A busy garden full of activity—earthworms in the soil, flying critters visiting the flowers that attract bees—is a healthy garden. Just like with bees, if you want to attract butterflies, there are certain flowers that are guaranteed to have them fluttering about your beds. This list of pretty annuals and perennial flowers that support and attract butterflies is a perfect place to start.
So why a butterfly garden? Of course, we love to spy on the interesting and exotic-looking creatures, and some people even aspire to raise butterflies at home. A successful butterfly garden will provide food and shelter for the insect through its entire life cycle. Milkweed and aster, for example, provide a safe shelter for eggs to grow into caterpillars. A butterfly garden should also supply food for the caterpillars to grow and transform into pupa (aka chrysalis). Goldenrod and snap dragons produce nectar for adult butterflies to eat. These plants are good choices, but when planning your own garden, opt for varieties that are native to your area as they will best support local caterpillars and butterflies.
If you want to focus on attracting Monarch butterflies, try planting milkweed, zinnias, and the Miss Molly butterfly bush. Fall flowers like goldenrod and sedum bring butterflies well after summer ends. Once established, your butterfly garden will keep those winged beauties in sight all season long.
1.Amethyst Pearl Phlox
The color of this beautiful flower will remind just about anyone of the precious purple stone, and butterflies find this plant just as attractive as humans. This is a delicate flower that also seems to love moist soil. If you want this flower for your garden, it grows best in zones three through eight.
2. Butterfly Weed
As the name suggests, this is definitely a big hit with your favorite butterfly species. The flowers on the butterfly plant are orange, and the plant itself is a close relative of milkweed. This is definitely a pollinator-friendly plant that also grows in abundance in zones three through nine. This is also a great plant to dissuade pests like deer.
If you love blooms that have varied colors, then lantana is definitely a butterfly-friendly plant that you should consider for your garden. In many cases, the blooms have a light pink coloration on the outside of the flower and the centermost buds are orange and sometimes yellow. Lantana grows in zones 10 and 11. If you grow this, expect the plant to die back if the plant is exposed to temperatures below 28 degrees Fahrenheit, but it will grow back in warm weather.
When you look at the bluestar bush, the first thing you’ll notice is the thin needlelike foliage that springs out in every direction underneath the blooms. The blooms themselves are prized by a plethora of butterfly species and are known for their star shape. Bluestar plants grow in zones three through nine, and if you’re planning on growing them, expect them to bloom in the spring and turn a beautiful golden color in the autumn.
5. Black-Eyed Susan
Black-eyed susan plants almost look like sunflowers that have a black center that pollinators love. The golden yellow petals extend out in a spoke pattern and look beautiful. This plant blooms yearly in zones three through seven, and you can expect a growth that will top out around two feet in height. It’s best to plant these when the soil temperature is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Not only is stonecrop a favored plant for butterflies, but this sedum is also known for its deer-resistance. The flowers from the stonecrop plant tend to grow a bright and lively pink, and you can expect an active growing period of at least six months. Usually, this type of sedum is found in zones four through nine.
7. Bee Balm
As the name implies, this is a pollinator favorite. Not only will this plant attract butterflies, but hummingbirds and bees will love you for planting bee balm. Use well-drained soil that has a pH between 6.0 and 6.7, and you should have no issues with growth. Additionally, this perennial plant is known to grow in zones four through nine.
This perennial is a hardy plant that can be found growing naturally in the southeast of the country. In most cases, zones five through nine are favorable for this plant; just make sure that you grow it in moist, well-drained soil that has a somewhat acidic content.
9. Globe Thistle
Related to the sunflower, globe thistle is known for its violet-colored nearly perfectly round flower heads. This plant is fairly hardy, and you can expect to be able to grow it in zones three through nine. This is a plant that blooms between the midsummer to the early fall, and it can grow as high as four feet.
10. Shasta Daisy
The foliage of the shasta daisy is known for being evergreen, which means that this is a great year-round plant that will provide beautiful and dainty blooms in the summer months. Shasta daisies can be found in zones five to nine and can grow up to three feet in height – just remember to use fertile soil.