Planting for Butterflies

Who doesn’t like butterflies?   They flitter and float around in the air,  and their gracefulness mesmerizes us.  They have beautiful coloring and markings to tantalize your eyes.   They don’t bite (making it the only bug I like). These interesting bugs need certain plants for use  by the caterpillar (the host plants), and they need certain flowers for the butterflies (the nectar plants).   Adding a cute butterfly house in your garden may be another nice idea!

If you like flowers even a tiny bit as much as me, why wouldn’t you want to make sure you have selected a few flowers that butterflies love?  There are many flowers that a variety of butterflies typically love.  Most are common perennial or annual classics too!

The most common flowers people will want to plant would be the plants that provide nectar for the butterflies.  This is where we would get the most enjoyment!  These flowers would be: Butterfly bush, Joe Pye Weed, Purple Coneflowers, Liatris, Black-eyed Susan, Phlox, Mallow, Daisy, Aster, Salvia, Petunia, Aster, Cosmos, Marigold, Red Columbine, Oregeno, Garlic Chives, Oriental Lily, Snapdragons, Grape Hyacinth, Lantana and Autumn Joy Sedum.

The other important plants for butterflies would be the host plants.  These are the plants they lay their eggs on and that the caterpillar will use for food.   Most of these plants are not always as attractive and can be ‘chewed’ up a bit when the caterpillar needs to eat!  If you are butterfly crazy- you will want these on your property, but maybe a bit out of the main viewing area.  These flowers would be: Milkweed,  Mallow, Aster, Queen Annes Lace, Parsley, Fennel, Dill, Burdock, Clover, and Thistle.  Trees and shrubs that they use are: Willow, Elm, Aspen, Oak, Poplar, Chokeberry, Viburnum, and Fruit Trees.

There are many varieties of butterflies all over the US that enjoy multiple types of flowers.  So, plant more than one kind!  Here is a collection that has 9 different nectar plants for sale together:  Butterfly Perennial Collection.  These are all perennial in zones 3-9.   Here is a little bonus for reading this blog:  A coupon for $5 off this collection!!  Just enter BBbflyfree into the coupon box in your shopping cart BEFORE checkout.

I have also included a starter garden plan made with the Butterfly Perennial Collection!

Enjoy your butterflies!

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2 Responses to Planting for Butterflies

  1. Susan says:

    I am reading and gathering much information about attracting butterflies to my garden. I took my preschool 4 year olds to a Butterfly House at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Maryland and the fascination has grown even more. What a tropical paradise we witnessed. Someday, I wish to look out our back windows at our house in Delaware and view a spectacular burst of colorful host plants as well as nectar plants. I know that by receiving your plans and advise, this will be a dream come true. Thanks so much for the lovely layouts.

    • Gabrielle says:

      Sounds great! I remember taking my kids to the special butterfly exhibit at our zoo a few times. I think I loved it as much as them. I am glad you found the info helpful. Have fun!

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