Want butterflies Well, plant these beauties!

Annual Plants to Attract Butterflies

 It is an amazing sight to see a variety of butterflies in your backyard.  Everyone should exprience this first hand.  To be honest it is really easy to do, if you plant the right collection of annual plants. 

For beginners I suggest annuals because these plants only live one season (late spring/summer to fall) and then die.  By planting annuals, you can try different combinations and observe what the butterflies in your area prefer.  Then the following year plant more specifically for your own yard.  I keep many gardens; at my school, my home, my parent's house, and my grandparent's home and at each location the butterflies enjoy different annuals. 

So try out a few of my suggestions below and see what will work for you.  You will get butterfly visitors by smply planting these annual plants.  I reccommend these from my own experiences and success with raising butterflies. 

My Top Suggested Annual Plants:

1.  Zinnias!- this would be my number 1 "go to" plant- they can grow 12-36 inches depending on variety.  They can be found at large garden centers and farm garden stores.  I would plant atleast 6-12 plants.  They also are easy to plant from seed. Just follow the packet of seed directions.

2.  Cosmos- daisy looking flower- I buy the pink, white, and hot pink variety (there is also orange- but I rarely see butterflies on the orange).  These can produce many blooms all summer long, just keep cutting off faded flowers. Can get quite tall!

3.  Lantana- Any color of this hardy plant I would HIGHLY suggest.  I personally love the red/yellow variety. It is a low growing plant with a woody stem.  It is an annual in zones 5-8.  Butterflies love, love, love this plant!

4.  Tropical Milkweed- This is an annual milkweed that is sometimes called Blood Flower- It is yellow and red in flower color. A bit harder to find...but VERY easy to grow from seed.  I purchased seed from the internet one season and then found it as a plant at a local nursery.  It can get up to 3 feet!

5.  Heliotrope- purple or white- very fragrant! Short plant 6-12 inches

6.  Mexican Sunflower- name is Tithonia.  This is a TALL annual- about 6 feet with numerous blooms that are orange.  Again easy to grown from seed, found at farm nurseries!

7.  Regular Sunflowers- very tall, pretty blooms though.

8.  Annual Phlox- I buy red and pink in color!

9.  Petunias- all colors work, I have had the best experience with purple personally

10 Salvia- the annual variety red or purple- Ialways choose red so that I also attract hummingbirds!

11.  Agastache- Pink Pop (salmon color flowers) fragrant leaes and flowers- A mint family plant.  Sometimes comes back the next year from seed dropped!

12.  Nasturtium- all colors, from seed or from the herb section in garden centers.

13.  Pentas-Egyptian Star flower is another name!  Pink color, red, or purpe- fragrant!  Love this plant. 

I have my favorite plants from the list above and you will too!  You will get butterflies in your yard if you plant the flowers above.  For my gardens, I plant at least 25 plants total of a variety of combinations.  Space is limited in my garden so  I follow the planting guidlines on the little plant infomation cards when purchasing plants to plan out where to place them in the garden. 

Please look to other articles from me to read about some other ways to attract and possibly raise butterflies in your home or just to your garden!  Let me know of any plants you have tried.  I am always willing to try new plants. 

Great Spangled Fritillary on Zinnia

Variegated Fritillary on a ZinniaCredit: butterfly teacherCredit: butterfly teacher

Zinnia Garden

Goldfinch on ZinniaCredit: butterfly teacherCredit: butterfly teacher

Buckeye Butterfly on Lantana

Buckeye butterfly on LantanaCredit: butterfly teacher (me)Credit: butterfly teacher (me)

Monarch Butterfly on Zinnia Plant

Monarch on ZinniaCredit: butterfly teacherCredit: butterfly teacher

Mexican Sunflower

Mexican Sunflower

Cosmos Hot Pink


Pentas with a hummingbird visitor