School Plants

Here is a list of butterfly plants I am adding to some of my school gardens.

Milkweed for Monarchs

  • Swamp milkweed – Ascelpias incarnata – note – it’s probably best to plant seeds in the fall. Mark their location. Prefers wet location
  • Butterfly Weed – Asclepias tuberosa – plant seeds in place in the fall. Mark their location. Prefers dry location
  • Tropical milkweed – this will bloom all summer long. Prefers sunshine

Host Plants

  • Bronze Fennel – perennial for Black Swallowtail (BST)
  • Golden Alexander – perennial for Black Swallowtail (BST) – looks great in May.
  • Dill/Parsley – perennial for Black Swallowtail (BST)
  • Kale – host for Cabbage White
  • Pussytoes – host for Painted Ladies


  • Holly – french
  • Purple Globe amaranth – covers a large area.
  • Lantana – large type to cover a big area – needs lots of sun.
  • Verbena bonareinsis – blooms all summer and may reseed. Tall.
  • Zinnia angustifolia – you can also just plant the seeds as they germinate in four days.
  • Zinnia seeds – tall plant early July. Forecast from Burpee is mildew free.


  • Allium – large – blooms in May
  • Allium millenium – blooms June, July,
  • Aster – aromatic – fall bloomer.
  • Bee Balm
  • Black Eyed Susan – Rudbeckia fulgida fulgida….this is the one I like.
  • Bronze Fennel
  • Calamint – this is not invasive and blooms most of the summer. Montrose White is a great bloomer.
  • Coreopsis lanceolata and/or Plains.
  • Downy Skullcap (Scutellaria incana)
  • Echinacea purpurea
  • Gaillardia – l
  • Robins plantain – Erigeron – blooms early and spreads.
  • Lavender – needs sun and drainage.
  • Liatris – rough ….for later blooms
  • Maltese Cross
  • Nepeta – Walkers Low – cut back in mid-summer
  • Packera obovata – Roundleaf Groundsel – early blooms
  • Penstemon
  • Phlox paniculata – Garden Phlox
  • Phlox divaricata – Wild Sweet William – low grower – blooms in spring.
  • Veronica – blooms twice if cut back.
  • Salvia – purple – plains – cut back to get second bloom.
  • Red Salvia – reseeds inself
  • Rudbeckia – blooms for an extended period.
  • Sedum – blooms in the fall, but may get large and floppy
  • Shasta Daisy – Becky
  • Veronica
  • Wild Sweet William – early bloomer

Also Bring:

  • Soil to fill-in.
  • Fertilizer – organic – spread on after planting.
  • Spades for kids.
  • Gloves
  • Stand tools in cart


  1. Make sure the water is on.
  2. Since most schools are closed in the summer, most of the plantings are mainly for spring and fall blooms.
  3. Encourage the sponsor to find a summer helper to weed and water during the summer.
  4. Use small containers so kids only have to dig small holes.

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