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Butterfly Gardening and Habitat Program

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Boneset - Eupatorium perfoliatum

While not as large as some of the Eupatoriums suggested for butterfly gardens, boneset is still a formidable plant. Once well established, boneset can resemble a small shrub by late summer covered with white flowers, butterflies and other pollinators.

Compared to the taller Eupatoriums, boneset has flowers that are easily observable (as opposed to six feet in the air as with hollow stem Joe Pye weed to which it is closely related).

Importance as a caterpillar food source: Boneset is not used as a caterpillar host plant.

Importance as a butterfly nectar source: From late summer to early fall, boneset is a source of nectar for a variety of butterflies.

The current rating for boneset is:


Garden Rating
Nectar Rating
Caterpillar Rating

If you have experience growing boneset, we would like your opinion. Let us know how it performed in your butterfly garden. Your comments will help other butterfly gardeners in your region to create better butterfly gardens:


Boneset Cultural Requirements
USDA Hardiness Zone
3 to 8
Bloom Period
July to September
Bloom Color
Plant Height
4 to 6 feet
Plant Spread
3 to 4 feet
Light Exposure
Sun to light shade
Soil Moisture
Medium moisture to wet
Animal/Disease Problems





Native range for Boneset (E. perfoliatum)




©2008 North American Butterfly Association