Butterfly Nectar Plants

Creating a Butterfly Garden involves planning your garden to attract, retain, and encourage butterfly populations to visit. You should select a variety of nectar-producing plants (butterfly food plants) with the goal of providing flowers in bloom throughout the season. This will encourage a continuous succession of new visitors to your butterfly garden. It is especially important to have flowers in mid to late summer, when most butterflies are active. Flowers with multiple florets that produce abundant nectar are ideal. Butterfly Bush and Butterfly Weed are some of the most popular flowers used by butterfly gardeners.

Below is a list of favorite food/ nectar plants that will bring enjoyment to both the gardener and the butterfly!

Butterflies and Plants

Species Nectar Plants
Swallowtail
Butterfly Thumb
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Blue Cardinal Flower, Bloodflower, Brazilian Verbena, Butterfly BushButterfly Weed, Garlic Chives, Common Milkweed, Daisy Fleabane, Dames Rocket, Dogbane, Globe
SwallowtailHeliotrope, Joe-Pye Weed, Lantana, Late-flowering Boneset, Liatris, Marigold, Mist Flower, New England Aster, New York Ironweed, Oregano, Oriental Lilies, Petunia, Phlox, Privet, Purple Coneflower, Sweet Pepperbush, Tickseed Sunflower, Tithonia, Verbena, Wild Bergamot , Wingstem,. Zinnia
Spicebush SwallowtailButterfly Bush, Delphinium, Cosmos, Lantana, Oriental Lilies, Phlox, Privet, Wild Bergamot
Pipevine SwallowtailBrazilian Verbena, Butterfly Bush
Black SwallowtailBloodflower, Brazilian Verbena, Butterfly BushCommon Milkweed. Joe-Pye Weed, Late-flowering Boneset, Oregano, Privet, Purple Coneflower, Wild Bergamot, Zinnia
Pieridae
Cabbage WhiteArugula, Bloodflower, Brazilian Verbena, Butterfly BushButterfly Weed, Collards, Catnip, Common Dandelion, Creeping Wood Sorrel, Common Sage, Daisy Fleabane, Dame’s Rocket, Day Lily, Dogbane, Globe Amaranth, Ground Ivy, Heath Aster, Lantana, Late-flowering Boneset, Lavender, Liatris, Marigold, Mint, Mist Flower, Mustard Greens, New England AsterOregano, Radishes, Red Clover, Salvia “Blue Bedder,” Sedum (Autumn Joy), Small White Aster, Sweet Pepperbush, Thyme, Tickseed Sunflower, Tithonia, Valerian, White Clover, Winter Cress, Zinnia
Clouded SulphurBrazilian Verbena, Common Dandelion, Ground Ivy, Heath Aster, Marigold, Mist Flower, New England Aster, Privet, Purple Coneflower, Showy Coneflower, Tithonia,
Orange SulphurBlack-Eyed Susan, Bloodflower, Brazilian Verbena, Butterfly BushButterfly Weed, Common Dandelion, Cosmos, Dame’s Rocket, Globe Amaranth, Ground Ivy, Heath Aster, Joe-Pye Weed, Late-flowering Boneset, MarigoldNew England Aster, New York Ironweed, OreganoPurple Coneflower, Red Clover, Salvia “Blue Bedder,” Showy Coneflower, Smooth Aster, Tithonia (Mexican Sunflower), White Clover, Zinnia
Sleepy OrangeAbelia, Butterfly Weed, Cosmos, Marigold, Zinnia
Hairstreaks and Blues
Eastern Tailed BlueCreeping Wood Sorrel, Dogbane, Garlic Chives, Ground Ivy, Heath Aster, Mist Flower, Oregano, Showy Coneflower, White Clover, Late-flowering Boneset
Spring and Summer AzureAmerican Holly, Black-Eyed Susan, Butterfly BushCommon Milkweed, Dogbane, Heliotrope, Late-flowering Boneset, Oregano, Mint, Privet, Radishes, Red Clover, Sedum (Autumn Joy), Sweet Pepperbush, White Clover,
Gray HairstreakBloodflower, Brazilian Verbena, Butterfly Weed, Catnip, Creeping Wood Sorrel, Garlic Chives, Dogbane, Globe Amaranth, Heath Aster, Lantana, Late-flowering Boneset, Liatris, Mint, Oregano, Salvia, Sedum (Autumn Joy), Showy Coneflower, Small White Aster, Sweet Pepperbush, Tansy, Tickseed Sunflower, Tithonia (Mexican Sunflower), White Clover,
