How to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden with Flowers and Herbs

Grow your own butterfly habitat! Learn how to attract butterflies to your garden with echinacea, verbena, and other butterfly attracting plants.

Ever thought of transforming a flower or herb garden into a homemade butterfly habitat? Knowing how to attract butterflies is as simple as understanding what caterpillars and full-grown fliers eat and enjoy.

Then create a desirable environment for these ethereal airborne insects with a selection of herbs and flowers that attract butterflies. From fragrant herbs to brightly-colored perennials, there are so many butterfly attracting plants to choose from.

Read also: Butterfly meaning and symbolism

What do Butterflies Eat?

What exactly do butterflies eat? Most species feast primarily on flower nectar. They can drink the sweet liquid from blossoms and sap flowers on trees.

When their main food source is difficult to find, butterflies will eat what liquids they can find from wet soil, rotting fruits, and animal droppings.

Some are also able to digest pollen from specific flowers that attract butterflies. Plants which are desirable to adult butterflies are known as nectar plants.

The Best Butterfly Attracting Plants

Which plants are ideal for attracting butterflies? There is no single flower blossom or herb that these beautiful insects cannot resist; there are however quite a few highly desirable plants which are sure to attract different butterfly species. Here are ten of the best butterfly attracting plants:
How to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden with Flowers and Herbs

#1. Azaleas

Azaleas | 10 the best butterfly attracting flowers

#2. Honeysuckles

Honeysuckles | 10 the best butterfly attracting flowers

#3. Milkweed

Milkweed | 10 the best butterfly attracting flowers

#4. Asters

Asters | 10 the best butterfly attracting flowers

#5. Red clover

Red clover | 10 the best butterfly attracting flowers

#6. Zinnias

Zinnias | 10 the best butterfly attracting flowers

#7. Daisies

Daisies | 10 the best butterfly attracting flowers

#8. Cosmos

Cosmos | 10 the best butterfly attracting flowers

#9. Hibiscus

Hibiscus | 10 the best butterfly attracting flowers

#10. Orchids

Orchids | 10 the best butterfly attracting flowers

Attracting Butterflies with Host Plants

How is it possible to attract butterflies without making a desirable habitat for caterpillars? Caterpillars feed on the plants themselves.

While they do not require the colorful, fragrant flower beds that adults enjoy, they do need certain plants to survive as they are extremely picky.

Plants that caterpillars can live off of are known as host plants. Adult butterflies are not going to lay eggs without the necessary host plants in the garden.

Each species of butterfly is compatible with several host plants. Flowers such as violets, daisies, asters, and pansies may bring fritillary butterflies, the American painted lady, and the pearly crescentspot. Several species do well with willow, cherry, and apple trees. Desirable herbs include:
How to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden with Flowers and Herbs

#1. Nettles

Nettles | 10 the best butterfly attracting herbs

#2. Passionflower

Passionflower | 10 the best butterfly attracting herbs

#3. Mint

Mint | 10 the best butterfly attracting herbs

#4. Meadowsweet

Meadowsweet | 10 the best butterfly attracting herbs

#5. Dill

Dill | 10 the best butterfly attracting herbs

#6. Anise

Anise | 10 the best butterfly attracting herbs

#7. Fennel

Fennel | 10 the best butterfly attracting herbs

#8. Parsley

Parsley | 10 the best butterfly attracting herbs

#9. Prickly ash

Prickly ash | 10 the best butterfly attracting herbs

#10. Milkweed

Milkweed | 10 the best butterfly attracting herbs

How to Successfully Attract Butterflies

The key to attracting butterflies to your garden is presence. Plant plenty of host herbs or flowers within the garden. Try two or three for best results.

Without a variety of healthy host plants, it will be almost impossible to cultivate a butterfly habitat. If desired, keep these plants in a back area or corner to avoid seeing the butterfly larvae.

Try milkweed for monarchs, parsley for several swallowtail butterfly species, and meadowsweet for spring azure butterflies. Check to find out which species can survive in the climate zone that the garden is in.

As with host plants, grow a variety of nectar plants to attract the adult butterflies. Try leaving pieces of rotting fruit in the garden as well for an additional food source. Essentially, how to attract butterflies to your garden is a matter of cultivating an environment as lovely as these delicate insects themselves.
How to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden with Flowers and Herbs

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