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The best flowers for butterfly gardens. Butterflies are beautiful to watch in your garden but they are also very important to our gardens and in nature. These gorgeous flowers will help attract butterflies to your yard.
Butterflies are just so pretty aren’t they?
But there are so many reasons to encourage butterflies to visit your backyard other then their beauty.
Butterflies Are Good Pollinators
Pollination is so important to growing plants. Not only in our own gardens but in nature in general.
Only a small number of plants are truly self-pollinating, all the rest need butterflies, bees and other pollinating insects to help them to reproduce.
Providing a good habitat for butterflies and other pollinators insects in your garden can help to increase your pollination and yields of your plants.
Best Flowers For Butterfly Gardens
There are so many beautiful flowers that help to attract butterflies to your garden. Here are my favourite plants you can use to create a beautiful butterfly garden in your yard.
Butterfly Bush/ Buddleia
As the name hints the Butterfly Bush is highly attractant to butterflies! Hummingbirds love it too.
It comes in many different colours although butterflies seem to prefer the lavender-pink blooms the best. Unlike many other plants listed here the Butterfly Bush only provides nectar to adult butterflies it’s not used by butterflies to lay their eggs on.
This perennial is hardy to zone 5.
Lo & Behold ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ Butterfly Bush (Buddleia) Blue-Purple Flowers, 4.5 in. QuartPugster White Butterfly Bush (Buddleia) White Flowers, 4.5 in. QuartMiss Molly Butterfly Bush (Buddleia) Deep Pink Flowers, 4.5 in. Quart
Yarrow is an easy to grow wildflower and herb that butterflies just love! It comes in many colors from the common white to pinks and now available in brighter colors also.
It’s a nectar-rich flower that will bloom for up to 8 weeks in the late summer. This perennial is hardy to Zone 2.
Phlox is one of my favourite flowers for attracting lots of butterflies and bees to my garden.
My favourite is the Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata) these beautiful perennials grow in upright clumps with tall branching stems growing up 2 to 4’ (60 to 120 cm) high with clusters of lovely flowers on the tops.
The stems are strong and rarely need staking. These sweet flowers bloom for a few weeks from mid to late summer and the flowers are right with nectar attracting many butterflies, Bees and hummingbirds.
Hardy to zone 4 to 8.
Licorice Mint (Agastache foeniculm)
Licorice Mint is a beautiful flower to have in your garden, with it’s heavily scented licorice leaves and tall spikes of lavender edible flowers.
This perennial is a beautiful flower in the mint family that is also non-invasive. Licorice Mint grows to a height of 48” (120 cm) and is perfect for growing in the corner of your butterfly garden. It’s tall flower spikes are highly attractive to butterflies and bees.
Other names for Licorice Mint are Giant Hyssop and Lavender Hyssop.
Bishop’s Flower (Ammi Majus)
This lovely annual flower is often called False Queen Anne’s Lace. It produces large umbels 6” (15 cm) wide covered in tiny white flowers.
Bishop’s Flower is highly attractive to butterflies and many predatory insects that will help your garden. A few include lacewings, ladybugs, parasitoid wasps, and hoverflies.
This pretty annual also makes nice cut flowers and blooms from mid to late summer.
Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
Milkweed commonly thought of as a weed is actually one of the best flowers for attracting butterflies to your garden.
Especially if you are trying to help the beautiful monarch butterflies. Their caterpillars only eat the milkweed plants and so adult monarch butterflies need milkweed to lay their eggs on.
Depending on the variety you grow they can be from 0.5’ (20 cm) to 6’ (2 m) in height and enjoy growing in full sun to partial shade. This perennial is hardy to zone 4.
They will make a lovely addition to your butterfly garden with their pretty pink flowers.
Butterfly Bush Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Although it looks similar this milkweed is not the same as the common milkweed that attracts Monarch caterpillars.
This milkweed is often called orange milkweed because of its brilliant orange flowers. It attracts many butterflies and other beneficial insects to your garden.
Butterfly Bush Milkweed grows to 27” (70 cm) tall topped with orange flowers that later produce fruits that easily release their seeds.
Note that all parts of this plant are harmful if swallowed and they can be toil to chickens.
Basket of Gold (Aurinia saxatilis)
Basket of Gold is a low-growing perennial that produces many golden yellow blooms from mid to late spring. Butterflies and bees love these pretty flower clusters.
It grows to 4-12” (8-30 cm) tall and is perfect for use in rock gardens or flower garden borders. After blooming its silvery foliage makes a wonderful ground cover in your garden.