Red-Banded HairstreakBoneset, Brazilian Verbena, Butterfly Bush, Garlic Chives, Dogbane, Globe Amaranth, Heath Aster, Joe-Pye Weed, Late-flowering Boneset, Sedum (Autumn Joy), Showy Coneflower, Small White Aster, Swamp Milkweed, Tall Goldenrod, White Clover,
Banded HairstreakButterfly BushCommon Milkweed, Dogbane, Purple Coneflower
White M HairstreakGarlic Chives, Heath Aster, Late-flowering Boneset, Red Clover, Small White Aster.
Brushfoots
American SnoutLate-flowering Boneset
Variegated Fritillary
Variegated Fritillary
Black-Eyed Susan, Bloodflower, Brazilian Verbena, Butterfly Bush, Globe Amaranth, Marigold, Mist Flower, New England AsterOregano, Red Clover, Zinnia
Great Spangled FritillaryButterfly BushButterfly Weed, Garlic Chives, Common Milkweed, Dogbane, Late-flowering Boneset, MarigoldPurple Coneflower, Swamp Milkweed,
Pearl CrescentBlack-Eyed Susan, Bloodflower, Butterfly Weed, Common Dandelion, Daisy Fleabane, Globe Amaranth, Garlic Chives, Heath Aster, Late-flowering Boneset, Marigold, Mist Flower, New England Aster, Sedum (Autumn Joy), Showy Coneflower, Small White Aster, Stiff Goldenrod, Tickseed Sunflower, White Clover, Zinnia
Monarch
Monarch
Blue Cardinal Flower, Bloodflower, Brazilian Verbena, Butterfly BushButterfly WeedCommon Milkweed, Globe Amaranth, Heath Aster, Heliotrope, Joe-Pye Weed, Lantana, Late-flowering Boneset, Marigold, Mist Flower, Mustard Greens, New England Aster, New York Ironweed, Oriental Lilies, Showy Coneflower, Smooth Aster, Swamp Milkweed, Tithonia (Mexican Sunflower), Wingstem, Zinnia
Red-Spotted AdmiralBrazilian Verbena, Butterfly Bush, Garlic Chives, Late-flowering Boneset, Mist Flower, Pink Turtlehead, Purple Coneflower,
Painted Lady
Painted Lady
Brazilian Verbena, Butterfly BushCommon Milkweed, Cosmos, Heliotrope, Late-flowering Boneset, MarigoldNew England AsterPurple Coneflower, Zinnia
American LadyBrazilian Verbena, Butterfly BushCommon Milkweed, Daisy Fleabane, Dogbane, Globe Amaranth, Late-flowering Boneset, Marigold, Mist Flower, Privet, Purple Coneflower, Salvia “Blue Bedder,” Showy Coneflower, White Clover, Zinnia
Red AdmiralAbelia, Butterfly Bush, Dogbane, Lantana, Marigold, Mist Flower, Privet,
Common Buckeye
Common Buckeye
Globe Amaranth, Mist Flower, White Clover,
Question MarkButterfly Bush, Heliotrope
Eastern CommaGarlic Chives, Dogbane, Privet
Skippers
Silver-Spotted SkipperAbelia, Black-Eyed Susan, Blue Berry Bush, Blue Cardinal Flower, Brazilian Verbena, Butterfly Bush, Catnip, Dame’s Rocket , Garlic Chives, Common Milkweed, Common Sage, Dogbane, Globe Amaranth, Heliotrope, Joe-Pye Weed, Lantana, Lavender, Mint, Mist Flower, Mountain Laurel, New York Ironweed, Oregano, Oriental Lilies, Phlox, Privet, Radishes, Red Clover, Salvia “Blue Bedder,” Showy Coneflower, Smooth Aster, Swamp Milkweed, Verbena, Sweet Pepperbush, Late-flowering Boneset, White Clover, Wild Bergamot and Zinnia.
Wild Indigo DuskywingBrazilian Verbena, Butterfly Bush, Dogbane, Globe Amaranth, Ground Ivy, Heliotrope, Lantana, Late-Flowering Boneset, Marigold, Mist Flower, Oregano, Privet, Purple Coneflower, Showy Coneflower, White Clover
Juvenal’s DuskywingGround Ivy
Horace�s DuskywingBrazilian Verbena, Butterfly Bush, Dame’s Rocket, Dogbane, Globe Amaranth, Late-flowering Boneset, Lavender, Marigold, Mist Flower, New England AsterPurple Coneflower, Showy Coneflower,
Common Checkered SkipperGlobe Amaranth, Heath Aster, Mist Flower, New England Aster, Showy Coneflower
Hayhurst�s ScallopwingBlack-Eyed Susan, Brazilian Verbena, Catnip, Dogbane, Globe Amaranth, Lantana, Lavender, Marigold, Marjoram, Mist Flower, Showy Coneflower, White Clover
Common SootywingGlobe Amaranth, Mist Flower,
