If you’re a nature enthusiast, you’re likely familiar with alarming statistics about the decline of Monarch butterflies in recent years. Well, there’s good news: It appears Monarch butterflies and bees, their fellow pollinators, are making a comeback.
Whether you love a good nature show, great gardening or butterflies in general, you can do your part to support these creatures with our list of 10 great plants for a butterfly garden.
Listed here alphabetically, these plants will make your container garden a welcoming environment for a wide variety of butterflies, including the majestic Monarch.
This ornamental member of the onion family is a favorite among pollinators because of their abundance of flowers on one flower head. You’ll also love these perennials because of their tall stems and beautiful blooms, which generally are purple, pink or white. Plant the bulbs in the fall for a spring bounty.
This plant native to North America is another perennial that has a great reputation for attracting pollinators. The sun-loving plant, which typically has a yellow center, features daisy-like flowers that may come in purple, pink, blue or white. Expect to see flowers during the late summer and autumn.
Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)
Another native plant to North America is the crowd pleaser Black-eyed Susan. This colorful golden orange wildflower with its black center will be a hearty addition to your butterfly garden. It enjoys full sun and can adapt to a variety of soil types. Expect these plants to start blooming in mid-summer.
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
A member of the milkweed family, which are known for their ability to attract pollinators, the butterfly weed comes by its name honestly. This drought-tolerant, sun-loving perennial plant starts showing off its bright orange flowers in the summer. However, don’t expect to see any signs of the plant until the late spring; it’s a late bloomer.
Plant the coneflower in your container garden and watch the butterflies and bees make their arrival in the late summer. This is another plant that’s native to North America and is known to be drought-tolerant. Another bonus? This showy plant, which typically blooms in shades of lavender, will maintain its blooms for a long-lasting garden show throughout the fall.
You’re fully aware of the irresistible scent of lavender so it probably comes as no surprise that butterflies are attracted to this perennial as well. The lavender plant, with its spiky, tall purple blooms, emit a fragrance that give lends to its well-deserved reputation as a favorite bloom. The drought-resistant herb will be a welcomed addition to your butterfly garden that generally blooms from late spring through the summer.
Phlox (Phlox paniculata)
A long-time favorite for year-round ground cover, the phlox plant also is a favorite among your favorite pollinators. Known for its low-maintenance ways, this perennial ushers in a bounty of colorful, fragrant blooms starting in mid-summer. This is another plant that adapts to various soils with ease. The blooms come in a variety of colors, including white, red, salmon, purple and lavender.
Considered one of the main saviors of the Monarch butterfly, Salvia, which comes in a wide variety of types, generally blooms in the spring — a critical time for the beloved pollinators. Choose from different types, including Mexican Salvia, Indigo Spires and Mystic Spires, to produce a tall show of flowers, generally in purple or white.
Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Milkweed varieties are the important food source for Monarch caterpillars as well as many other butterfly species. Therefore, they’re considered a very important addition to butterfly gardens. One of the hardiest is the Swamp Milkweed, which blooms in shades of pink and purple from June to September. This perennial can be counted upon to attract a host of butterflies and bees alike.
Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)
Big and bold, the sunflower is a showy destination for butterflies. These annuals, with their traditional golden blooms, will stick around well into the fall and early winter, providing nectar for butterflies as they migrate south for the winter. You can also find some of these flowers in shades of red, orange and brown. Choose from varieties such as American Giant, Mexican, Baby Bear, Earthwalker, Strawberry Blonde and Moulin Rouge to mix things up a bit.
As you enjoy the majestic show in your butterfly garden, you’ll also know that you’re laying out a feast for a host of pollinators — an incredibly worthy cause on behalf of nature.