Plant Basket of Gold in full sun and provide it with good drainage. This easy to grow perennial is hardy in Zones 4 to 10.
Bachelor’s Buttons (Centaurena cyanus)
Bachelor’s Buttons also called Cornflowers are an adorable flower to have in your butterfly garden. These plants have fuzzy grey stems, topped with brightly colored flowers that look like little pompoms.
This easy to grow annual grows 36” (90 cm) tall and is perfect for growing in borders or mixed in with your herbs. Bachelor’s Buttons also make great cut flowers and are easy to dry for dried flower arrangements too.
Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus)
Cosmos is a beautiful annual that comes in a range of off-white and pinks. This lovely flower is very attractive to butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.
Depending on the variety of Cosmos you are growing they get to 36” up to 6’ (90 cm to 1.8 m) tall. Cosmos flowers look beautiful in your butterfly garden, cottage garden and make great cut flowers too.
They will flower from mid-summer to the first frost if you keep the plants deadheaded.
Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea)
Purple Coneflowers are a hardy perennial flower that produces bright, purple-pink petals surrounding a dark purple center cone and growing 32” (80 cm) tall.
It’s perfect for your home garden flower border, cottage garden and of course your butterfly garden. Purple coneflowers will bloom in their first year if started early in the season but it really takes 3 years to start to get amazing blooms.
These coneflowers attract butterflies, hoverflies and parasitic wasps.
Sweetness Dianthus (Dianthus plumarius)
Sweetness Dianthus is a low growing perennial reaching just 6” (15 cm) tall. Because of its low growth hight, it’s perfect for plating in borders or containers.
This beautiful plant produces many flowers from July to October that is very attractant to butterflies.
Hardy in Zones 4 to 8.
Blanketflower (Gaillarida pulchella)
This stunning annual flower is often called Firewheel because of it’s amazing red and yellow coloring. The center has a cone similar to Echinacea flowers but Blanketflower settles start of bright read being tipped in golden yellow.
It’s loved by butterflies and other beneficial insects. A perfect addition to your cut flower garden too!
Bird’s Eyes Gilia (Gilia tricolor)
This pretty annual flower grows 12 to 18” (30 to 45 cm) tall. It has lovely blue flowers with dark centers that blooms from spring to mid-summer with a unique chocolate scent.
These flowers produce a lot of nectar and are highly attractive to butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees.
Zinnia (Zinnia violacea)
Zinnia’s are a stunning addition to your flower garden. This annual comes in many colors including crimson red, rose, deep red, lilac, canary yellow, orange, and white.
They are highly attractant to butterflies and with their strong stems also make a great flower for your cutting garden.
Depending on the variety of Zinnia’s they grow from 8 to 30 inches tall ( 20 to 76 cm)
Strawflower (Xerochrysum bracteatum)
Strawflowers are very easy to grow annual that is highly attractive to butterflies, bees, hoverflies, and other beneficial insects.
They grow on tall, straight stems making them also perfect for your cut flower garden. Strawflowers come in many bright colors including, orange, copper-red, pink, salmon and white.
They grow to be 36 to 40” (90 to 100 cm) tall. Make sure to dry some of these lovely flowers to enjoy in the winter too.
Blue Bouquet (Veronica spicata)
This beautiful perennial grows 12 to 15” (30 to 38 cm) tall with deep blue spires of flowers that last from spring to late summer.
Unlike many perennials, this one will bloom in its first year and put on a better show each year following.
Blue Bouquet is highly attractive to butterflies and bees and perfect for growing in your garden borders or containers.
Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
One of my favourite wildflowers that is native to North America is Black Eyed Susans. These stunning flowers grow 12 to 39” (30 to 100 cm) tall. The flowers are made up of dark brown center cones that are surrounded by brilliant yellow petals.
Black Eyed Susan’s are highly attractive to butterflies and also make lovely cut flowers in your garden.
Lupines (Lupinus polyphyllus)
Lupines are the perfect flower for cottage or wildflower gardens! These plants have stunning flower spikes that come in colors of purple, blue, red, yellow, pink, cream and white.
The blooms are loved by butterflies and bees and this hardy perennial grows to be 3’ (1 m) tall.
What are your favourite flowers to grow in your garden that attract butterflies?
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- How To Grow Snow Peas
Kim Mills is a homeschooling mom of 6 and lives on an urban homestead in Ontario, Canada. Blogging at Homestead Acres she enjoys sharing tips to help you save money, grow and preserve your own food.