Attracting Butterflies

Long Blooming Perennial Plants

People are always looking for ways to attract butterflies to their garden. The plants listed below are, in my experience, the best for your value and will get immediate results.  These plants are not in any order.  I plant all of these to attract the most variey of butterfly species.

1.  Butterfly Bush-

  • It is a large shrub -like plant with numerous flower buds
  • Intoxicating smell for butterflies/ very fragrant
  • Color: mostly purple (can be white, yellow, and pink)
  • Bloom time summer until first frost
  • Also, deer resistant
  • Easily maintained, cut back and more will bloom
  • Can reseed and be divided for additional plants
  • Some beautiful moths frequent the plant at night

2.  Purple Coneflower- (echinacea)

  • 2-4 feet tall plant
  • drought tolerant
  • Sweet smelling
  • Large cone center
  • Long bloom time summer to fall
  • Color- Pinkish purple petals, however in many color varieties
  • Easily maintained
  • Can reseed and be divided for more plants

3.  Shasta Daisy

  • White petals and yellow center on flower bud
  • Low maintainance
  • Long bloom time
  • 2-4 feet tall
  • Can be divided to make additional plants the following year

4.  Common Milkweed

  • Host plant to Monarch butterflies
  • 4-6 feet tall
  • Can take over a garden!  So plant in an area that you wouldn't mind this!
  • Free if dug from a road side
  • Or plant seeds purchased online in fall
  • Large round balls of flowers- purplish-pink
  • Fragrant, Sweet Smell
  • Late Spring bloom- cn bloom again if cut back
  • Does well in poor soil

5.  Butterfly Weed

  • Another Monarch butterfly host plant
  • 1 1/2-2 feet tall
  • Bright Orange or Yellow flowers
  • Reseeds from seed pods in fall
  • Attracts many butterflies
  • Summer bloom time
  • Does well in drought and poor soil

6.  Catmint (Nepeta)

  • Purple flowers that are abundant
  • Spring- fall bloom time
  • Can be divided for more plants
  • Cutting back promotes new growth
  • Strong, robust smell

7.  Penstemon- Beard Tongue

  • Many colors- I use white , purple, and pink
  • Hummingbirds enjoy this plant also
  • Tall stems with many dainty small flowers
  • Pretty foiliage after flowers fade (expecially if using white variety)

8.  Black-eyed Susan

  • Bright yellow flowers with brown center
  • Reseeds and in a few years you'll have many plants
  • Lasts from late spring to fall frost
  • Roughly 2 feet in height
  • Tolerates full sun and drought

9.  Tall Verbena

  • Tall purple blooms with many off shoots of smaller blooms
  • Mine can get 4 feet tall sometimes
  • Responds well to trimming and cutting back
  • Will rebloom all season
  • Flowers from mid-spring to fall
  • Produces numerous plants in following seasons
  • You will never have to buy this plant again!

10.  Phlox

  • 2- 4 feet in height
  • Purple, white, or pink fragrant blooms
  • Divide second or third year for more plants
  • Responds well to dead-heading (will rebloom)
  • Lbate spring to summer bloom time

11.  Liatris (Blazing-Gay Feather)

  • Spike like flowers in purple or white color
  • Easy to grow from bulbs (I purchase in bulk of 60 for 10 bucks at local garden centers)
  • Mounding perennial (will be larger following year with more flower clusters)
  • Blooms late spring- summer- 2-4 feet tall
  • Nice green foliage after blooms fade
  • Full Sun to Partial Shade

12.  Bee Balm/ Monarda

  • 2-4 feet (short or tall varieties available- I plant many kinds!
  • Purple, bright red, pink
  • Mounding perennial- will spread
  • Easy to transplant/ divide the roots
  • Full Sun
  • Native plant too!
  • Basically takes care of itself
  • Can get leaf mildew- plant according to directions(on plant tag)to help prevent this
  • Some varieties are mildew resistant

Try these out.  You will definitely attract butterflies and hummingbirds.  Additionally your garden will look beautiful and have continuous blooms all summer.  As a plus, you could cut these flowers for a lovely bouquet.  For a faster way, and cheaper, take divided plants from a friend's garden.  Many communities have plant sharing of divided perennials to help build garden sites as well.  I am always willing to share plants that I have in abundance.  Happy gardening!



Butterfly Bush Flower with Female Monarch

Butterfly Bush (purple) with MonarchCredit: butterflyteacher(me)Credit: butterflyteacher(me)

Male Monarch in Black-eyed Susan Patch

Monarch in a field of Black-eyed SusansCredit: butterflyteacher (me)bbCredit: butterflyteacher (me)bb

Phlox- purple

Phlox- purpleCredit: butterflyteacher (me)Credit: butterflyteacher (me)

Beard-Tongue White- not bloomed yet!

Beard Tongue- White Color Flowers not-bloomedCredit: butterflyteacher (me)Credit: butterflyteacher (me)

Bloomed Common Milkweed

Common Milkweed in BloomCredit: butterflyteacher (me)Credit: butterflyteacher (me)

Purple Coneflower

Purple ConeflowerCredit: butterflyteacher (me)Credit: butterflyteacher (me)

Butterfly Weed- Asclepias Tuberosa

Orange Butterfly WeedCredit: butterflyteacher (me)Credit: butterflyteacher (me)

Eastern Black Swallowtail on Purple Coneflower

Butterfly on Purple ConeflowerCredit: butterfyteacher (me)Credit: butterfyteacher (me)

Ruby Throated Hummingbird on White Liatris

Hummingbird on LiatrisCredit: butterflyteacher (me)Credit: butterflyteacher (me)