Gregg’s Mistflower: Butterfly Magnet

Heather Ginsburg

Butterflies go gaga over Gregg’s mistflower — and it makes an attractive, unconventional groundcover. In addition, it’s a tough native Texan!

I am so excited to be featuring my all-time favorite plant this week! Gregg’s mistflower (Conoclinium greggii) is a butterfly magnet — and it makes an attractive, unconventional groundcover. In addition, it’s a tough native Texan! In the fall, Gregg’s mistflower attracts so many butterflies — especially Queen’s, as well as Monarchs — that if you walk up to the plant when they’re feeding, the butterflies soon begin fluttering all around you. It feels very dream-like. This plant is a must have in your children’s garden, therapeutic garden and a no-brainer if you’re planting a monarch way station. Gregg’s mistflower brings life to any garden, and instills a feeling of hope to those in its presence. It’s hard to explain — plant it, and when it’s in full fall flower and the butterflies are migrating, you’ll understand the enchantment I speak of. Gregg’s mistflower spreads and I encourage it to do so. Personally, I use it as a taller (1 ½- to 2-foot) groundcover. If you have a bare spot you want to fill with bright green foliage and beautiful lavender feathery flowers full of butterflies in the fall, Gregg’s mistflower is a great option for you.

Key Facts

  • Light requirement: Full sun to part shade
  • Water requirement: Dry to moist
  • Soil requirement: most all, very adaptable
  • Drought-tolerant: yes
  • Cold-tolerant: yes, will die to the ground after the first freeze and come back in the spring
  • Mature size: approximately 1 ½ to 2-feet tall, 6 feet wide
  • Spacing: 3 feet on center. If you are patient, one plant is all you need to cover a large area
  • Deer-resistant: sometimes yes, sometimes no 😉 Oh deer!
  • Wildlife: Butterflies and other pollinators
  • When to plant: Here in South Central Texas, I would plant Gregg’s mistflower in the spring after the last frost date (here in San Antonio, that’s usually the first week of March), or early fall.
  • Where to plant: For the most blooms and the healthiest plant, plant in full sun or part shade. It would love late-afternoon sun relief, but does do well in full-on sun. Gregg’s mistflower is a wonderful plant to include in your monarch waystation design and/or rain garden/monarch waystation design!
  • Design significance: If you have a large garden bed with taller specimens and want to fill in that empty space with a great filler plant instead of mulch, plant Gregg’s mistflower. It will fill in the space rather quickly and look a lot prettier than plain mulch, but more importantly it will help restore monarch habitat and bring more life to your garden.
  • Maintenance: Prune lightly whenever you want to control size or freshen it up — this plant is very forgiving. Prune it close to the ground in early spring.

 

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