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Attracting Butterflies to your Garden

Attracting Butterflies


Printer Friendly Version: Attracting Butterflies


Attracting butterflies to your garden begins with choosing the right plants.  Adding a few complimentary touches will increase your chances of drawing butterflies.



Plant Selection


Plants that produce large amounts of nectar are best for attracting flying butterflies. Having the right host plants for butterfly larvae (caterpillars) will encourage the butterflies to remain in your garden.




Ageratum houstonianum (Ageratum)

Antirrhinum spp.  (Snapdragon)

Cosmos spp.   (Cosmos)

Dianthus spp.  (Pinks)

Gazania spp.   (Gazania)

Heliotropium spp. (Heliotrope)

Impatiens spp.   (Impatiens)

Lantana spp.   (Lantana)

Nasturtium spp.  (Nasturtium)

Pentas spp.   (Pentas)

Petunia spp.  (Petunia)

Tagetes spp.  (Marigold)

Verbena spp.   (Verbena)

Zinnia spp.  (Zinnia)




Achillea spp.  (Yarrow)

Asclepias spp.  (Milkweed)

Aster spp.   (Aster)

Coreopsis spp.  (Tickseed)

Echinacea purpurea  (Purple Coneflower)

Eupatorium spp.  (Joe Pye Weed)  

Gaillardia spp. (Blanket Flower)

Heliopsis spp.  (False Sunflower)

Lavandula spp.  (Lavender)

Liatris spicata  (Gayfeather)

Monarda didyma  (Bee Balm)

Nepeta spp.  (Catmint)

Phlox paniculata  (Garden Phlox)

Rudbeckia spp.  (Black-Eyed Susan)

Salvia spp.   (Sage)

Scabiosa spp.   (Pincushion Flower)

Sedum spp.   (Stonecrop)

Solidago spp.   (Goldenrod)

Veronica spp. (Speedwell)


Trees and Shrubs


Abelia x grandifolia (Glossy Abelia)

Buddleia davidii  (Butterfly Bush)

Caryopteris spp.   (Blue Mist Shrub)

Clethra alnifolia (Summersweet)

Lonicera spp. (Honeysuckle)

Malus spp.  (Crabapple)

Pyracantha spp.  (Firethorn)

Pyrus calleryana  (Ornamental Pear)

Syringa spp.  (Lilac)

Weigela florida  (Weigela)

Wisteria spp. (Wisteria)

Tips: Incorporating sources of water and salt into your garden will encourage butterflies to remain longer.  Rocks and debris for protection are also very important




Sources: Compiled from experience and Attracting Hummingbirds and Butterflies (ed. James D. Blume). For more information visit us on the web at