How to Attract Butterflies to Your Home Garden

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Butterflies are beautiful and make a great addition to your garden. They help to pollinate fruit and vegetable plants as well as increase blooms, while giving you something to watch flutter around while you relax in the yard with your morning coffee or after a long hard day.

attract butterflies to your garden with plants

These beneficial insects can be a bit tricky to get into your garden in the first place but after they learn that your garden is a great place to be many will lay their eggs leaving behind the next generation.

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Attracting Butterflies to Your Garden

There are a few different methods you can try to attract butterflies to your garden. Let’s start by planting to attract butterflies. The most important thing you can do to attract butterflies to your garden is to plant native plants that provide for the needs of the butterflies native to your area. This will attract them by offering food as well as a place to safely lay their eggs.

Best Plants to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden

Here are some of the different plants to grow in your garden to attract butterflies.

  • Milkweed
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Zinnias
  • Black-Eyed Susan
  • Verbena
  • Asters
  • Marigolds


Milkweed is essential for monarch butterflies as it serves as the sole host plant for most caterpillars. Common varieties like Common Milkweed and Butterfly Weed are most often grown in home gardens to attract butterflies. Lantana produces clusters of colorful flowers that attract butterflies with their nectar. It’s a hardy nectar plant and comes in various colors.

milk weed attracts butterflies to your garden

This plant can be quite expensive at nurseries in the north while being wild and treated as a weed in the southern parts of the US. As the name suggests, this butterfly bush is a shrub that is highly attractive to butterflies due to its fragrant and abundant nectar-filled flowers. It comes in different colors and is available in both shrub and dwarf varieties. Planting food plants for butterflies will surely attract a variety of butterflies to your garden.

milk weed is also a butterfly bush

Purple Coneflower

Purple Coneflower is a perennial plant that produces large, daisy-like flowers with a prominent
cone-shaped center. It is a favorite of butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. These purple flowers are a great addition to your medicinal herb garden and can make a wonderful tea. You can get purple coneflower seeds online HERE.

purple coneflower for butterfly garden


Zinnias offer vibrant and long-lasting blooms in a wide array of colors. Their nectar-rich flowers are irresistible to butterflies, making them a fantastic addition to any butterfly garden. These are often used in landscaping and can make a wonderful addition to your yard or garden. You can find seeds to plant your own zinnias online HERE.

zinnias for garden

Black Eyed Susan

Black-Eyed Susans are cheerful yellow flowers with dark centers that are popular among
butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. They are hardy and easy to grow. These look great in
your garden and the contrasting bright colors stand out well to butterflies and other pollinators like bees and hummingbirds. You can plant your own black-eyed Susans and attract your butterflies with seeds found online HERE.

black eyed Susans


Verbena plants produce clusters of small, colorful flowers that butterflies find attractive. They
come in various heights, from groundcovers to taller varieties. These large clusters are also
great for attracting other beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings to your garden.

verbena bush to attract butterflies to your garden


Asters are late-season bloomers that provide nectar when many other flowers have faded. They come in a variety of colors and sizes, attracting butterflies and bees well into the fall. Because these bloom later in the season when many other flowers are dying off they make a great addition to your garden to both attract and sustain butterflies into the fall. Maintaining nectar sources in your garden is an essential part of a successful butterfly garden. 

asters flowers


Marigolds have bright, showy flowers that adult butterflies adore. They are easy to grow and can be used as border plants or in containers. These are great companion plants with much of your garden including tomatoes and cucumbers making them a great way to encourage butterflies to help pollinate your garden.

marigold to attract butterflies to your garden

Offer Butterflies a Safe Drinking Source

This may seem overly simple but butterflies, just like us, need to drink water. Unlike large animals, it is very dangerous for them to drink from typical places where water is available in nature. This is where you come in. You can attract butterflies by building a safe drinking location for them. This safe drinking setup will also help care for bees and other beneficial insects in your garden. Line a small baking dish or shallow pan with pebbles, marbles, or flat stones and fill it with water below the top of the filler to allow for a safe place to rest and drink without falling in.

Attract Butterflies by Providing them with Shelter

Providing a safe space to shelter butterflies is one of the best ways to attract them to your
garden after planting plenty of flowers and plants to lay eggs in. Allow for native grasses to grow tall and provide thick cover plants that can protect your butterflies’ visitors from the scorching sun, pouring rain, and even predators. You can even add actual butterfly houses to your yard. It’s both attractive and functional and can be found online HERE.

Keep Plenty of Sunny Spots in Your Garden

Keeping your garden with plenty of nice sunny areas is a great way to attract butterflies. If you have a yard that is mostly shade you should consider trimming back trees and other sources of shade to leave more space for sun to shine through if possible. This will allow butterflies to bask in the full sun and encourage more blooms on your flowering plants. Keep in mind that it may take time for butterflies to find your garden. You can help by bringing in butterflies that you hatch yourself from eggs. This is a great project to do with kids for them to observe the butterflies’ lifecycle up close and personally. You can find a grow-your-own butterflies at home kit online HERE.

Gardening Essentials

Many of the things listed above can be found at your local garden center or nursery. A few of the items listed above can actually also be found online. Here are a few options for ready-made compost tumblers and bins online:

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