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32 Plants & Flowers that Attract Butterflies to Your Garden

Daisy flower.

Watching butterflies as they flutter their little wings around your garden, flying from one plant to another, can be an effective way to just relax and de-stress. But first, you need to make your garden more attractive to these colorful winged creatures. You can fill your garden with specific garden plants that can entice butterflies to visit your garden.

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1. Butterfly bush

Butterfly bush flower plant.

Also known as Buddleja, the butterfly bush has around 100 species to choose from. They often bear purple, orange, and white to pink shades of flowers that invite butterflies species such as monarchs, mourning cloaks, commas, swallowtail, and sulphurs.

2. Goldenrod

Goldenrod plant.

The flowers of goldenrod are the nectar source of American snouts, sulphurs, gorgone checkerspots, red admirals, and viceroys.

3. Glasswort

Glasswort plant.

This plant under the genus Salicornia feed eastern pygmy blue butterfly larva. Plant more glasswort if you want more eastern pygmy blues.

4. Dogbane

Dogbane plant.

Dogbane nectar is frequented by mourning cloaks, silver-spotted skippers, American snout, and swallowtail. It is also the host food for little glassywings, sulphurs, pearl crescent, monarchs, and painted ladies.

5. Stonecrop

Stonecrop plant.

If you plant stonecrops, expect to see lots of red admiral butterflies in your garden.

6. Burdock

Burdock plant.

Its root has medicinal properties, but its nectar is food for painted lady caterpillars.

7. Milkweed

Milkweed flower.

This is a favorite among monarchs because it is their host food plant. Milkweed also draws mourning cloaks, Baltimore checkerspot, viceroy, and zabulon skipper. You may also queen, question mark butterflies, and great spangled fritillary in your garden with milkweed.

8. Dogwood

Dogwood flower,

You will see more American snout and spring azure butterflies if you plant dogwood. The tree’s leaves also feed spring azure larva.

9. Mustard

Mustard flower.

Mustard is a favorite source of nectar for falcate orange tip larva and butterflies.

10. Parsley

Parsley plant.

Aside from being a great culinary herb, it is also the main food source of black swallowtail butterfly larva. If you really love swallowtails, plant more parsley.

11. Sunflower

Sunflower plant.

Aside from providing sunflower seeds for you, sunflowers also serve as host plant for checkerspot larva and butterflies.

12. Vetch

Vetch flower.

If you plant any of the more than 100 species of vetch, your garden will be frequented by zabulon skippers, sulphurs, and American painted ladies.

13. Alfalfa

Alfalfa plant.

Butterfly species such as Karner blue, orange Sulphur, and clouded yellow consume alfalfa for food.

14. Poplar

Poplar plant.

Aside from providing great shade in your garden, poplar can also feed tiger swallowtails, white admirals, mourning cloaks, red-spotted purple, and viceroy larva.

15. Sassafras

Sassafras leaves.

This garden plant provides food for spicebush swallowtail caterpillars.

16. Hackberry

Hackberry fruit tree.

A garden with hackberries will likely be visited by tawny emperor and hackberry emperor butterflies.

17. Joe Pye weed

Joe pye weed flower plant.

Aside from their pretty flowers, these plants are also rich in nectar that fritillaries and swallowtails love.

18. Passion vine

Passion vine flower.

With its huge, exotic purple flowers, this plant that is also called the passiflora, your garden will be visited more frequently by zebra longwing and gulf fritillary caterpillars.

19. Fennel

Fennel flower.

Swallowtail caterpillars see fennel as their host plant.

20. Hollyhock

Hollyhock flower.

Also known as Alcea, these flowers feed checkered skippers, painted ladies, and gray hairstreak larva.

21. Viburnum

Viburnum flower.

This fragrant shrub is not only a favorite among human because of their smell, but also by spring azure and Baltimore checkerspot butterflies because of their nectar.

22. Clover

Clover plant.

Plant red or white clover if you want to see more painted ladies, common checkered skippers, gray hairstreaks, buckeyes, silver-spotted skippers, sulphurs, variegated fritillary, eastern tailed-blue, and sleepy orange in your garden.

23. Black walnut

Black walnut.

Black walnut feeds more than 200 species of moth larva and butterflies, such as red-spotted purples, swallowtails, exotic luna moth, and royal walnut moths.

24. Verbena

Verbena flower.

Zebra longwings and sulphurs love the nectar of verbena blooms.

25. Privet

Privet plant.

If you want some sort of fence to make your garden more private, you can plant privet around the perimeter. This will also encourage visits from painted ladies, skippers, red-spotted purples, and swallowtails.

26. Blueberry

Blueberry fruit plant.

The fruits are delicious, but their nectar is also preferred by spring azure butterflies and swallowtails.

27. Queen Anne’s Lace

Queen Anne's lace flower.

You can add this flowering herb to your cooking, while some anise swallowtails enjoy them in your garden.

28. Snapdragon

Snapdragon flower plant.

These are plants belonging to the genus Antirrhinum. They can attract common buckeyes because their larva love snapdragons.

29. Daisy

Daisy flower.

Queen and mourning cloak butterflies grow on the nectar of most daisies. Painted lady caterpillars also get nectars from these flowers.

30. Purple coneflower

Purple cone flower.

The Echinacea purpurea is well-loved for being an anti-depressants and immune boosters, but it is also an effective draw for common wood-nymph butterflies.

31. Marigold

Marigold flowers.

These charming little plants not only attract butterflies but are also a great addition to any garden.

32. Cosmos

Cosmos flower.

Cosmos are delicate looking flowers that butterflies enjoy visiting. Lovely addition to your garden.

Inspiration for this post: Natural Living Ideas (with permission)

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