How to Attract Butterflies with the Correct Plants

Any yard can attract birds and butterflies, with the right combination of plants, water and resting and nesting areas.

To attract butterflies, you'll need a sunny spot. Add a "sunning stone" as a garden accent, so butterflies have a place to rest and absorb the heat from the sun, in order to start flying. Butterflies also need a source of water. The water should be shallow - a bird bath is ideal or a mudpuddle will work.

Butterflies are attracted to the nectar in the plants. They'll feed from flowers with flat surfaces, like daisies. Some of our favorites include: Butterfly bush, butterfly weed, coneflower, lavender, gallardia, yarrow, phlox, pentas and zinnias.

You'll attract more butterflies if these plants are located in a protected area away from wind and predators.

Annuals that Attract Butterflies

Butterfly PlantsButterfly Larval
Ageratum
Alyssum
Argerantheumum
Bachelor Button
Cleome
Cosmos
Gazania Daisy
Heliotrope
Lantana
Lobelia
Marguerite Daisy
Marigold
Mexican Sunflower
Nasturium
Nicotiana
Pentas
Petunia
Scabiosa
Snapdragon
Statice
Stock
Tapien
Verbena
Zinnia
Aster
Cabbage
Mallow
Marigold
Parsley
Queen Anne's Lace
Snapdragon
Sweet William
Violet

Perennials, Herbs & Shrubs that Attract Butterflies

PerennialsHerbsShrubs
Agastache
Aster
Beebalm
Blanket Flower
Butterfly Weed
Chrysanthemum
Coneflower
Coreopsis
Daylily
False Indigo
Gayfeather
Goldenrod
Hollyhock
Ironweed
Joe Pye Weed
Phlox
Rudebeckia
Salvia
Sedum
Shasta Daisy
Yarrow
Catnip
Chives
Dill
Fennel
Hyssop
Lavender
Marjoram
Mint
Parsely
Thyme
Butterfly Bush
Cotoneaster
Lilac
Mock Orange
Privet
Spirea
Viburnum