Butterfly Garden Plants

There are many plants that will attract butterflies to your garden. Today I'm listing the plants in my garden that were planted to attract butterflies, and I'm also including some of my "wish-list" plants for future years . These plants seem to do well in our hot climate and aren't too difficult to keep happy.

If you're planning your own butterfly garden, or looking to add to it, keep in mind that most of these plants do well in full sun (with the exception of impatiens). Now is a good time to add some of these perennial plants and annuals to your garden. I'm still working on this myself. Most of the plants pictured were planted recently, and some more are waiting in flats, ready to be planted today.

Also listed are trees and shrubs, although keep in mind these are probably best planted in the fall.

Finally, remember that butterflies are insects, so insecticide will kill them! Avoid use of any nasty chemical insecticides. Biological controls are recommeneded, although I haven't tried this yet myself. Insecticidal soaps are less harmful, but I use this only on the roses (which tend to attract bees, not butterflies).
Perennial plants


Not pictured: chives, daylily, hibiscus, sage

To add in the future: Milkweed, Bee-balm, Black-eyed susan, Butterfly weed, coneflower, phlox

Trees and Shrubs


Buddleia ("the butterfly bush"; the #1 attraction in my yard)

To add in the future: Blueberry, Abelia

Annual plants


Zinnia and Verbena

Not pictured: Cosmos

Food plants for catepillars

Fennel (dill, carrots, and other plants in this family will work, too)

Not pictured: Dogwood, Parsley, Oaks, Tulip Tree, Snapdragon

To add in the future: Milkweed, Asters

For more information:
Clemson University Extension's on-line publications on Butterfly Gardening, Annuals, and Perennials.
Why flowers come in colors
So a butterfly flew into a bar...

Coming soon: Gardening to attract other animals, like bumblebees and hummingbirds


Anonymous said...

Finding another gardener who grows the same plants I do is great for swapping notes.

I've noticed that annual larkspur, Consolida ambigua, is a very popular nectar plant for Eastern black swallowtails.

Thanks for reminding me to design in some more variety.

Stuart said...

Great post Nelumbo. I do like butterflies in the garden, contrary to my original post. You've described some great plants and the photos have been very helpful.


Anonymous said...

Here in Mississippi we have wild verbena and the butterflies just love it. I don't know if you have it there or not it grows about three feet in height with small purple cluster flowers and is blooming now (May). You often see it along the side of a highway. I have a whole bed of it at home.

Lindy said...

I was told that a good organic pesiticide is "worm tea". (Worm tea is the liquid form of worm casting). I haven't tried it yet, but was wondering if anyone else has. I garden for butterflies and hummingbirds and I'm strongly opposed to using non-organic materials in my garden.

I hope I hear back from someone with experience with worm tea. Thanks!

P.S. You can get a great deal @ A1 Glass Hummingbird Feeders on glass butterfly feeders. They're hand-blown glass and gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

great post .... i want to see butterfly in my garden to....

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