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Flowers that will attract butterflies

By: Garden Gate staff
Here are some well-known garden flowers and the butterflies they will attract.

butterfly-plants-web-extra-70-lead: A tiger swallowtail butterfly rests on garden phlox

What plants are favorites for butterflies who need a quick energy snack? Well, it varies with the butterfly. But to point you in the right direction, here are some well-known garden flowers and the butterflies who find them tasty.

This list is by no means complete — there are so many butterflies and so many plants they like. Put a few of these favorites in your garden. Then as butterflies arrive for lunch, watch to see what else they feast on. Next year, be sure to add more of those plants to your garden.


Plant name Butterflies it attracts
Aster (Aster spp.) Sleepy orange, painted lady, checkered skipper, sachem, silver-spotted skipper, monarch, red admiral
Bee balm (Monarda spp.) Painted lady, Milbert’s tortoise shell, mourning cloak, eastern swallowtail
Blanket flower (Gaillardia spp.) Great spangled fritillary, cloudless sulphur, clouded sulphur, alfalfa butterfly, silvery checkerspot, red admiral, monarch, giant swallowtail
Blazing star (Liatris spp.) Painted lady, fritillary
Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) Monarch, blue swallowtail,Gorgone checkerspot, spicebush swallowtail, coral hairstreak, mourning cloak
Chicory (Cichorium intybus) Little sulphur
Coreopsis (Coreopsis spp.) Silver-spotted skipper, pearl crescent, American painted lady, great spangled fritillary, spring azure
Garden mum (Chrysanthemum x morifolium) Monarch, cloudless sulphur
Garden phlox (Phlox paniculata) Silvery checkerspot, blue swallowtail, black swallowtail, spicebush swallowtail, tiger swallowtail
Globe thistle (Echinops ritro) Painted lady, gray hairstreak
Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) Monarch, clouded sulphur, alfalfa butterfly, eastern tailed blue, viceroy
Grape hyacinth (Muscari spp.) Silver-spotted skipper, clouded sulphur, alfalfa butterfly
Joe-Pye weed (Eupatorium spp.) Monarch, viceroy, painted lady
Moss phlox (Phlox subulata) Black swallowtail, tiger swallowtail, spicebush swallowtail, pearl crescent, painted lady
Peony (Paeonia officinalis) Spicebush swallowtail, silver-spotted skipper, Peck’s skipper, tawny-edged skipper, little wood satyr
Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) Spicebush swallowtail, silver-spotted skipper, tawny-edged skipper, sachem, wood nymph, great spangled fritillary, harvester, eastern tailed blue
Red clover (Trifolium pratense) Pearl crescent, alfalfa butterfly, little sulphur, spicebush swallowtail
Salvia (Salvia x superba) Cloudless sulphur, hoary edge
Tall sedum (Sedum spectabile) Silver-spotted skipper, sachem, pepper and salt skipper, pearl crescent, painted lady, buckeye, monarch, grey hairstreak


Plant name Butterflies it attracts
Cosmos (Cosmos spp.) Sachem, silvery checkerspot, pearl crescent, buckeye, alfalfa butterfly, cloudless sulphur
Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) Cloudless sulphur
Lantana (Lantana spp.) Buckeye, alfalfa butterfly, pearl crescent, fiery skipper, red admiral, monarch, gulf fritillary
Marigold (Tagetes spp.) Sleepy orange, silvery checkerspot, pearl crescent, buckeye, clouded sulphur, alfalfa butterfly, dog face, cloudless sulphur, little sulphur, dainty sulphur, great spangled fritillary
Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia) Painted lady
Petunia Petunia hybrids Spicebush swallowtail, European butterfly, cloudless sulphur, Peck’s skipper, Zabulon skipper
Snapdragon (Antirrhinum spp.) Sachem
Verbena (Verbena canadensis) Cloudless sulphur, blue swallowtail, spicebush swallowtail, black swallowtail
Zinnia (Zinnia elegans) Sachem, pepper and salt skipper, roadside skipper, Southern cloudy wing, great spangled fritillary, silvery checkerspot, pearl crescent, painted lady, red spotted purple, variegated fritillary, monarch, alfalfa butterfly

Shrubs & Vines

Plant name Butterflies it attracts
Butterfly bush (Buddleja spp.) Blue swallowtail, spicebush swallowtail, cloudless sulphur, fiery skipper
Hydrangea (Hydrangea spp.) Little wood satyr
Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) Blue swallowtail, zebra swallowtail, tiger swallowtail, spicebush swallowtail
Published: April 30, 2012

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