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Butterfly Garden

Would you like to see butterflies in your garden?  There are a few things you should know, and websites with information can be more than you really want to know.  Here are the essentials:

There are two kinds of plants that interest butterflies.

Nectar plants.....  where butterflies come to eat, and

Host plants... where the butterflies will lay their eggs. 

Butterflies are species specific, meaning that most species of butterfly can only lay their eggs on one plant.  So if you have host plants in your garden the butterflies will make special efforts to find you.  Of course that means you will have caterpillars eating the leaves, but we think that is the fun part!  These plants need direct sun.


Monarchs can only lay eggs on MilkweedThe Monarch populations are so threatened that I strongly recommend that  you plant Milkweed!  It comes in different colors.

Gulf Fritillaries can only lay their eggs on Passion Vine ( the "3 fingered" leaf only)

Swallowtails will seek Sweet Fennel  and parsley.

Giant Swallowtails want Common Rue (Ruta graveolens) .

Sulphurs need Cassia or Senna

There are many more you can find online if you are interested.


Pretty and desirable nectar plants I recommend are:

#1  Star Clusters / Pentas ...Pentas comes in a lot of colors but the red attracts the most butterflies and hummingbirds! The red can get big but I cut it back to keep it at 4 feet.  The butterflies in my home and school gardens will fly right past the other plants to feed at the Red Pentas!  These flowering plants also come in white, different pinks, lavender, and a great violet color!  Pentas in these colors stay low... around 2 feet, and spread out to 3 feet wide, so you can buy them small and space them.


Here are some good nectar plants, but butterflies can really go to any nectar plant.


Common Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus) and Yellow Cosmos (Cosmos silphureus)

Pincushion Flower (Scabiosa spp.)

Asters, Chrysanthemums, and Marigolds.

Butterfly Bush (Buddleia spp.)These can get REALLY BIG! (15 feet!)  Feel free to cut them back.

Camara Lantana (Lantana camara) and Lilac Lantana (Lantana montevidensis)


Good luck!  Let me know if you have questions.

Ellen Bialik

2nd grade Teacher