With many butterfly species endangered or on the verge of extinction, home gardeners can help by planting a butterfly garden. The flowering plants are brightly colored, many are fragrant, and provide an essential food source for native and migratory butterfly species.

Butterfly Milkweed

Known in many places as butterfly weed, it’s a member of the milkweed family, has brightly colored orange flowers, and provides copious amounts of nectar. The perennial supports Monarch butterflies, a species that experts estimate could be extinct within 10 years without the help of home gardeners. It grows up to 3 ft. tall, with an average of about 1½ ft. Honey bees and hummingbirds like it, too.


Butterflies like taller varieties of zinnias best. They prefer single rather than double blooms and those with a yellow center. The annuals are available in multiple colors, easily grown from seed, and can grow up to 4 ft. tall with dahlia like blooms.


The perennial has purple flowers and an attractive scent. It’s a small bush that grows up to 2 ft. tall – including flower stalks. A prolific bloomer, the foliage is attractive when not in bloom and it grows well in just about any soil.


A perennial plant, butterflies prefer the taller varieties. Flowers are available in pink, violet, pale blue, white and red and many are fragrant. They attract butterflies, honey bees, hummingbirds and other pollinators.


Also known as echinacea, the plant is highlighted with daisy-like blossoms from summer through fall and attractive to a wide variety of butterflies, honey bees and hummingbirds. It grows 2-4 ft. tall and is available in colors ranging from purple, pink, yellow, red and orange.


A fall bloomer, asters produce abundant blossoms and attract a variety of butterflies. They provide nectar for adult butterflies and food for the caterpillar stage. They’re available in purple, pink, blue and white. Depending on the species that’s planted, they can grow 1-4 ft. tall.

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