Butterfly Plants

Attracting Butterflies: The garden that attracts butterflies is full of surprises because it is constantly changing. With a little bit of planning, you can make your landscape irresistible to these flying flowers while creating a colorful environment that is pleasing to your family as well.

Planning Suggestions: It is important to emphasize that if you are trying to entice butterflies (as well as hummingbirds and other insect eating birds and bats) to your yard, you will need to give up the use of insecticides / pesticides and many herbicides. Most of these products are broad spectrum, and will kill unwanted insect pests as well as those you are trying to attract. Herbicides may kill the host plants that butterflies use to lay their eggs. That does not mean that you must let the unwanted insects take over. There are many ways of controlling unwanted insects such as insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils, and biological controls (lady bugs, lacewings, and praying mantis) that can be used. Butterflies are attracted to broad sunlit areas. They enjoy basking in the sun while feeding. The warmth of the sun keeps their body temperature high and allows them to stay active. Simple boulders or flat cut-stone in sunlit areas provide good resting places. A stone wall offers natural shelter from the weather. Butterflies also need shelter from wind and weather which can easily be provided with taller shrubs and trees. Most butterflies are attracted to colors in shades of pink, red purple, yellow, and orange. Arrange your plantings in broad masses rather than a mix of color. Look for flower types with large flat flower heads, or plants with clusters of short tubular flowers. Also, keep in mind that butterflies are not only looking for nectar plants, but host plants on which to lay their eggs.

The following perennials are an easy way to get your butterfly garden started.

Easily found perennials

  • Achillea ‘Fireland’
  • Allium
  • Phlox ‘David’
  • Aster ‘Professor Kippenburg’
  • Geranium ‘Johnson’s Blue’
  • Hererocallis ‘Stella De Oro’
  • Liatris ‘Kobold’
  • Monarda ‘Marshall’s Delight’
  • Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’
  • Salvia ‘East Frieland’
  • Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’
  • Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’

More Perennials

  • Achillea (Yarrow)
  • Asclepias (Butterfly Flower)
  • Astilbe (False Spirea)
  • Buddleia (Butterfly Bush)
  • Coreopsis (Tickseed)
  • Campsis (Trumpet Vine)
  • Daisy, Shasta
  • Delphinium
  • Dianthus (Pinks – Sweet William)
  • Echinacea (Coneflower)
  • Eupatorium (Joe Pye Weed)
  • Liatris (Gayfeather)
  • Lupinus (Lupine)
  • Monarda (Bee Balm )
  • Papaver ( Poppy)
  • Tall Phlox
  • Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan )
  • Scabiosa (Pincushion Flower)
  • Sedum
  • Solidago (Goldenrod)

Did you know that there are types of butterfly plants that will attract hummingbirds too?  Here are several plants that attract both:

  • Zinnia Flowers. Zinnias add multi-bursts of color to your garden with their showy blooms. …
  • Agastache ‘Ava’ Unexpected Dinner Guest
  • Milkweed
  • Brazilian Verbena
  • Dwarf Butterfly Bushes
  • Callistemon