List Butterfly Garden Plants

Butterfly gardens filled with brightly colored flowers provide an oasis of graceful movement as delicate butterflies flit from bloom to bloom. Not only do butterfly gardens provide nectar for these colorful insects, they add beauty and dimension to your yard. With careful selection and an eye for design, you can create a striking display of color to attract and feed hungry butterflies.


Nasturtiums are tender annuals available in a variety of colors from pale yellow to fiery reds that attract butterflies. Dwarf varieties create mounds of color on their delicate heart-shaped leaves, while climbing varieties cover walls or trellises with an explosion of color. Nasturtiums grown on a trellis or allowed to climb natural structures make a striking focal point for any garden. Nasturtiums grow in either full sun or partial shade and bloom from early summer until frost.


Zinnias range in color from yellow and pink to shades of orange and red. Their daisylike blooms provide a resting area for tired butterflies and offer sweet nectar. Long-lasting blooms held on slender upright stems begin in early summer and continue to late fall. Zinnias thrive in full sun and are available in a range of sizes from dwarf 8-inch plants to towering 4-foot varieties.


Marigolds, known for their yellow and orange blooms, create a mass of color. Giant varieties grow to 4 feet or more, while dwarf varieties produce an abundance of blooms on 6- to 8-inch mounds of feathery green foliage. This tender annual thrives in full sun and blooms until frost. Consider marigold for borders or plant dwarf varieties in the foreground for a brilliant display of color that is sure to capture the interest of migrating butterflies.

Purple Coneflowers

Purple coneflower blooms on tall slender stalks and makes a striking display in the center or back of a butterfly garden. These hardy perennials reach heights of 2 to 3 feet and grow in full sun to partial shade. Long-lasting blooms provide color from early summer until frost. Paired with orange blooms, purple coneflower pops with color.


Fall-blooming perennial asters attract butterflies and provide vibrant color in late summer and throughout the fall. Available in pinks, whites and purples, asters bloom profusely on 1- to 2-foot plants and prefer full sun. These clustered blooms are especially attractive to butterflies and add interest to your garden.

Shasta Daisies

Shasta daisies provide sharp contrast to brightly colored flowers. Their pure white blooms are large and showy and bloom throughout the summer. These dense 2-foot plants return each year in large clumps and thrive in full sun or partial shade.


Stately hollyhocks planted at the back of butterfly gardens create height to your garden. Reaching heights of 8 feet or more, these massive plants self-seed, producing new plants each year. Available in shades of pink, white and red, these hardy plants prefer full sun but will tolerate partial shade.

Keywords: butterfy garden, attract butterflies, colorful garden

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.