Create Your Own Butterfly Garden

Flowers provide a good source of nectar to attract the adults. When a butterfly detects something sweet, it will extend it's coiled proboscis and probe into the flower for nectar. It is important when choosing plants to select a variety that will bloom at different times of the season to make your garden more attractive to a wider assortment of butterflies. Plant the flowers in clusters of each species and create a garden that includes several different colors and flower heights. Clusters of flowers are easier for the butterflies to locate than individual plants. A mixture of annuals, perennials and biennials will allow you to experiment with different flower combinations each year as you discover which species work best for your area.

Most caterpillars are specific about the plants they feed on, and female butterflies will only lay their eggs on the caterpillar food plants. Since you cannot have butterflies without caterpillars, be sure to provide a variety of caterpillar food plants to meet the needs of the species in your area. Some plants, like milkweed and alfalfa, provide both nectar for adults and food for many species of caterpillar.

Another important aspect of butterfly gardens is the need to provide sources of shelter for the butterflies. Tall trees can provide a place for butterflies to roost at night or during cloudy weather (willows, ash, and chokecherry are also caterpillar food plants for some species). Or, try one of our beautiful butterfly houses. Plant your garden in a sunny place to increase blooming, and provide rocks for butterflies to bask in the sun. Butterflies bask to heat up their wing muscles for flight. Most Important: DO NOT USE PESTICIDES in or near your garden.

See our Hand-blown Glass Butterfly Feeders

REGIONAL PLANTINGS FOR BUTTERFLY GARDENS

Mid-Atlantic

BUTTERFLIES
Monarch (Danaus plexippus)
Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax)
Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)
Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)
Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

 

HOST PLANTS
milkweeds
willow, poplar, cherry
(Viola) species
willow, poplar, elm
various mallows, thistles
clovers
clovers and other legumes
willow, poplar, alder
Dutchman's Pipe (Aristolochia)

NECTAR PLANTS
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Monarda (Monarda) species
Goldenrods (Solidago) species
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Verbena (Verbena) species
Joe-pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum)
Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii)

California

BUTTERFLIES
Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus)
Anise Swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon)
West Coast Lady (Vanessa annabella)
Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)
Variable Checkerspot (Euphydryas chalcedona)
Sara Orangetip (Anthocharis sara)
Acmon Blue (Plebejus acmon)
Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)
Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

 

HOST PLANTS
willow, poplar, elm
various parsleys
various mallows
willow, poplar, elm
Scrophularia, Mimulus
various mustards
buckwheats
passion vine
milkweeds

NECTAR PLANTS
Heliotrope (Heliotropum arborescens)
Yerba Santa (Eriodictyon californicum)
Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii)
Thistles (Cirsium species)
Lantana (Lantana camara and others)
Statice (Limonium species)
Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia
California Buckeye (Aesculus californicus)
Yarrow (Achillea species)

Florida

BUTTERFLIES
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Papilio glaucus
Queen (Danaus gilippus)
Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)
Palamedes Swallowtail (Papilio palamedes)
Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charitonius)
Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)
Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor
Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)
Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

 

HOST PLANTS
willow, poplar, alder
milkweeds
citus, hop tree, prickly ash
redbay and other laurels
Passion vine
mallows and legumes
Dutchman's Pipe
Passion vine
milkweeds

NECTAR PLANTS
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii)
Verbena (Verbena braziliensis)
Blazingstar (Liatris species)
Joe-pye Weed(Eupatorium fistulosum)
Phlox(Phlox drummondi)
Firewheel Blanketflower(Gallaridia pulchella)

Great Lakes

BUTTERFLIES
Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax)
Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)
Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)
Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)
Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)
Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

 

HOST PLANTS
willow, poplar, cherry
willow, poplar, elm
clovers
plantago, snapdragons
various violets
various mallows and thistles
Dutchman's Pipe
citrus, hop tree, prickly ash
willow, poplar, alder
milkweeds

NECTAR PLANTS
Butterfly Bush(Buddleia davidii)
False Indigo(Baptisia leucantha)
Lilac(Syringia vulgaris)
Yarrow(Achillea millefolium)
Purple Coneflower(Echinacea purpurea)
Blazingstars(Liatris species)
Phlox(Phlox paniculata)

 

Midwest

BUTTERFLIES
Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax)
Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)
Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme)
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
Silver-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene)
Pipevine Swallowtail(Battus philenor)
Giant Swallowtail(Papilio cresphontes)
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail(Papilio glaucus)
Monarch(Danaus plexippus)

 

HOST PLANTS
willow, poplar, cherry
various violets
clovers and other legumes
various mallows and thistles
various violets
Dutchmans' Pipe
citrus, hop tree, prickly ash
willow, poplar, alder
milkweeds

NECTAR PLANTS
Butterfly Bush(Buddleia davidii)
Black-eyed Susan(Rudbeckia hirta)
Butterfly Weed(Asclepias tuberosa)
Purple Coneflower(Echinacea purpurea)
Swamp Milkweed(Asclepias incarnata)
Mexican Sunflower(Tithonia rotundifolia)
Joe-pye Weeds(Eupatorium species)

 

