If there is one easy fall plant to place in a butterfly garden, it is a goldenrod. They are tough and will withstand some amount of dryness during the growing season, rewarding you with a fall bloom that attracts a variety of smaller butterflies. But be forewarned! They are a weed, therefore you must carefully select the species you add to your garden.
You may wish to choose a goldenrod that is generally considered well mannered, such as wreath goldenrod (S. caesia). On the other end of the spectrum, you may be a gambler and choose the thuggish Canada goldenrod (S. canadensis) which spreads rapidly not only by seed but by underground rhizomes.
In between the two extremes are a wealth of native goldenrods that may found. Many NABA members have noted that the hybrid varieties often found for sale do not seem to attract as many butterflies as the native goldenrods. Some gardeners report that hybrid goldenrods bloom weeks in advance of the native goldenrods.
If you have experience growing native goldenrods, 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: