Butterfly Garden Plants

If you have ever wanted to attract butterflies to your yard, I’d say this is the time to do it. The pollinators on our planet are under attack from every direction; global warming, drastic loss of habitat, pesticides and other chemical abuses; thinking about it honestly makes my stomach sick and my mind reel. I feel an obligation and desire to support the butterfly population and I hope you feel that way also. In this blog, I’ll name five excellent plants that I have used for attracting butterflies to my flower garden.

Echinacea – Coneflower

A Yellow Sulfur on my heirloom Echinacea (they belonged to my Grandmother).

Coneflowers may be my most favorite butterfly magnet in the garden. They come in a huge variety of flower shapes and colors, are easy to care for and will be positively covered in pollinators. Echinacea will bloom throughout the summer and right up until the first hard frost of the season. The long bloom time means that they provide a lasting source of food for the butterflies until it is time for them to hibernate or migrate. Here is a link for Coneflower seeds.

Height/Width – 12-36 inches tall and 12-24 inches wide (Each cultivar will be different, make sure to check the tag before buying)

Colors – Red, yellow, orange, pink, white, green

Zones – 3-8

Gaillardia – Blanket Flower

Blanket Flower is an eye-catching flower in the garden.

Gaillardia, commonly called Blanket Flower, is a bright pop of color on the edge of or near the front of a flower garden. The flowers generally begin blooming in (late Spring) early Summer and will continue to bloom straight through to the first heavy frost. This makes them a consistent source of nectar for butterflies. Gaillardia doesn’t grow very tall or wide which makes this plant very easy to squeeze into an already established flower garden. Or if you are planting a new flower bed, I’d recommend planting a whole grouping of this plant for a bright pop of color and an irresistible treat for your butterfly population.

Height/Width – generally between 18-22 inches tall – generally 12-18 inches wide. Varieties vary so be sure to check for each plant you purchase.

Colors – red, orange and yellow

Zones – generally 3-9 (check individual plants to be sure they are zoned for your garden)

Scabiosa – Pincushion Flower

Scabiosa is on of my favorite flowers.

Scabiosa is a rather unusual and beautiful flower that butterflies cannot seem to resist. These plants are enchanting with a neat mound of foliage low to the ground and their flowers seemingly floating up above. If you keep the dead flowers pruned, Scabiosa will bloom throughout the summer and keep the butterflies well fed.

Height/Width – 12-24 inches tall and 12 inches wide

Colors – Blue/Purple, pink and white

Zones – 4-9 (Zones vary, check before buying a plant)

Stokesia – Stoke’s Aster

Stokesia blooms can reach 4-5 inches across.

Although Stokesia may max out at around 2 feet tall, it can spread quite prolifically, so I only recommend this plant if you have a large planting area and don’t mind plants that like to take over. The flowers on Stokesia can be giant, I’ve grown some as large as my hand. And the butterflies adore them. The flowers provide a large landing pad and quite enough pollen to keep the butterflies occupied while I take loads of photos. They sometimes don’t even notice (or care) and allow me to get in close for the bright detailed photos that I love. Stokesia will continue to bloom throughout the summer, especially if you keep them dead-headed.

Height/Width – 12-36 inches tall and 12-24 inches wide

Colors – Purple and pink

Zones – 5-9

Asclepias – Butterfly Weed

You may recognize this Ohio native plant. It lives quite comfortably in the median of Ohio interstates.

Butterfly Weed has the word “butterfly” in it, so you know this plant is a great one for the butterflies. I use this plant as a host for the Monarch butterflies that reproduce here. The adult butterflies do actually enjoy the nectar from the beautiful flowers, but they are even more drawn to this plant because it is where they will lay their eggs. Once the Monarch caterpillars are of a size to eat, they will enjoy eating the leaves of the Asclepias. (Eating the leaves of this plant is what makes Monarch caterpillars poisonous to birds and other animals.) It is a very important relationship between plants and animals and I love having it all happen right in my flower garden.

Height/Width – 12-36 inches tall and 12-24 inches wide

Colors – Orange, yellow, white and pink

Zones – 3-9 (Zones vary, check before buying a plant)

If you would like a more in depth article about plants that attract or host butterflies in the garden, make sure to comment that below. Please also comment to share with everyone which plants are your favorite butterfly attracting plants. I’d love to know!

Mercy, peace and love be multiplied to you.

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Products I use and (therefore) recommend:

Planty friends – Feel free to use these links to the products that I use for my houseplants.  I receive a small percentage of any sales through these links, so feel free not to use them if that bothers you.

Horticultural 1/4” pumice – https://amzn.to/2KfcNPT

Horticultural perlite – https://amzn.to/3f9wwvE

Coco coir – https://amzn.to/2UBBiZF

Orchid Bark – Extra small chips – https://amzn.to/38OXWWJ

Orchid Bark – Small chips – https://amzn.to/3kA8HOU

Earthworm castings – https://amzn.to/38TRkGw

Coco Loco potting mix – https://amzn.to/2UHV3OY

GE Balanced Spectrum grow light bulb – https://amzn.to/3fdeAAu

Monios L LED grow lights – 2 ft. – https://amzn.to/391NmeS

Heat Mat (for propagating) – https://amzn.to/2MSezbk

Heat Mat w/ Thermostat – https://amzn.to/2PIjCwc

Bonsai scissors – https://amzn.to/33a6F29

Hygrometer (humidity monitor) – https://amzn.to/32WtiqO

Moisture meter sticks – https://amzn.to/35FR7Vk

Horticultural charcoal – https://amzn.to/2UKOv25

Organic houseplant fertilizer liquid – https://amzn.to/3pIb7ij

Insecticide/Miticide – (many bug sprays don’t kill spider mites, this one does) – https://amzn.to/3pHKREw

Systemic houseplant insecticide – https://amzn.to/36MuoX8

Full disclosure – the last three product links will be much cheaper if you can find them in your local garden center.  I’ve put them here so that you can see what they are called and what they look like, but I’d advise that you buy from these links only as a last resort.

All photos in this post are the property of Liquidambar Girl Gardening. Photos may not be reproduced.

Some or all of the links in this article may be affiliate.

4 thoughts on “Butterfly Garden Plants

  1. Who doesn’t love butterflies, they are so whimsical and when I get to see one I enjoy every minute of it. I always wondered what plants would attract them and this list helps me out to plant some . Thanks Bridget


    1. I’m so glad this article is helpful! I love butterflies too. In fact, I saw my first butterfly of the season today, a white Sulfur. Take care and thanks for reading! It means a lot!


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