Popular Flower Choices for a Butterfly Garden

Creating a butterfly garden is easy to do and the flowers add beauty and color to your yard, while attracting amazing winged creatures for you to watch and enjoy. As a general rule, it’s best to plant one type of flower in groupings since butterflies are attracted to color. (This post contains affiliate links – see my privacy policy.)

How to create a butterfly garden

Following is a list of popular flowers to plant in your yard to attract butterflies. There are many more flowers that can be planted that aren’t on the list, such as zinnias and asters.

Butterfly Milkweed

You’ll find more than 100 species of butterfly milkweed, but the most common is Asclepias Tuberosa. This bold flower has bright clusters of orange or yellow and orange flowers atop 3-foot stems. You can plant them as seeds in a sunny location and watch them sprout in the spring. Butterfly milkweed blooms in summer and fall and make a great backdrop in a garden due to their height. Pair them with a purple flower such as asters or coneflowers for a stunning display. Hardy in Zones 3-9.

Butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa),

Butterfly Bush

This deciduous-type flower is well-known for attracting butterflies due to its wealth of nectar. It makes a showy statement in the garden, but be advised that this plant can become invasive. Although you can plant it from seeds, I prefer to choose one from the garden center that already has a good start. Hardy in Zones 5-8.

Yellow swallowtail butterfly on butterfly bush

Eastern Purple Coneflower

This is one of my favorite perennial flowers in the garden. The colorful, petaled flower has a round spiny center that’s reminiscent of a hedgehog. This perennial will spread on its own but you can easily dig it up and move it to other locations or share with a friend. You can plant it from seeds or choose a potted plant at your local garden center. Butterflies and bees alike will flock to the popular coneflower. You’ll find a variety of sizes and colors of the coneflower family. Hardy in Zones 3-8.

Eastern Purple Coneflower

Texas Lantana

Be still my heart! From the first time I saw this dainty yet colorful flower of lantana, I was completely smitten. I use it almost anywhere in the garden where there’s enough sun to support it. I especially enjoy adding it to the rock garden around my pond. Texas Lantana (Lantana urticoides) is hardy in Zone 8. Lantana camara is another great choice for attracting both butterflies and hummingbirds. Both are heat and drought tolerant.

Texas Lantana for attracting butterflies

Scarlet Beebalm

Also known as bergamot, this bright red flower attracts bees and butterflies alike. As its name implies, its resin can be used too soothe bee stings. Scarlet beebalm is a perennial herb that grows two to three feet tall and blooms from late June to early August. It’s a premier nectar herb making it a must-have for any butterfly garden. Hardy in Zones 4-9.

Monarda didyma (crimson beebalm, scarlet monarda, Oswego tea or bergamot), aromatic herb

Black-eyed Susan

This sunny beauty brightens any garden with its brilliant yellow stems shooting from a brown center. Be patient, as the flowers start to show during the dog days of August. Black-eyed Susan is remarkably disease and drought tolerant. It prefers a sunny location, doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, but the plant will look its best if you dead-head it. Let some of the flowers go to seed in the fall to attract birds. You can plant the flower from seed or as a bedding plant from the garden center. Hardy in Zones 3-9.

Rudbeckia (Black eyed Susan) flowers


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