20 Flower Choices to Attract Butterflies


Start planting now to make sure butterflies have your garden on their radar!

Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)
Butterfly bushes (Buddleia or Buddleja) are large, fast-growing shrubs whose flowers are irresistible to butterflies. Buddleias are easy-care plants and have a fragrant scent, making them delightful for an outdoor gathering.

Phlox is a low-growing, spreading plant that forms a blanket of blooms all summer. Perennial varieties are great for a year-round groundcover.

Coneflower (Echinacea)
Coneflower is one of the best flowers for attracting butterflies. It adds a flashy touch of color to the late summer landscape. Plant echinacea among a low growing perennial bed where showy flowers will stand above the rest.

Lantana produces profuse color, showing off clusters of tiny, eye-catching blooms in a variety of hues. Typically grown as an annual, it’s an excellent low hedge or accent shrub that you can also train as a standard. It attracts butterflies and tolerates our heat.

Zinnias are an absolute butterfly magnet. They are rich with nectar, and butterflies will gladly float around a large patch of zinnias for hours each day. Deadhead to promote rebloom, and consider planting a dwarf variety such as ‘Profusion’, so they don’t flop over later in summer. Avoid blooms that are very ‘double”, lacking the yellow center, as it will be more difficult for small butterflies to reach the nectar.

Passion Flower
Passion flower is an exquisite and beautiful bloom, and it is also the host plant of the beautiful Gulf Fritillary. Simply put, putting a purple passion vine in your yard gurarantees heavy interest from butterflies, year after year. The caterpillars will eat the foliage before sprouting into butterflies, but passion vine is vigorous enough to regrow from any damage. This vine does like to spread; it would be better alone on a fence or trellis than in a mixed bed with other perennials.

Black-Eyed Susan
Black-eyed Susan is one of the great wildflowers of North America and was one of the first to become a domesticated garden flower. Its showy golden yellow flower head with black centers are a visual delight.

Heliotrope has a sweet, pungent scent that some liken to the smell of cherry pie. It is large flowered yet compact and has attractive, dark green foliage and a bushy habit.

Lavender is a perennial favorite for gardeners and butterflies alike, producing tall, fragrant spikes of purple blooms. Hailing from the Mediterranean, it’s drought-resistant and can take the heat.

The only food source of Monarch caterpillars and a preferred source of nectar for many butterfly species, including the adult Monarch, there are over 100 varieties of milkweeds in North America.

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
A type of milkweed, drought-tolerant butterfly weed isn’t picky about growing conditions. Give it a sunny spot, and you’ll be on your way to a flowery summer. Butterflies, bees and other pollinators can’t resist these bright orange blooms. This perennial pushes through soil in late spring, well after other plants are up and at ‘em.

Pincushion Flower
Pincushion Flower is an annual that is a member of the aster family. The plants grow easily from seed and with enough water and a little shade, will bloom from midsummer to any frost.

Agapanthus comes to life in late summer. It features large, elegant, deep blue bell-shaped blooms that are clustered together on tall, sturdy stems. These showy flower heads stand well above the plant’s foliage.

Aster is an herbaceous perennial that comes in a wide variety of colors. Its daisy-like flowers bloom in late summer and autumn in a sunny site.

Salvia produces fragrant foliage and tall spikes of flowers, usually in shades of purple or white. Its nectar attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

Cheerful, colorful sunflowers attract both bees and butterflies to the garden.

Sedum has thick, succulent leaves that withstand drought and rainy weather. The flower buds form early and remain attractive well into winter. Low-growing types are perfect for rock gardens, while taller varieties thrive in perennial borders.

Goldenrod is a perennial with bright yellow flowers that add color to a late summer garden

Butterflies and hummingbirds can’t resist penta’s flowers, which perch prettily atop deep green leaves. Plants grow 18 to 24 inches tall and 10 to 15 inches wide.