A butterfly garden is a multi-purpose garden, it performs in both beauty and function. By using some of these plants to create a butterfly garden, a wide array of butterflies will be attracted to your landscape for food, lodging and to reproduce. You will get to enjoy the floral beauty and fragrance, plus have the enjoyment of watching butterflies (called flying flowers) flitter about your yard.
Butterfly Flower (Butterfly Bush, Buddleia davidii)
Beautiful spike of fragrant blooms produce an abundance of nectar that attract butterflies. The butterfly bush come in different flowering colors that bloom summer through fall. and will reach a height of about 12 feet. Easy care bush will reach a mature size of 10 feet tall and wide if left un-pruned. Hardy in USDA growing zones 5-10.
Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Irresistible plant for monarch butterflies and caterpillars. Flowering swamp milkweed is not a weed and comes in many varieties. Butterflies are attracted to it for both food and lodging. Native to the United States and Canada, this plant will grow to reach 6 feet tall and 5 feet wide and produces summer blooms in shades of pink and purple. Hardy in USDA growing zones 3-8.
Bee Balm (Monarda)
Also known as Oswego Tea, fragrant Bee Balm and is member of the mint family. The plant is edible from top to bottom and emits an orange fragrance when touched. Bloom colors includes red, purple, pink and white. The perennial plants are rapid growers, reaching a mature height of 4 very quickly. Butterflies, as well as bees and hummingbirds, enjoy the rich nectar found in the flat, open-faced blooms. Bee Balm enjoys partial shade and is hardy in USDA growing zones 4-9.
Autumn Joy Sedum (Sedum spectabile)
Long-blooming flowers in shades of pink and copper are produced on this low-growing succulent plant. Mature height will be 1 foot, but it can be pruned to remain even lower. Blooms appear in summer and last until late fall when the faded blooms give way to interesting seed heads. Autumn Joy Sedum prefers full sun, moist soil and is hardy in USDA growing zones 4-11.
Butterflies must warm their bodies before they can become active. They position themselves in direct sun and spread their wings to act as solar panels that absorb the sun’s rays. Add a few rocks on the east side of the butterfly garden to provide a place for butterflies to solar power themselves for the day.