Butterflies in Mind -- Zinnia
Susan C. Dunlap
A collection of 50 images as if seen from a butterfly’s point of view. Includes the names of native Zinnia species and the most complete list of US butterflies that will feed on Zinnia blossoms.
Butterflies in Mind -- Asclepias
Susan C. Dunlap
“Milkweed is the single most important plant for Monarch butterflies. This lavishly illustrated book contains details about the structure and cultivation of native Milkweeds, information about the 139 nectar-feeding butterflies they...
Butterflies in Mind -- Monarch
Susan C. Dunlap
This abundantly illustrated volume enables you to select from a complete list of well described perennial nectar plants that are known to attract & feed Monarch butterflies. Over 40 genera are described that are suitable to be grown...
Butterflies in Mind -- Perennials
Susan C. Dunlap
Butterflies in Mind - Perennials. This book is a definitive guide to perennial nectar plants preferred by US butterflies. It empowers you to feed, attract, support (and help identify) nectar-feeding butterflies that reside in the US....

Gaillardia pulchella
(sold as Plume Series)

Family: Compositae


Native to: Eastern United States, Mexico, South Central United States


Types: annual, perennial

Forms: clumping, erect

Max height: 1 foot

Max width: 1.5 feet


red, secondary color present, yellow




Attracts wildlife: adult butterfly, bee, bird, specific butterfly species

Bird species attracted to plant: chickadee, northern cardinal, nuthatch, titmice

Plant part consumed by birds: seeds

Exposure: light shade, sun

Landscape use: container

Propagates by: seed

flowers in fall

flowers in summer

Soil type: well drained

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

Temp. range: 0 to +30 °F

Water: dry, moderate

Gaillardia, a member of the Compositae family, is called BLANKET FLOWER. There are 26 species, of which Gaillardia aestivalis, aristata, pinnatifida, and x grandiflora are perennials in cultivation. They can be grown in moderate to dry watering conditions.

Gaillardia pulchella, an annual or short-lived perennial, is cultivated. It is native to the Eastern United States, Mexico, South Central United States. BLANKET FLOWER (aka INDIAN BLANKET or FIREWHEEL) can be grown in Zones 7-9, flowers in summer and fall, and grows from seed to nearly 1 foot high to 1 1/2 feet wide. The blossoms are a dark orange with yellow tips on the petals. Overall it is daisy form. The Plume Series offers this plant in solitary colors of yellow or a dark reddish orange. Grow it in sun or light shade.

There are numerous varieties of Gaillardia in cultivation sold by the names Arizona Sun, Fanfare, Burgundy, and Oranges and Lemons. Vendors most often delete the name of the parent plant, others point to the parent plant as either G. aristata, G. grandiflora, or G. pinnatifida.

In any case, this is a charming species that produces abundant flowers over a long growing season and is attractive to birds, bees, and butterflies. Honey bees in particular love this plant. Gaillardia can be grown in containers - you can easily compose a large container using it to fill out the bottom when paired with a taller plant.

In addition to the butterflies that nectar on plants in the Compositae family, Gaillardia appeals to these butterflies:
Agraulis vanillae, Gulf Fritillary
Colias alexandra, Queen Alexandra's sulphur
Pontia protodice, Checkered White
Speyeria hesperis, Northwestern Fritillary

Container plants that attract adult butterflies - perennial

This plant can be grown in a container and will attract and feed adult butterflies. These plant can be found in every height range – from tiny to large – from less than a foot high to over 10 feet tall.

Our database of nectar plants for all US butterflies contains over 10,000 entries. The top five nectar plants -- Cirsium, Lantana, Asclepias, Salvia, and Verbena -- will appeal to 90% of all US butterflies. Pick from these if you want to provide nectar for your local butterflies.

Once you start with these, you can add from another 630 genera in 110 plant families to attract more insects to your garden.

By far the most import butterfly nectar plant family is Asteraceae. If you grow plants in from this family, butterflies will find your garden.