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Erigeron formosissimus

Family: Asteraceae

Common name: FLEABANE

Native to: Rocky Mountains

Plant

Type: perennial

Forms: clumping, dense form, erect, mounding, spreading

Leaves evergreen

Max height: 0.75 feet

Max width: 2 feet

Flower

magenta/purple, secondary color present, white/off white

Leaf

green

Horticulture

Attracts wildlife: adult butterfly, specific butterfly species

Plant features: evergreen

Exposure: part shade, sun

Landscape use: container

Propagates by: seed

flowers in spring

flowers in summer

Soil type: loam

USDA Zones: zone 7 to 0 f, zone 8 to +10 f, zone 9 to +20 f

Temp. range: 0 to +30 °F

Water: moderate

  • Erigeron formosissimus

Erigeron, also known as FLEABANE, is a member of the Compositae (Aster) family. There are 522 species of FLEABANE. Four Erigeron are cultivated: Erigeron formosissimus, glaucus, karvinskianum, and speciosus. Most of these plants grow to one foot tall. Erigeron speciosus grows to 2¾ feet tall in favorable conditions.

Erigeron formosissimus, a native to the Rocky Mountains, grows to 3/4 foot tall, produces magenta and off-white blooms in spring and summer, and grow from seed in Zones 7-9. It prefers moderate to regular watering but can tolerate dry conditions too. It can be grown in a container in sun or part shade. It has a spreading behavior.

Other than the long list of butterflies attracted to plants in the Compositae family, Erigeron formosissimus is particularly attractive to Pyrgus communis, Common Checkered-Skipper. There is nothing common about this diminutive, exquisite butterfly.

Butterflies attracted to Compositae (Aster) family are:
Agraulis vanillae, Gulf Fritillary
Apodemia mormo, Mormon Metalmark
Callophrys nelsoni, Nelson's Hairstreak
Danaus plexippus, Monarch
Glaucopsyche lygdamus, Silvery Blue
Junonia coenia, Common Buckeye
Lerodea eufala, Eufala Skipper
Limenitis archippus, Viceroy
Lycaena phlaeas, American Copper
Neominois ridingsii, Ridings' Satyr
Neophasia menapia, Pine White
Parnassius behrii, Sierra Nevada Parnassian
Parnassius smintheus, Rocky Mountain Parnassian
Phyciodes phaon, Phaon Crescent
Plebejus icarioides, Boisduval's Blue
Poladryas minuta, Dotted Checkerspot
Pyrgus communis, Common Checkered-Skipper
Pyrisitia lisa, Little Yellow
Strymon istapa, Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak
Vanessa cardui, Painted Lady

Pyrgus communis 2
Container plants that attract adult butterflies - perennial

This plant is one of 186 perennials suitable to grow in a container that will attract adult butterflies. 38 of these plants attract birds and 67 attract specific butterfly species. They can be found in every height range – from tiny to large – from less than a foot high to over 10 feet tall. 19 of these plants are drought tolerant, more than 80 are available for dry or moderate watering conditions. 29 are deciduous, while 71 are evergreen. Some can grow in Zone 2, while the others grow in Zones 3-11. 178 perennial plants that attract butterflies and can be grown in containers in Zone 9. 77 can be used as cut flowers. They come in any one of the available flower colors.

We have found that, when given a choice, butterflies and bees frequent named species more often than cultivars. You may want to keep this in mind when you select plants for your garden if your goal is to attract and support these insects.

You are free to use any of the above filters to reduce the plant list further.