Butterfly Gardening

Follow these easy tips to turn your garden into a butterfly paradise.

Attract Butterflies to Your GardenPlants for Butterflies
Plants may serve as nectar sources for butterflies, as host plants for caterpillars, or as food for both adults and larvae. To increase the number of butterflies flitting about your garden, plant as many host plants and nectar sources in your yard and gardens as you can.
Blend butterfly-attracting weeds such as alfalfa, clovers, Queen-Anne's lace, milkweed, and cabbage-family members like field mustard (Brassica rapa) into a wildflower patch. And plant some extra parsley just for the larvae of the beautiful swallowtail butterflies. Some plants that butterflies appreciate are garden pests. These include dandelions, nettles, teasel, and thistles. Use common sense when creating your butterfly garden. 
The list below includes butterfly favorites suitable for all parts of the country.
Perennials and Annuals
  • Ageratum houstonianum (ageratum) 
  • Alcea rosea (hollyhock) 
  • Asclepias spp. (milkweeds, butterfly weed) 
  • Aster spp. (asters) 
  • Coreopsis spp. (coreopsis) 
  • Echinacea purpurea (purple coneflower) 
  • Erigeron spp. (fleabanes) 
  • Eupatorium spp. (bonesets, Joe-Pye weeds) 
  • Grindelia spp. (gumweeds) 
  • Helenium autumnale (sneezeweed) 
  • Helianthus spp. (sunflowers
  • Heliotropium arborescens (common heliotrope) 
  • Hemerocallis spp. (daylilies) 
  • Lavandula spp. (lavenders) 
  • Leucanthemum maximum (Shasta daisy) 
  • Leucanthemum vulgare (oxeye daisy) 
  • Lobularia maritima (sweet alyssum) 
  • Mentha spp. (mints) 
  • Monarda spp. (bee balms) 
  • Phlox spp. (phlox) 
  • Rudbeckia spp. (coneflowers) 
  • Salvia spp. (sages) 
  • Sedum spectabile (showy stonecrop) 
  • Solidago spp. (goldenrods) 
  • Tagetes patula (French marigold) 
  • Thymus spp. (thymes) 
  • Verbena spp. (verbenas) 
  • Vernonia spp. (ironweeds) 
  • Zinnia spp. (zinnias)

Trees and Shrubs

  • Lonicera spp. (honeysuckles) 
  • Rhus spp. (sumacs) 
  • Salix spp. (willows) 
  • Syringa vulgaris (common lilac) 
  • Tilia americana (basswood) 
  • Vaccinium spp. (blueberries)