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What are the best flowers for a butterfly garden?

I know that certain flowers attract butterflies. Which work the best from your experience?

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10 Responses to “What are the best flowers for a butterfly garden?”

  1. mamad

    I have a butterfly bush and a rose of sharon that the butterflies love. I have the butterfly bush by my hummingbird feeder and the butterflies love the bush and the feeder. They are so much fun to watch this year – beautiful.

  2. B Anne

    They love butterfly bush, of course, and zinnias and cone flowers and bee balm. Any colorful flowers really. Also, the swallowtail butterfly caterpillars LOVE parsley, so if you want swallowtails, plant parsley for their caterpillars.

  3. Traci

    As previously mentioned, butterfly bush (many varieties, make sure you get one whose size meets your requirements…some get huge!), butterfly weed, swamp milkweed, verbena, coneflower, pincushion flower, pentas (annual in most zones, but butterflies go nuts!), plumbago are some really great ones!

    B Anne is right! I forgot about parsley! Also Dill is another food source for butterflies.

  4. macker

    busy lizzie,nasturtium,marigold,californian poppy,lobelia,lupin,pansie,sweet pea,geranium,dahlia and phlox.

  5. MorningGlory

    I have a butterfly bush outside my kitchen window.(They also attract hummingbirds and Humminbird moths.) I love it there. I have seen butterflies that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. But If you get one they grow pretty big, sometimes reaching 15′ tall. Depending on the variety.
    Make sure you place it where you won’t need to move it.

    You might want to plant host plants to make sure you get certain butterflies.

    here are wonderful sites to help you chose.

  6. whizzz

    Another good one is Milkweed–sounds bad but really great flowers and Milkweed plants (Asclepias) are the host plants for Monarch butterflies…but milkweed is also a highly sought nectar source for many other butterfly species! Aside from attracting Monarch butterflies for egg-laying, milkweed entices swallowtails, painted ladies, American ladies, red admirals, fritillaries, and hairstreaks for nectaring.
    Milkweed also draws hummingbirds and hummingbird clearwing moths to the garden for nectar. http://www.ontariowildflower.com/images/milkweed_op.jpg http://scrumptiousliving.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/26jun08_milkweed.jpg

  7. Virginia

    Hey Melanee,

    As you might see by the answers, lots of flowers attract butterflies. I’ll add to the list!

    Since we’re coming up on fall, you might think about sedum–it blooms in late summer, early fall and butterflies in my area flock around it.

    Bee balm, nicotiana (Tobacco plant), marigold, poppies, coreopsis and cosmos, daylilies and daisies–all attract butterflies and bloom in summer in a range of colors, from red to yellow, through pinks and purples. So lots to chose from!



  8. Daydreamer

    Everyone has said the butterfly bush, yep, true, but its real name is Buddleia (just in case you cant find it under ‘butterfly bush’.

  9. Foxglove

    The butterfly bush, or buddleia is good and they seem to like daisy type flowers, like michaelmas daisy and also the ice plant. Then there are the wild flowers including nettles. They also seem to like plants with broad flat leaves for resting on.

  10. LucySD

    Butterflies use two different types of plants – those that provide nectar for the adults to eat (nectar plant), and those that provide food for their offspring (host plant). It is best to find out which plant species are native to your area and plant those rather than exotic species.
    link has both the flower and the host (nursery for eggs)
    It is also good to know which butterflies to attract in your state not all butterflies are native to each state
    For example in search I put:butterflies common to misssouri/this is what I got
    List of Butterflies of Missouri
    You might want to try your state.
    Attract Butterflies with Fruit
    Over ripe fruit is best
    include oranges, nectarines, bananas, watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, pears, and apples.
    Butterflies don’t satisfy all of their water needs by drinking nectar – they also need water.
    Butterflies Need Water Too
    Water for butterflies must be very shallow because their wings can be damaged by water.
    List below show photos of the flowers incase your not familiar.

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