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how do you make a “butterfly garden”?

i would like to plant a butterfly garden in my front or back yard. i love watching butterflies but currently know little about them. i know they are attracted to brightly colored and sweet blooms. i live in the los angeles area so it is warm and slightly humid most of the year. what plants would be best? any advise?

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12 Responses to “how do you make a “butterfly garden”?”

  1. Stephen R

    Go to your local Home depot and go too the gardening section and ask for plants that attract butterflies. They should be able to help you. Plus in hobby shops they sell butterfly kits that have Butterfly eggs in them that you place in your flower bed and they grow to be cattapillers then butterflies. I hope this helps you.


    i plant zinnias every year outside my kitchen window – they are very easy to grow from seeds and the butterflies come every year – they are pretty cool .

  3. hopflower

    Lots of bright and fragrant flowers attract butterflies, including the bush called Butterfly Bush. There are several sites that describe many types of flowers to put in a garden such as the one you want. You could also look it up in Sunset’s Garden Guide. And, here is another interesting link:

  4. Work-N-Hrd-2-Mk-It


  5. always

    go to bluestoneperennials.com and click on the link for butterfly garden. The price os there and layout, everything.
    I am in zone 8 and i bought a butterfly garden from them 4 years ago. it is so huge now and colorful. i started moving and dividing my plants only after 2 years. Now i have a front and back butterfly garden. The price may shock you, but it is well worth it. You could also look at their diagram and buy the plants that way. i like it because they ship when it is the right time to put the plants in the ground.
    Hope I was helpful.

  6. britgrit

    The butterfly bush or budlellia (spelling?) is available in several colors and should grow well in your climate. You may be surprised how well it can grow, so choose a location carefully. I also have luck attracting monarchs with a lantana bush which is yellow to orange. The small butterfly bushes have been available h ere in NC at Home Depot in the perennial dept. for under 10 dollars. Some mail order catalogues, though cheaper, may have restrictions about shipping to CA. Good luck.

    Pacific Grove CA is the butterfly capital and their chamber of commerce may have info for you.


    Start by planting shrubs that attract butterflies, such as the buddleias, lavendulas, ligustrums and hebes, not to mention all the flowers that also attract them. You do need a sheltered sunny sight.

  8. redletter2

    Here is a site with tons of info for your area. Apparently, you need two types of plants: ones that attract butterflies, and then some others that provide food for the caterpillers (pre-butterflies). You could print out the lists and then go to a garden center to ask which ones would be good for your skills and your yard… sunny, shady, etc.


  9. Harini s

    plants that have scented flowers with honey.

  10. cowgirl

    I found this for Kentucky, but I’m sure most of the plants would be the same. Good luck.

  11. bellgoebel

    You have lots of great answers already…I’m not in your growing zone (We’re zone 5B), but I do know that buddleia, lavender and zinnias will all attract butterflies and will grow in your area. The one fresh thing I would add is that if you want to see the butterflies go through their whole life cycle in your garden, be sure to plant some species the larvae will eat. In my gardens, I plant parsley and fennel for the Monarchs every year. Milkweed has volunteered, too, and while I’m not nuts about having those big ol’ coarse plants in my perennial beds, they foster lots of butterfly larvae. We have a really active garden every year!

  12. reunionrowdies

    I would do some research to find plants native to your area. Maybe buy a book on the subject. Butterflies are attracted to the nectar in specific plants. Butterfly larvae only make their homes on certain plants. Honeysuckle and sage in general are good butterfly plants. It’s a good idea to have a mixture of flowering perennials, shrubs, ground covers, vines, and trees to make sure you have a mix of nectar producing plants and larval friendly plants.

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