"Butterflies are flying flowers,
and flowers are tethered butterflies."
Ponce Denis Écouchard Le Brun
As this quote rightly points out, butterflies and flowers were made for each other. After all, while a garden filled with flowers is a joy to be in, nothing compares to a garden filled with fluttering butterflies. Now for the million-dollar question: How can you attract butterflies to your garden?
The first thing to keep in mind is that butterflies predominantly seek nectar. They look for plants and flowers they can feed on, and also look for host plants for their larvae. Sunny, open spaces, shelter from the wind and fresh water are other factors to bear in mind when creating an inviting garden space for butterflies. Here are 15 flowers you should certainly add to your outdoor space in the hope of seeing more beautiful butterflies.
1. The Butterfly Bush
Also known as Buddleja, these colorful flowers range from white to pink, orange and purple. They attract many varieties of butterflies including commas, mourning cloaks, sulphurs, monarchs as well as several species of swallowtail.
A swallowtail caterpillar's favorite food.
Butterflies like sulphurs and zebra longwings are drawn to the nectar of most verbena flower species.
A wide variety of daisies are the preferred nectaring flowers for butterflies such as the mourning cloak and queen. Daisies also attract painted lady caterpillars.
These pretty flowers are a host food for painted lady, checkered skipper and grey hairstreak larvae.
Dogwood tree flowers attract spring azure and American snout butterflies. The leaves also serve as a host food for spring azure butterfly larvae.
These beautiful flowers, known as snapdragons, serve as a host food for the larva of the common buckeye butterfly.
8. Purple Coneflower
This well-known flower is renowned for its immune-boosting and anti-depressant properties. It is also an attractant for the common wood-nymph butterfly.
Mustard is predominantly known for its seeds and greens for culinary use. However, it is also a favorite nectar plant of the falcate orangetip butterfly.
10. Passion Vine
These exotic purple flowers will add a colorful flare to any garden. They will also attract two species, namely gulf fritillary and zebra longwing caterpillars, both of which will feast on the flower's foliage.
These summertime flowers provide nectar and host food for most species of checkerspot butterflies and their larvae.
12. Joe Pye Weed
These beautiful flowers will attract the swallowtail and fritillary butterfly species because of its nectar.
This flower is traditionally cultivated for its medicinal properties, which are predominantly found in its root. The Burdock is also a favorite host food for painted lady caterpillars.
There are over 100 species of vetch, all of which attract American painted ladies, sulphurs and zabulon skippers. The flowers serve both as a nectar for butterflies and as a larva host food source.
Stonecrop is a name given to a variety of low-growing succulent flowers. They are also a favorite nectar plant for the red admiral butterfly.