Next spring, if you want to attract Monarch butterflies to your yard, plant some Liatris in addition to the well-known milkweed. Liatris ligulistylis grows in full sun in average to dry soil with good drainage. It does not need fertilizer and should not be planted anywhere where it has wet feet in winter or it will rot.
It is native to central Canada and from Wyoming south to New Mexico and west to Michigan, and it grows well in the Midwest where it tolerates the hot, dry summers. It reaches about three feet tall and produces purple flowers in late summer.
This reliable perennial is a magnet for bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies, including our beautiful Monarchs.
The flowers open along their tall stems, and the vertical color looks attractive in mass plantings with other meadow plants and in beds and borders. Clumps can be about one-and-a-half feet wide and can be used as focal points in plantings made up of lower-growing specimens.
Liatris also provides welcome color in late summer/early fall when the summer-blooming perennials are looking exhausted. And, of course, they attract lots of those lovely Monarch butterflies into our gardens.