This is a list of plants native to the upper midwest that attract butterflies and pollinators. They would be a good plants to consider planting in a yard or garden in order to make it more attractive to pollinators.
These are all common prairie plants, and should be available from any midwestern native plant nursery. The list is based on lists from the Xerces Society, Prairie Moon Nursery, and on my own experience.
Partridge Pea is an annual; all the others are perennials, so they’ll take a few years to bloom. If you want flowers the first year, plant plants instead of, or in addition to, seeds.
Another nice addition to a garden would be Lobelia cardinalis – Cardinal Flower – which attracts Hummingbirds.
Agastache scrophulariaefolia – Purple Giant Hyssop
Allium stellatum – Prairie Onion
Amorpha canescens – Lead Plant
Antennaria neglecta or Antennaria plantaginifolia – Pussy Toes
Aquilegia canadensis– Wild Columbine
Asclepias exaltata – Poke Milkweed
Asclepias incarnata – Swamp Milkweed
Asclepias tuberosa– Butterfly Weed
Baptisia alba – White Wild Indigo
Chaemecrista fasciculata – Partridge Pea
Coreopsis palmata– Prairie Coreopsis
Dalea purpurea – Purple Prairie Clover
Eupatorium perfoliatum – Common Boneset
Echinacea pallida – Pale Purple Coneflower
Eutrochium purpureum– Purple Joe-Pye Weed
Heliopsis helianthoides– Oxeye
Lespedeza capitata – Round-headed Bush Clover
Liatris aspera– Rough Blazing Star
Liatris ligulistylis – Meadow Blazing Star
Liatris pycnostachya – Tall Blazing Star
Lobelia siphilitica– Great Blue Lobelia
Lupinus perennis – Wild Lupine
Monarda fistulosa – Bergamot
Penstemon grandiflorus – Large Beardtongue
Pycnanthemum virginianum – Mountain Mint
Ratibida pinnata – Yellow Coneflower
Rudbeckia hirta– Black-eyed Susan
Rudbeckia triloba – Brown-eyed Susan
Solidago flexicaulis – Zig-zag Goldenrod
Solidago nemoralis – Gray Goldenrod
Solidago rigida – Stiff Goldenrod
Solidago speciosa– Showy Goldenrod
Symphyotrichum laeve – Smooth Blue Aster
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae – New England Aster
Symphyotrichum oolentangiense – Sky Blue Aster
Tradescantia ohiensis– Spiderwort
Verbena stricta – Hoary Vervain
Veronicastrum virginicum – Culver’s Root
Viola – Violets
Zizia aurea – Golden Alexander
Click Here to see a video of Doug Tallamy (Professor of Ecology at the University of Delaware) talk about why planting plants native to the area you live in is so important.
Here’s a short list of more aggressive natives that are also great for butterflies and pollinators. They should be planted in areas where they won’t cause trouble if they spread aggressively.