What Kind of Flowers Are in Butterfly Gardens?

Butterfly gardening is a popular form of gardening. Creating a butterfly garden requires determining and preparing a proper location based on size, environmental factors, and the right plants to attract and keep butterflies in the area. A butterfly garden should have nectar-bearing plants that are meant to attract the adult butterflies and host plants that are meant to feed the caterpillars. This keeps the butterfly population growing. Most caterpillars eat on the leaves of the host plant. Therefore, planting a wide variety of plants will attract and maintain a diverse butterfly population.

Butterfly Bush

There are many different butterfly bush species. One of the more common types is the White Profusion Butterfly Bush. It can grow up to 8 feet tall. The flowers are white and bloom from spring through summer. They have a soft silver underside on the leaves, which go nicely together with the white flowers. Butterfly bushes prefer full sun and moist, well-drained soil.

Purplecone Flower

The purplecone flower has purple blossoms with centers that are dark-brown disks. The disks eventually turn orange and become cone shaped. The flowers bloom from June until the first frost in cold regions. Purplecone flower colors have evolved recently into a new variety of bright bold colors. Butterflies find the blossoms irresistible. Purplecones prefer full to part sun, grow well in average garden soil and can tolerate hot conditions.

New England Aster

The New England Aster is a perennial native to the United States. It has big, light-purple to dark-purple flowers with yellow centers. The blooms cluster at the ends of the stems. Asters prefer full sun and moist, rich soil. Butterflies find these blooms very enticing.


The hibiscus is included as a member of the mallow family. This species include large shrubs, trees, perennials or annuals. Hibiscus has dark-green leaves and flowers that grow up to 6 inches in diameter. The brightly colored large flowers come in a variety of colors and their nectar attracts butterflies. Hibiscus prefer rich, well-drained soil and partial sun. They also make good host flowers for caterpillars to feed upon.


Marigolds are annuals or plants that complete their life cycle in one season. There are three types of marigolds: French, African and triploid. French marigold flowers grow up to 2 inches in diameter and come in bright orange and yellow. The American marigolds are taller with larger flowers and the triploid variety bloom non-stop over the summer. Marigolds do best in full sun in well-drained soil. The nectar of these flowers is also excellent for attracting butterflies.

Bee Balm

Bee Balm is commonly referred to as Monarda. It is a perennial with flowers that come in a variety of colors and a foliage that is spicily scented. They prefer full sun to part shade.They can be grown in ordinary garden soil but they also grow well in heavy clay soils. The combination of flower colors and fragrance make bee balm attractive to not only butterflies but hummingbirds as well.

Keywords: Butterfly Gardening Tips, Plants Butterfly Gardens, Types Butterfly Plants

About this Author

Sheri Engstrom has been writing for 15 years. She is currently a gardening writer for Demand Studios. Engstrom completed the master gardener program at the University of Minnesota Extension service. She is published in their book "The Best Plants for 30 Tough Sites." She is also the online education examiner Minneapolis for Examiner.com.