How to Attract Butterflies


Butterflies can be a colorful and animated addition to your backyard garden. Watching them flit from flower to flower or take sips of water from a bird bath can bring hours of enjoyment. Not only are they beautiful, but they also are great pollinators for flowers. You can attract butterflies by using plants that can serve as places for them to lay eggs, act as food for caterpillars and are sources of nectar for the adult. Not just any plants will do, however, so it's a good idea to do your homework before planting your butterfly garden.

Step 1

Ensure that the area you are planning for your butterfly garden is protected from wind and other elements and has sufficient sunlight.

Step 2

Create puddles by placing coarse sand and little water in a shallow pan or bird feeder. It will provide drinking water for butterflies. Keep the sand moist.

Step 3

Plant flowers that have red, yellow, orange, pink or purple blossoms, are flat-topped or clustered and have short flower tubes.

Step 4

Familiarize yourself with the different species of butterflies in your area and plant local, native, flowering plants that will provide an appropriate food source.

Step 5

Feed the caterpillars by growing food plants specific to the species you want to attract.

Step 6

Provide a continuous bloom by growing various types of flowering plants that bloom at different times.

Step 7

Put flat stones in the garden to give butterflies space to rest in the sun. Provide butterfly houses or stacks of wood branches in which butterflies can overwinter.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not use any pesticides, such as malathion, Sevin or diazinon, or even biological pesticides such as Bacillus thuringiensis, as these are lethal to butterflies and caterpillars, alike.

Things You'll Need

  • Local, native flowering plants
  • Shallow pan or bird bath
  • Coarse sand
  • Flat rocks


  • Attracting Butterflies
  • How to Make Butterfly Gardens
Keywords: butterfly bush, butterfly plants, draw butterflies, butterfly garden

About this Author

In Jacksonville, Fla., Frank Whittemore is a content strategist with over a decade of experience as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy and a licensed paramedic. He has over 15 years experience writing for several Fortune 500 companies. Whittemore writes on topics in medicine, nature, science, technology, the arts, cuisine, travel and sports.