Butterflies are beautiful summer visitors to your yard, and you don’t have to have a large butterfly garden to encourage them to visit. Just a few select plants will spur some action, and there are endless ways you can design a butterfly garden to attract these fluttering jewels.
Planning a Butterfly Garden
Most butterfly plants do best in full sun, and butterflies are brighter, easier to see and more energetic in sunny spots. Choose a bright location for your butterfly plants, and arrange plants in tiers to create different levels of interest without blocking your view of any visitors. Consider the mature sizes of different plants and flowers, as well as their watering and fertilizing needs to group similar plants together for easier care. More colorful gardens will generally attract more butterflies, so include a range of bold flowers in the bed. Minimize any insecticide or pesticide use, as these chemicals can be toxic to butterflies. Position a shallow bird bath in the butterfly garden and keep it filled to give these bright insects a place to drink, and you’ll be pleased to see them perch and sun themselves just where you can see them best.
If you don’t have room for a full butterfly garden, try a container garden to attract butterflies. Just one large container or a group of several small pots with butterfly-friendly plants can be very effective at attracting these beautiful guests.
Best Plants for Butterflies
Many different plants are attractive to butterflies. Generally, native plants are best because they are easily recognized by butterflies, and they are also easier to care for and require less maintenance so you don’t need to disturb any visiting butterflies. Popular plants to attract butterflies include…
- Achillea (Yarrow)
- Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed)
- Chrysanthemum (Shasta Daisy Type)
- Dianthus (Carnation)
- Echinacea (Coneflower)
- Eupatorium (Joe-Pye weed)
- Helianthus (Sunflower)
- Hemerocallis (Daylilies)
- Gaillardia (Blanket Flower)
- Monarda (Bee Balm)
- Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susan)
- Scabiosa (Pincushion Flower)
- Solidago (Goldenrod)
Annuals and Tender Perennials:
Choose a mix of both annuals and perennials for your butterfly garden, and you’ll be amazed at what different fancy, fluttering friends come to visit!