New England

BUTTERFLIES
Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax)
Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)
Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)
Baltimore Checkerspot (Euphydryas phaeton)
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
Mourning Cloak(Nymphalis antiopa)
White Admiral(Limenitis arthemis)
Sriped Hairstreak(Satyrium liparops)
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail(Papilio glaucus)
Monarch(Danaus plexippus)

 

HOST PLANTS
willow, poplar, cherry
carrot family
various violets
penstemon, plantago, ash, viburnum
various mallows, thistles
willow, poplar, elm
willow, birch, poplar
oak, willow, blueberry, cherry
willow, poplar, alder
milkweeds

NECTAR PLANTS
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Wild Indigo (Baptisia tinctoria)
Lance-leaved Goldenrod (Solidago graminifolia)
Common Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia serotina)
Thistles (Cirsium species)
Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carota)

Rocky Mountains

BUTTERFLIES
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)
Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)
Weidemeyer's Admiral (Limenitis)
Orange Sulphur (Colias philodice)
Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)
Melissa Blue (Lycaeides melissa)
Clodius Parnassian (Parnassius clodius)
Western Tiger Swallowtail(Papilio rutulus)
Anise Swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon)

 

HOST PLANTS
Scrophularia, mimulus
clovers
willow, poplar, elm
willow, poplar
clovers and other legumes
legumes, mallows
legumes
Bleeding Hearts
willow, poplar, elm
parsleys

NECTAR PLANTS
Butterfly Weed(Asclepias tuberosa)
Pincushion Flower(Scabiosa species)
Butterfly Bush(Buddleia davidii)
Buckwheats(Eriogonum species)
Verbena(Verbena species)
Lantana(Lantana camara)and others
Purple Coneflower(Echinacea purpurea)

 

Southeast

BUTTERFLIES
Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax)
Silver-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene)
Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)
Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)
Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)
Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
Monarch (Danaus plexippus)
Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)

 

HOST PLANTS
willow, poplar, cherry
Viola species
clovers
Dutchman's Pipe
Viola species
carrot family
willow, poplar, alder
milkweeds
willow, poplar, elm

NECTAR PLANTS
Butterfly Weed(Asclepias tuberosa)
Butterfly Bush(Buddleia davidii)
Lilac(Syringia vulgaris)
Hoary Mountain Mint(Pycnanthemum incanum)
Purple Coneflower(Echinacea purpurea)
Lanceleaf Coreopsis(Coreopsis lanceolata)
Phlox(Phlox subulata)

Pacific Northwest

BUTTERFLIES
Mourning Cloak(Nymphalis antiopa)
Sara Orangetip(Anthocharis sara)
Painted Lady(Vanessa cardui)
Common Buckeye(Junonia coenia)
Westo Coast Lady(Vanessa annabella)
Gary Haristreak(Strymon melinus)
Clodius Parnassian(Parnassius clodius)
Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus
Anis Swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon)
Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

 

HOST PLANTS
willow, poplar, elm
various mustards
mallows, thistles
plantago, snapdragons
mallows
mallows and legumes
Bleeding Hearts
willow, poplar, elm
parsleys
milkweeds

NECTAR PLANTS
Butterfly Weed(Asclepias tuberosa)
Butterfly Bush(Buddleia davidii)
Globe Amaranth(Gomphrena globosa)
Annual Statice(Limonium species)
Verbena (Verbena bonarensis)
Golden Marguerite(Anthemis tinctoria)

Southwest

BUTTERFLIES
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
Queen (Danaus gilippus)
Marine Blue (Leptotes marina)
Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)
Sara Orangetip (Anthocharis sara)
Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)
Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)
Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)
Two-tailed Swallowtail (Papilio multicaudata
Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

 

HOST PLANTS
mallows, thistles
milkweeds
Plumbago
Passion Vine
various mustards
mallows and legumes
Dutchman's Pipe
citrus, hop tree, prickly ash
choke cherry, hop tree,
milkweeds

NECTAR PLANTS
False Indigo (fruticosa)
Lantana (Lantana camara)
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Narrowleaf Milkweed (Asclepias angustifolia)
Wooly Butterfly Bush (Buddleia marubifolia)
Yarrow (Achillea species)
Verbena (Verbena species)

Texas

BUTTERFLIES
Red-spotted Purple(Limenitis arthemis astyanax)
Gulf Fritillary(Agraulis vanillae)
Clouded Sulphur(Colias philodice)
Queen(Danaus gilippus)
Marine Blue(Leptotes marina)
Pipevine Swallowtail(Battus philenor)
Giant Swallowtail(Papilio cresphontes)
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail(Papilio glaucus)
Zebra Longwing(Heliconius charitonius)

 

HOST PLANTS
willow, poplar, cherry
Passion Vine
clovers
milkweeds
Plumbago
Dutchman's Pipe
citrus, hop tree, prickly ash
willow, poplar, alder, tulip tree
Passion Vine

NECTAR PLANTS
Antelope Horn(Asclepias asperula)
Butterfly Bush(Buddleia davidii)
Viburnum(Viburnum rufidulum)
Verbena(Verbena species)
Purple Coneflower(Echinacea purpurea)
Tall Boneset(Eupatorium altissimum)
Elbow Bush(Foresteria pubescens)