Here’s Every Plant That Attracts Butterflies

A monarch butterfly feeding at a purple aster.
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A home garden filled with butterflies is a breathtaking scene. Like other insects, though, they're in precipitous decline. To help these gorgeous creatures stay alive, and enjoy their spectacular beauty in your garden, cultivate some of the plants they love to visit.

Aster (Asteraceae)

Native to Eurasia, these hardy, colorful plants can grow in gardens anywhere on Earth. Their name comes from the Ancient Greek word for star.

Find Aster seeds on Amazon here.

Autumn Joy (Sedum)

The autumn joy sedum is a succulent—easy to maintain, drought tolerant, and happy in full sunlight. On average, it attains a height of 18 inches to 24 inches. If you provide the right care, you should be able to host plenty of butterflies in less than a year.

Purchase established flowers today.

Bee Balm (Monarda)

a bright red spiky bee balm flower

This fragrant member of the mint family can be used to make a pleasant essential oil, and has been used for thousands of years as a medicine for headaches, fevers, and upset tummies.

Check out mondara in a host of colors.

Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia Hirta)

These cheery, long-blooming flowers have markings invisible to humans, but appealing to butterflies, who can see colors in the ultraviolet range.

Find seeds for these beautiful biennials here.

Blazing Star (Liatris)

These perennial plant blooms from late summer to early fall. They prefer sunlight and a little shade. They also need to be watered regularly. They manage to grow to a height of between four and six inches. The blooming flowers are very attractive to insects, especially butterflies.

Attract butterflies today with these liatris bulbs.

Blue Wild Indigo (Baptisia)

This hardy North American flower has been introduced all over the world, and can thrive in relatively stony, dry soil.

Butterfly Bush (Buddleja)

a butterfly on a purple flower

The butterfly bush is a beautiful shrub that grows very fast. It has spiked tussles that bloom from summer to autumn. Its flowers come in different colors but butterflies tend to be attracted more to the lavender-pink ones.

It thrives well under the sun, and it needs moist soil. This plant is not a host but only provides nectar to the butterflies. You will enjoy the sight of butterflies swimming around your yard for as long as this plant blooms.

Butterfly bush available here.

Butterfly Flower (Asclepias)

Butterflies love this bushy flower both because it provides nourishing nectar and because its leaves and stems contain a substance that makes those who feed on it taste terrible to predators.

Chives (Allium Schoenoprasum)

butterfly on purple chive flowers

Chive flowers attract butterflies with their delicious nectar. There are two types of chives—the traditional one and the garlic version. The traditional chive produces lilac blossoms, whereas the garlic version produces white blooms. Both species are palatable and can be used as a garnish to flavor your food.

Start growing herbs for you and your pollinator friends today.

Coneflower (Echinacea)

purple cornflower

This fragrant herb requires low maintenance and thrives in full sunlight. It produces beautiful blooms from summer to fall, and has widely touted medicinal properties.

Check out heirloom coneflower seeds here.

Daisy (Leucanthemum)

These sweet, simple flowers can spread quickly in a broad range of conditions, making great food for butterflies and bees.

Goldenrod (Asteraceae)

goldenrod flowers

The second group of plants that attract butterflies is the Goldenrod. The Goldenrod, also known as Solidago, is a genus of about 100 to 120 species of bright flowers. It reproduces through its stem, roots as well as its seeds. It has healing properties, and it is edible. Some common flowers in this species include Canada goldenrod, which grows to a height of 5 ft and the Wisconsin goldenrod.

Grasses (Poaceae)

In addition to food, butterflies need places to shelter and breed. Long ornamental varieties make great landscaping grace notes.

Hollyhocks (Alcea)

purple hollyhock blossoms

These stately flowers grow in tower shapes, attracting humming birds as well as butterflies.

Sow a colorful mix of hollyhock with fresh seeds.

Hyssop (Hyssopus Officinalis)

This perennial herb is commonly known as lavender hyssop or giant purple hyssop. It produces tall and spiky blooms, which are purple. For it to thrive well, it needs moist soil, sun, and a little shade. The hyssop is well-known for its medical benefits. However, it is also one of the perennial flowers that attract butterflies the most. It blossoms from summer to mid-fall. Well-Matured purple hyssops attain a height of 24 inches to 6 feet.

Iron Weed (Vernonia)

This plant grows a brilliant purple flower which attracts plenty of butterflies. It thrives well in full sunlight and moist soil, and makes a good host for the American lady butterfly, one of the most beautiful butterfly species in North America. It fully blossoms to a height of between four and six inches.

Joe-Pye Weed (Eutrochium Purpureum)

a butterfly on a pink flower

A member of the sunflower family, joe-pye weed grows thick, tall fronds and blooms in the mid-summer to early fall. Tolerant to many kinds of weather and soil type, it boasts a sweet scent that attracts all types of butterflies.

Lantana (Verbenaceae)

The leaves of these beautiful, cluster flower plants may offer antimicrobial properties.

Milk Weed (Asclepias)

milkweed flowers

This plant is also known as the butterfly weed. It attracts butterflies with its bright flowers and honey. It is perennial and slowly blossoms during mid-summer. Thanks to its scent, it is one of the plants that attracts plenty of butterflies. Given that it can grow in many areas, you should purpose to plant the Milk Weed in your garden.

Add a potted milk weed to the yard as a butterfly magnet.


Family (Lamiaceae)

Lavender and rosemary are two of the herbs that make tasty treats for both butterflies and humans.

Phlox (Polemoniaceae)

lightly colored phlox flowers in bright sun

The leaves of this flowering plant make an excellent food source for butterfly larvae, as well as other wildlife. Creeping varieties grow quickly, making them a great choice for ground cover.

Pipevine (Aristolochia)

Also known as Dutchman's pipe and bithwort, these flowers have distinctive, almost lizard like appearance.

a large pipevine flower

Salvia (Salvia Divinorum)

Long blooming and resistant to drought, these exotically shaped flowers appeal to hummingbirds, too. Their leaves have natural psychoactive properties.

Snapdragon (Plantaginacae)

These gorgeous, dramatic flowers require regular water and well drained soil.

Stonecrop (Sedum)

These appropriately named flowers can flourish in xeriscaped spaces, so they're great for drought prone regions.

Plant these stonecrop seeds and water them sparingly.

Sunflower (Helianthus)

the center of a large sunflower

The round centers of these popular classics are themselves made up of tiny little flowers.

Verbena (Vervain)

Regarded as a spiritual plant by many cultures, this flower was known as "Tears of Isis" in ancient Egypt, and "Hera's Tears" in ancient Greece.

Wild Celery (Angelica)

This family of tall-stalked herbs have ancient uses from topical wound treatment to respiratory relief, and in some places the roots are a traditional food.

Wild celery seeds available here.

Yarrow (Asteracae)

This pretty plant produces bushy clusters of tiny blossoms. Birds love this material for making nests.

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