Why do butterflies visit a garden?

Dec 2, 2023 | Gardening Advice

Butterflies are looking for the nectar (the fluid they use as food) and a host plant where the female lays her eggs. Butterflies are attracted to flowers that have pink, red, purple, yellow, or orange flowers. The type of flowers that they prefer have clusters of short tubular flowers, or flowers with large, flat petals. Plant in masses where possible. Large areas of a single color, or closely related colors, appear to be more attractive than gardens with many mixed colors. Butterflies are active from early spring through frost, so having a mixture of plants that will flower throughout this entire season will attract butterflies all season long.

Nectar (N) and Larval (L) food flowers come in many forms including annuals, perennials, herbs, vines, and grasses.

Here are some popular varieties:

  • Ageratum (N)
  • Allium (N)
  • Alyssum (N)
  • Ammi majus (L,N)
  • Asclepias (L,N)
  • Aster (L,N)
  • Buddleia (N)
  • Coreopsis (N)
  • Dill (L,N)
  • Gomphrena (N)
  • Hollyhock (L)
  • Iberis (N)
  • Lantana (N)
  • Lavender (N)
  • Liatris (N)
  • Marigold (N)
  • Mint (N)
  • Monarda (N)
  • Nasturtium (N)
  • Nicotiana (N)
  • Petunia (N)
  • Phlox (N)
  • Rudbeckia (N)
  • Salvia (N)
  • Scabiosa (N)
  • Snapdragon (L,N)
  • Statice (N)
  • Tithonia (N)
  • Zinnia (N)

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