces leaves that are lance-shaped, 8 to 24 inches long and 2 to 5 inches wide. The fragrant, white flowers look like butterflies and grow in clusters that grow from 6 to 12 inches long from midsummer through autumn. The flowers are followed by seed pods full of bright red seeds. Plant white butterfly ginger lily in full sun or shade and in moist soil. The plant will do well in wet areas around ponds and is hardy in all of Florida, including the Florida Keys.
Trailing lantana (Lantana montevidensis) is also known as weeping lantana. The plant is a shrub that grows from 18 to 24 inches tall with stems that can grow 5 feet or longer. The shrub produces dark green evergreen leaves about 1 inch long. The small lilac flowers bloom continuously all year long in the warmer areas. Plant trailing lantana in full sun or shade, but full sun will result in more flowers. The soil should be light and moist. The shrub is hardy in all of Florida with the exception of the Florida Keys.
Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) is a deciduous tree that grows from 20 to 80 feet tall. The tree produces leaves that can be any one of a variety of shapes, even on the same tree, and turn yellow, orange and red in the fall. The small gray-yellow flowers appear early in the spring, even before the leaves, and give way to small, dark blue fruits. Plant the tree in full sun or partial shade and in a dry, sandy soil.
Butterflies will come for the flowers and birds will make a meal out of the fruit.
Mexican Flame Vine
Mexican flame vine (Pseudogynoxys chenopodioides) is a tropical vine that is a member of the aster and daisy family with thick evergreen, arrowhead-shaped leaves that grows up to 10 feet long and bright orange flowers that are 1 inch in diameter and grow in small clusters. The blooms start out as bright orange and change to dark, almost red, orange as they age. Seeds that resemble those of a dandelion appear when the flowers are done. Plant Mexican flame vine in full sun or light shade in any type of soil. The plant is hardy in Central and South Florida.