Least SkipperBrazilian Verbena, Globe Amaranth, Mist Flower,
SachemBlack-Eyed Susan, Blue Cardinal Flower, Bloodflower, Brazilian Verbena, Butterfly Bush, Garlic Chives, Common Milkweed, Common Sage, Cosmos, Daisy Fleabane, Dame’s Rocket, Dogbane, Globe Amaranth, Heath Aster, Heliotrope, Joe-Pye Weed, Lantana, Late-flowering Boneset, Liatris, Marigold, Mint, Mist Flower, New England Aster, New York Ironweed, Oregano, Phlox, Purple Coneflower, Red Clover, Salvia “Blue Bedder,” Sedum (Autumn Joy), Shasta Daisy, Showy Coneflower, Smooth Aster, Stiff Goldenrod, Swamp Milkweed, Sweet Pepperbush, Tansy, Tithonia, Verbena, White Clover, Wingstem, Zinnia
Peck�s SkipperBrazilian Verbena,Butterfly Bush, Globe Amaranth, Heliotrope, Late-flowering Boneset, Marigold, Mint, Mist Flower, New England Aster, New York Ironweed, Oregano, Red Clover, Salvia “Blue Bedder,” Showy Coneflower, Smooth Aster, Swamp Milkweed,
ZabulonAbelia, Blue Cardinal Flower, Brazilian Verbena, Butterfly Bush, Common Milkweed, Common Sage, Delphinium, Globe Amaranth, Heliotrope, Marigold, Mist Flower, Oregano, Oriental Lilies, Petunia, Phlox, Red Marigold, Salvia “Blue Bedder,” Showy Coneflower, Verbena, Zinnia
Clouded SkipperBlue Cardinal Flower, Brazilian Verbena, Day Lily, Globe Amaranth, Heliotrope, MarigoldNew England Aster, Salvia “Blue Bedder,” Verbena,
Dun SkipperBrazilian Verbena, Catnip,  Dogbane, Red Clover, Salvia “Blue Bedder,”
Little GlassywingBrazilian Verbena, Butterfly BushCommon Milkweed, Dogbane, Heliotrope, Lantana, Liatris, Oregano, Privet, Purple Coneflower,
Fiery SkipperBlue Cardinal Flower, Brazilian Verbena, Butterfly Bush, Garlic Chives, Common Sage, Globe Amaranth, Heath Aster, Heliotrope, Lantana, Marigold, Mist Flower, Oregano, Salvia “Blue Bedder, Tithonia,
Crossline SkipperButterfly Bush, Brazilian Verbena
Tawny-Edged SkipperBrazilian Verbena, Globe Amaranth, Red Clover,
Southern Broken-DashButterfly Bush, Mist Flower
Ocola SkipperBrazilian Verbena, Butterfly Bush, Globe Amaranth, Marigold, Mist Flower, Wingstem, Zinnia

Butterfly Food/ Nectar Plants: What You Need To Know!

While there may be a lot of different butterfly nectar plants available, there are few of these nectar-bearing plants that are at the top of the list.  The top three nectar bearing food plants that butterflies love are butterfly weedpurple coneflowers and the New England Aster! If you plant all three of these plants, you will definitely be seeing a lot more butterflies in your yard! 4 more top plants are MilkweedMarigoldsOregano and the popular Butterfly bush

READ MORE:  FREE Butterfly Coloring Pages

One of the biggest things that you need to remember when you are attempting to attract butterflies to your backyard is that you need to have a lot of different flowers for them to choose from.  This way, you will definitely be attracting more than one type of butterfly.  A great addition to any butterfly garden is rocks as well, this gives a great place for all of the butterflies to stop and rest their wings. Another great idea is to group the same types of flowers together; this will ensure that the butterflies will have easy access to their favorite flowers! Our article Butterfly Garden Plans (the layout and design) will help you decide where things should go. 

Now that you have yourself a basis of what your butterfly garden should look like and what butterfly nectar bearing plants you should plant, it is now all up to you!  Just remember some of the tips and tricks discussed in this article and you should have no problems attracting all sorts of butterflies to you garden!

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