Plants and tips for attracting butterflies to your garden

According to the Smithsonian Institution, there are about 750 species of butterflies in the United States, with perhaps the most common being white cabbage. However, butterfly sightings in gardens are becoming increasingly rare as scientists report that climate change is having a disastrous effect on their numbers.

According to a report published in the journal, about 450 species of butterflies have declined at an estimated rate of 1.6 percent annually in the western United States over the past 40 years. Science In March 2021. Some species are critically endangered, such as the Western Monarch, whose population has declined by 99.9 percent since the 1980s. “Climate change – especially the warmer months in autumn – explain a large part” of this decline, the researchers said. Habitat loss also plays a role.

Do your part to protect these vibrant and beautiful pollinators by turning your green space into a haven for butterflies. Below gardeners explain how to get started.

Common blue butterfly. Scientists report that warmer falls and habitat loss have a significant impact on butterfly numbers.
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What plants are most likely to attract butterflies?

First, find the species of butterflies common in your area so you can fill your garden with flowers that are most likely to attract adults seeking nectar and “host plants” to lay eggs and feed the caterpillars.

Native plants are the best, said Amber Scott Frieda, a Manhattan garden designer News week.

Most butterflies prefer the bright open flowers that grow in full sun, she said. “They also tend to prefer red, orange, yellow, and pink over other flower colors. Like hummingbirds, they prefer more trumpet-shaped flowers, which are easier to collect nectar from.”

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Different plants will attract different species, said Donald Loggins—the last native gardener in New York City’s first community garden, Liz Christie’s Community Garden—and offers a list of 29 choices for your garden.

Plants that attract butterflies

  • Alyssum
  • aster
  • bee balm
  • Butterfly bush
  • plush
  • Universe
  • day
  • obstacle
  • dianthus
  • fennel
  • globe thorns
  • Goldenrod
  • molokhia
  • lavender
  • Liatris
  • plush
  • Musk mallow
  • nasturtium
  • spices
  • phlox
  • conifers
  • Queen Anne’s lace
  • sage
  • scabies
  • Shasta Daisies
  • will last
  • verbena
  • yarrow
  • Zinnia

How to attract caterpillars

To make your garden a true paradise, you can also “use plants that caterpillars love to nibble on, such as parsley and milkweed,” says Frida. She added that parsley and spurge are easy to care for, and they just need lots of sun and moderate water to grow properly.

Gardeners should not be disappointed if the caterpillars do short work of these plants, because that is the whole point of growing. “Today’s happy caterpillars are tomorrow’s beautiful butterflies.”

Loggins also featured a list of the best plants to feed caterpillars from 10 common American species.

  • Blue akmon: buckwheat, lupine, alfalfa milk
  • Painted American Lady: Feltweed
  • Black swallowtail: parsley, dill, fennel, tree
  • Gray comma: gooseberry, azalea, elm
  • Monarch: Spurge
  • Painted Lady (Cosmopolitan): Thistles, mallows, nevitas, yellow geese
  • Sulfur: alfalfa, peas, vetch, clover, asters
  • Western blue tail: Vetch and milk vetch
  • Western swallowtail: willow, plum, alder, sycamore, hops, ash
  • Zebra swallowtail: Papaya

More tips for attracting butterflies

If butterflies are difficult to attract, keeping them may be even more difficult. You might want to take a closer look at one in the garden—and snap it up on Instagram, of course—but don’t make any sudden moves. “You’d better sit and watch it and stay still if you really want to keep it,” Frida said.


Many chemical pesticides kill both beneficial insects and invasive species, so avoid them if you want pollinators in the garden. California-based SummerWinds Nursery states that malathion, carbaryl, and diazinon can be killers for butterflies.

old peasant calendar He also points out that widespread use of pesticides is bad for the rash, which is the main food for royal caterpillars.

You can control pests without chemicals: One possibility is the humble ladybug. Another is a bag of oranges.

Water and sunshine

To create the perfect environment for the butterflies, Loggins suggested installing a water garden, birdbath, or rain tank. “Butterflies are attracted to the muddy puddles they flow into to bring in salt and nutrients as well as water.”

You should also provide them with a place to sunbathe. Butterflies need the sun for guidance and to warm their wings to fly. Place flat rocks in your yard to give the butterflies a place to rest and lie down.”

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