Shrubs That Attract Butterflies

You have some options when trying to attract butterflies to your property with shrubs. Shrubs with the ability to grow under a variety of conditions will garner the attention of these colorful insects and allow you to observe them as they feed. These shrubs are not difficult to grow and will draw in butterflies year after year once you get them established on your acreage.


Buttonbush grows extensively in the wild in the United States in all but the Rocky Mountain States, the Pacific Northwest and parts of the Southwest. Buttonbush will grow even in standing water, but it has no ability to survive dry conditions for any length of time. Buttonbush is a rapid growing deciduous shrub with multiple branches that you can place in partial shade, partial sun or full sun. One of its odd features is that the leaves may grow in twos opposite each other on one part of a branch and in a whorled arrangement in threes and fours on another branch of the same specimen. The creamy white flowers resemble a pincushion and emerge in late spring, persisting through the summer to charm butterflies, birds and bees. The seeds provide nourishment for other wildlife. Grow buttonbush directly from seeds in the springtime, and prune the shrub to keep it under control.

Golden Dewdrop

Drooping and trailing branches are the trademark of the golden dewdrop shrub, a species also called skyflower because of its blue blossoms. It is a perfect shrub if you want to create an entire hedge that butterflies will alight on. The plant grows as wide as it does tall, and if you allow golden dewdrop to grow, it can attain 18 feet in height. Golden dewdrop is a plant of Central and South America, with pockets of it naturalized in states such as Texas and Florida. Golden dewdrop is not a cold climate choice and grows best in Zones 9 through 11, according to the Floridata website. Some individual shrubs may possess many spines, but the fact that in warm climates the flowers can bloom year round will make you overlook the potential for scratches when you prune this shrub. Plant this shrub in full sun, prune it regularly once it starts growing and keep it watered on a regular schedule. Remember, however, that the golden berries it produces are poisonous, so factor in the presence of small kids when planning where to put this shrub to attract butterflies.

Rose Glory Bower

Rose glory bower is a shrub of Oriental origins that has the ability to spread and become invasive, so consider this when choosing it as a butterfly magnet. The plant spreads by way of suckering, sending up offshoots from the roots if you let it. Rose glory bower grows to 6 feet tall and has foot-long leaves that have an oval appearance. The leaves possess a musky odor, but the flowers, red and growing in clusters above the foliage, are pleasantly aromatic. The first frost will kill them but not before butterflies focus on them all summer long. Dig up the suckers of rose glory bower and transplant them in full sun. Cut the tips and plant those if you desire, or extract a portion of the roots and plant it where you want this species to develop. An added benefit for butterflies is that many in their caterpillar stage will eat the leaves.

Keywords: rose glory bower, buttonbush shrub butterflies, golden dewdrop butterflies

About this Author

John has written thousands of articles for Demand Studios, Associated Content and The Greyhound Review. A Connecticut native, John has written extensively about sports, fishing, and nature.