Butterfly Gardening – Using Butterfly Garden Plants

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By: Stan V. Griep, American Rose Society Consulting Master Rosarian, Rocky Mountain District

By Stan V. Griep
American Rose Society Consulting Master Rosarian – Rocky Mountain District

The list of welcome garden visitors includes not only our friends, family members, and “furry” friends (our dogs, cats, and maybe even a rabbit or two), but also ladybugs, praying mantis, dragonflies, bees, and butterflies to name a few. But one of my favorite garden guests is the butterfly. Let’s look at plants that attract butterflies, so that you can welcome these flying beauties.

Starting Butterfly Gardening

If you like to see the butterflies gracefully dancing about your smiling blooms like I do, planting some flowering plants that help attract them is a great thing to do. Perhaps you should create a bed with butterfly garden plants as it will not only attract the butterflies but other wonderful garden visitors such as the delightful hummingbirds.

Butterflies gracefully dancing about the blooms in my rose beds and wildflower garden are truly a highlight to my morning garden walks. When our Linden tree blooms, it not only fills the air all around it with a wonderful and intoxicating fragrance, it attracts the butterflies and bees. Planting flowers that attract butterflies is all you need to do to start butterfly gardening.

List of Butterfly Garden Plants

The beauty and grace that butterflies bring to one’s garden are far greater than any garden ornament that you could ever purchase. So let’s take a look at some flowering plants for butterfly gardens that attract butterflies. Here is a listing of some plants that attract butterflies:

Flowers That Attract Butterflies

  • Achillea, Yarrow
  • Asclepias tuberosa, Butterfly Milkweed
  • Gaillardia grandiflora, Blanket Flower
  • Alcea rosea, Hollyhock
  • Helianthus, Sunflower
  • Chrysanthemum maximum, Shasta Daisy
  • Lobularia maritima, Sweet Alyssum
  • Aster, Aster
  • Rudbeckia hirta, Black-eyed Susan or
    Gloriosa Daisy
  • Coreopsis, Coreopsis
  • Cosmos, Cosmos
  • Dianthus, Dianthus
  • Echinacea purpurea, Purple Coneflower
  • Rosa, Roses
  • Verbena bonariensis, Verbena
  • Tagetes, Marigold
  • Zinnis elegans, Zinna
  • Phlox, Phlox

This is just a partial listing of some of the flowering plants that attract butterflies to our gardens, and they not only attract these beautiful, graceful visitors but add colorful beauty to our gardens as well. Further research on your part will help you to zero in on exactly what types of plants attract specific types of butterflies and other wonderful garden visitors to your gardens. This type of butterfly gardening has many levels of enjoyment to it; I am speaking from a point of personal experience. Enjoy your gardens!

This article was last updated on

Read more about Beneficial Garden Friends

Abutilon 'Canary Bird'

Item #: 3848

Zones: 7b to 10b

Dormancy: Winter

Height: 72" tall

Culture: Sun to Part Sun

Origin: Hybrid

Pot Size: 3.5" pot (24 fl. oz/0.7 L) ?

Reduced use of pesticides

One of the most important conservation decisions we can make is to avoid the use of broad spectrum pesticides sprayed all around the yard. Instead, use less harmful spot treatments on plants troubled with pest insects.

For pest insects, use alternative control methods such as oils, soaps and microbial insecticides such as Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Remember that oils and soaps still kill caterpillars if sprayed directly on them. They also will die if they feed on plants treated with a Bt formulation that is toxic to them.

Most butterfly species, such as the Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus), lay only a few eggs at a time. This low level of insect population will not kill shrubs or trees. Black Swallowtail (Papilionidae: Papilio polyxenes) larvae, however, can completely consume herbaceous plants such as dill. To avoid killing a beautiful guest, you should be sure of your identification of an insect as a pest before using any pesticide.

A good side effect of the decrease in pesticide use is the increase of natural enemies. Insects such as spiders, lacewings, ladybird beetles and ground beetles, help to control unwanted pests.

Caution: Mention of a pesticide or use of a pesticide label is for educational purposes only. Always follow the pesticide label directions attached to the pesticide container you are using. Remember, the label is the law.

Watch the video: Butterfly Gardening


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