Butterfly Gardening

Butterfly Gardening

Butterfly gardening can be very easy and it creates a beautiful garden that gives you color all summer long!

There are many things to consider before getting started, so here are some tips to help your garden attract butterflies.


Preparing your Garden for Butterflies

Plant your garden in a bright, sunny area. Butterflies are cold-blooded; they need to warm their muscles on boulders or large flat rocks so they can fly.

Place a few flat stones around your garden to give them a variety of places to bask in the sun during different times of the day.

Choose an area that offers some protection from strong winds. Butterflies won’t want to feed in an area where they are constantly fighting the wind to stay on the plants. You can offer them some protection by planting shrubs or small trees; even taller perennials will help.

Choosing the Right Plants and Flowers


When selecting plants for your garden, choose plants that will feed the multiple stages of a butterfly’s lifecycle. Caterpillars have a limited host range, so research what types of plants are required for the type of butterflies you would like to attract (for example, Monarchs need milkweed; Black Swallowtails need dill or parsley).

Since adult butterflies need nectar from a variety of flowers, choose plants with different bloom times so you have a food source available all season. You can start with some perennials such as Salvia, Coneflower, or Butterfly Weed, and then fill in with colorful annuals that will bloom all summer.

Avoid Use of Chemicals


Lastly, you will need to reduce or eliminate your use of pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides. Remember that butterflies are an insect and using some of these products can kill the caterpillars, the butterflies, and the plants they feed on. You can still spot treat pests with oils and soaps or, better yet, introduce natural predators such as spiders, lacewings, and ladybird beetles.

Recommended Plants for your Butterfly Garden

Here are some plants to help you get started so you can experience the joy of butterfly gardening:

  • Ageratum – Partial Sun to Shade
  • Begonia – Partial to Full Shade
  • Bougainvillea – Full to Partial Sun
  • Cleome – Full Sun
  • Cosmos – Full to Partial Sun
  • Dahlia – Full Sun
  • Dianthus – Partial Sun
  • Fuchsia – Partial Shade
  • Geranium – Full to Partial Sun
  • Heliotrope – Full to Partial Sun
  • Impatiens – Partial to Full Shade
  • Lantana – Full Sun
  • Lobelia – Partial Sun
  • Marigolds – Full Sun
  • Morning Glory – Full Sun
  • Nicotiana – Full to Partial Sun
  • Pentas – Full to Partial Sun
  • Petunia – Full to Partial Sun
  • Snapdragon – Full Sun
  • Sweet Alyssum – Partial Sun to Shade
  • Verbena – Partial to Full Sun
  • Zinnia – Full Sun

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