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Gregg’s Mistflower: Butterfly Magnet

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.

 

Heather Ginsburg
Heather Ginsburg
Heather is a Texas tradeswoman through and through! With three state water licenses under her belt, she brings a unique perspective, background and expertise to the SAWS Education team. Heather’s deep understanding of and passion for sharing water knowledge makes her perfectly suited for coordinating and leading SAWS’ education tours. Prior to joining the SAWS family, Heather worked in the private sector as a landscape designer where she spent countless hours helping homeowners create beautiful, water-saving landscapes. Heather, along with her husband Brett and their two children, all strive daily to be kind humans who give back to Mother Earth.
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