Hunter suggests not seeding it heavily. Bloom time is approximately July
Summer Phlox or Pink Phlox. "Phlox is a complicated group." Hunter says this
phlox can be Thrown out in the grass and it will grow. "There are a lot of
shades to this."
Butterfly Weed. The Butterfly Weed is of the Milkweed Family. This species is
important for monarchs. Hunter suggests buying it in a pot from a nursery
because "they have a huge tap root that's hard to dig up in the wild." But, he
adds, "it's said to thrive on neglect." The flowering period is May through
Cardinal Flower or Lobelia. The Lobelia Cardinalis is a member of the Bellflower
Family. "A lobelia, tame or wild, has three petals down and two petals up." Its
bloom time is about July through October.
New England Aster. Of the Aster Family, the Aster novae-angliae flowers from
about August through October. While Hunter chooses this specific variety, he
says "many asters attract butterflies." The New England Aster is the tallest of
the Ozark asters.
Black-Eyed Susan. The botanical name for the plant is Rudbeckia hirta and it is
of the Aster Family. Its bloom time is about May through October. "They move all
around and don't stay where they're planted," he explains. But, Hunter says
there is a new species called Goldstrum that has some orange color and will stay
Purple Coneflower. The Echinacea purpurea has been in cultivation for 50 years,
says Hunter. It is also of the Aster Family and flowers from about May through
Mountain Mint. Pycnanthemum tenuifoium's common name is Slender Mountain Mint.
Another species of mountain mint is Hairy Mountain Mint or Pycnanthemum pilosum.
Both occur in the same habitat. "The leaves look like they're frosted when in
bloom," says Hunter. "Not every butterfly likes it but a couple species do."
American Basket Flower. This flower is kin to the Bachelor button. It's an
easily grown annual that re-seeds itself.
Liatris. There are eight species of the genus Liatris that grow in the Ozarks.
They are of the Aster Family. Hunter particularly likes Liatris pycnostachya or
Gayfeather. Its long feathery plume won't wilt for weeks as a cut flower, he
says. Its bloom time is July through October, approximately.
Other butterfly-attracting wildflowers that Hunter likes include thistles,
Ironweed, Goldenrod, Narrow-leafed Sunflower, Joe-Pye Weed, Obedient Plant or
False Dragonhead, Queen Anne's Lace, and Nine Bark.
"You can mix all these things together," says Hunter.
He reminds gardeners that it is against the law to dig on any roadside, corps
lake or state and federal park. "So collect the seed instead. It's better
anyway," he adds.
Plant seeds of perennials in the fall by following the directions on the
package. Or if the seed has been collected, contact the local county extension
service office for planting information. Hunter says perennial plants can be set
out in the fall or in the spring. January is a good month to plant seeds in pots
indoors and April is a good month to transplant them to the outdoors, he adds.
For successful growing of plants, Hunter recommends applying fertilizer at a low
rate if plants become pale, yellowish or do not seem to grow well. Gardeners
should also pull or hoe grass and weeds. Hunter suggests using "Poast," "Ornamec
170" or "Hi-Yield Grass Killer" for grass control. Plants should also be watered
enough to keep soil moist so plants can grow and bloom well.
Hunter suggests buying from local growers because they can help fit individual
Hunter's popular field guides include Wildflowers of Arkansas, Trees, Shrubs,
and Vines of Arkansas, and Autumn Leaves and Berries. He was employed by the
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission for 25 years before retiring to this second