Butterflies are a common sight in gardens and meadows, fluttering from flower to flower in search of nectar. These beautiful creatures play an important role in pollination and add color and movement to any outdoor space. But what flowers are most likely to attract them?
The best flowers for attracting butterflies are those that are brightly colored, fragrant, and produce a lot of nectar. These include:
- Milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) – Milkweeds are the only host plant for monarch butterflies, making them an essential addition to any butterfly garden. They produce clusters of pink, purple, or orange flowers that are rich in nectar.
- Lantanas (Lantana camara) – Lantanas produce clusters of brightly colored flowers in shades of yellow, orange, pink, and purple. They are a favorite of many butterfly species, including monarchs, swallowtails, and sulphurs.
- Zinnias (Zinnia spp.) – Zinnias are easy-to-grow annuals that come in a wide range of colors and sizes. They produce large, daisy-like flowers that are particularly attractive to monarchs and other butterflies.
- Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) – As the name suggests, butterfly bush is a top choice for attracting butterflies. It produces spikes of fragrant, nectar-rich flowers in shades of purple, pink, or white.
- Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) – Purple coneflower is a long-blooming perennial that produces large, daisy-like flowers in shades of pink, orange, and purple. It is a favorite of many butterfly species, including monarchs, swallowtails, and fritillaries.
- Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) – Goldenrod is a tall, native wildflower that produces clusters of small, yellow flowers. It is a favorite of many butterfly species, including monarchs, swallowtails, and skippers.
- Coreopsis (Coreopsis spp.) – Coreopsis is a hardy perennial that produces bright yellow, daisy-like flowers that are rich in nectar. It is a favorite of many butterfly species, including monarchs, swallowtails, and skippers.
In addition to planting the right flowers, there are other steps you can take to create a butterfly-friendly garden. These include:
- Providing a source of water: Butterflies need water to survive, so be sure to provide a shallow dish or a shallow bowl of water in your garden.
- Avoiding pesticides: Pesticides can harm butterflies and other beneficial insects, so avoid using them in your garden.
- Providing shelter: Butterflies need a place to rest and hide from predators, so be sure to include some tall grasses or shrubs in your garden.
- Providing a host plant: Many butterflies need a specific host plant on which to lay their eggs, so be sure to include it in your garden.
- Planting in large clusters: Planting flowers in large clusters, rather than small groups, will make them more visible to butterflies.
Creating a butterfly garden is a great way to attract these beautiful creatures to your outdoor space and to help support the pollinators that play an important role in our ecosystem. By providing the right flowers, water, and shelter, you can create a haven for butterflies and enjoy watching them flutter through your garden all season long.