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Butterfly Garden

The butterfly garden is wonderful fun for kids and adults alike.  When you design your own butterfly garden you will want to provide for all stages of the butterfly life cycle; eggs, caterpillars and adults.  Butterfly caterpillars eat different plants than butterfly adults.  Butterfly adults generally eat nectar.  And caterpillars eat leaves.  You will also want some still water for butterflies to drink.  A birdbath can often give a butterfly a necessary drink.  Swallowtails will often congregate around wet gravel.

Bronze Fennel in a Butterfly Garden

The passion vines (passiflora species) are famous for providing the Gulf Fritillary caterpillars plenty of food.  And the Monarch Butterfly has a special relationship with milkweed.  The list of nectar plants for butterfly adults to feed upon is lengthy and often very specific to the kind of butterfly that will come to feed.  

A courtyard or enclosed space can provide a still environment so the wind does not wreck havoc with the movement of the butterflies.  A south facing wall will warm the air and allow for an extended day of flight for your butterflies.  

It is fascinating to watch a butterfly flit through a garden.  It seems like they have no preferred destination at all.  But they will almost always alight on the same kinds of plants.

Easy gardening nectar plants include Eriogonum species, Salvia species, Ceanothus species, and Lupine Species.  The list of plants that butterflies will visit is not even close to being complete.  Butterflies will visit many other plants.  The ones on the list are particularly noted for attracting the following butterflies.

     

Butterfly Garden Plants List

Abelia grandiflora ~ Monarch Butterfly
Achillea cerise queen ~ Variable Checkerspot, Hairstreaks
Achillea clavennae ~ Variable Checkerspot, Hairstreaks
Achillea filipendulina Coronation Gold ~ Variable Checkerspot, Hairstreaks
Achillea kellereriVariable Checkerspot, Hairstreaks
Achillea moonshine ~ Variable Checkerspot, Hairstreaks
Achillea paprika ~ Variable Checkerspot, Hairstreaks
Achillea pomegranate ~ Variable Checkerspot, Hairstreaks
Achillea ptarmica ~ Variable Checkerspot, Hairstreaks
Achillea salmon beauty ~ Variable Checkerspot, Hairstreaks
Achillea terracotta ~ Variable Checkerspot, Hairstreaks
Achillea tomentosa ~ Variable Checkerspot, Hairstreaks
Adenostoma fasciculatum ~ Hairstreaks, Spring Azure, Marine Blue
Agapanthus Storm Cloud ~ Western Swallowtail Butterfly
Agastache aurantiaca apricot sunrise ~ Monarch Butterfly, Western Tiger Swallowtail
Althea rosea ~ Fiery Skipper, Northern White Skipper, Variable Checkerspot, Hairstreaks, Painted Lady
Alyogyne ~ Fiery Skipper, Northern White Skipper, Variable Checkerspot, Hairstreaks, Painted Lady
Amaranthus ~ Mournful Duskywing
Amorpha californica ~ California Dogface
Amsinkia ~ Painted Lady
Antirrhinum multiflorum ~ Common Buckeye
Aquilegia formosa ~ Sphinx Moth
Arbutus unedo ~ Monarch Butterfly, California Dogface Butterfly
Arctostaphylos Howard McMinn ~ Monarch Butterfly, California Dogface Butterfly
Aristolochia littoralis ~ Pipevine Swallowtail
Aristolochia gigantea ~ Pipevine Swallowtail
Aristolochia macroura ~ Pipevine Swallowtail
Asclepias californica ~ Monarch Butterfly
Asclepias cordifolia ~ Monarch Butterfly
Asclepias eriocarpa ~ Monarch Butterfly, Painted Lady, Tarantula Hawk
Asclepias erosa ~ Monarch Butterfly, Painted Lady, Tarantula Hawk, Asclepias fascicularis ~ Monarch Butterfly, Painted Lady
Asclepias liniaria ~ Monarch Butterfly
Asclepias speciosa ~ Monarch Butterfly
Ascelpias tuberosa ~ Monarch Butterfly
Aster chilensis ~ Common Buckeye, Skippers, California Dogface Butterfly, Mournful Duskywing
Asteriscus maritimus ~ Dwarf Yellow Sulfur
Azalea ~ Giant Swallowtail
Baccharis pilularis ~ Common Buckeye
Beloperone californica ~ Painted Lady
Buddleia asiatica ~ Red Admiral, Swallowtails, Mourning Cloak
Buddleia Black Knight ~ Red Admiral, Swallowtails, Mourning Cloak
Buddleia Harlequin ~ Red Admiral, Swallowtails, Mourning Cloak
Buddleia Lochinch ~ Red Admiral, Swallowtails, Mourning Cloak
Buddliea Nanho Purple ~ Red Admiral, Swallowtails, Mourning Cloak
Buddleia Pink Delight ~ Red Admiral, Swallowtails, Mourning Cloak
Buddleia Honeycomb ~ Red Admiral, Swallowtails, Mourning Cloak
Calliandra californica ~ Spring Azure
Ceanothus ~ California tortoise shell, California hairstreak
Centaurea gymnocarpa ~ Painted Lady, Monarch Butterfly, California Dogface Butterfly
Cassia artemesioides ~ Marine Blue, Sulfur
Castilleja exserta * Variable Checkerspot
Ceanothus ~ Spring Azure, Pale Tiger Swallowtail
Cercis occidentalis ~ Mormon Metalmark, Mournful Duskywing, Muir's Hairstreak
Chrysothamnus nauseosus ~ Common Buckeye, Spring Azure, Mournful Duskywing
Cirsium occidentale ~ Painted Lady
Collinsia heterophylla ~ Variable Checkerspot, Spring Azure
Collinsia tinctoria ~ Variable Checkerspot, Spring Azure
Cosmos sulphureus ~ Painted Lady, California Dogface, Common Buckeye
Dodecatheon clevelandii ~ Gray Blue, Arctic Blue
Duranta erecta ~ Giant Swallowtail
Echinacea Cheyenne Spirit ~ Giant Swallowtail
Echinacea purpurea ~ Giant Swallowtail
Echinacea Sunset ~ Giant Swallowtail
Encelia californica ~ Common BuckeyeMonarch Butterfly, Spring Azure
Encelia farinosa ~ Common BuckeyeMonarch Butterfly, Spring Azure
Ericameria nauseosa ~ Common Buckeye, Spring Azure
Erigeron Bountiful ~ Painted Lady, California Dogface, Common Buckeye
Erigeron karvinskianaus ~ Painted Lady, California Dogface, Common Buckeye
Erigeron Sea Breeze ~ Painted Lady, California Dogface, Common Buckeye
Erigeron Wayne Roderick ~ Painted Lady, California Dogface, Common Buckeye
Eriodictyon crassifolium ~ Checkerspots, Common Buckeye, Swallowtails and more
Eriogonum arboresens ~ Spring Azure, Mournful Duskywing, Hairstreaks
Eriogonum cinereum ~ Mormon Metalmark, Mournful Duskywing, Spring Azure, Hairstreaks
Eriogonum crocatum ~ Spring Azure, Hairstreaks, Mournful Duskywing
Eriogonum grande rubescens ~ Spring Azure, Hairstreaks, Mournful Duskywing
Eriogonum fasciculatum ~ Mormon Metalmark, Mournful Duskywing, Spring Azure, Hairstreaks
Eriogonum incanum ~ Hairstreaks, Mournful Duskywing
Eriognoum umbellatum ~ Spring Azure, Hairstreaks, Mournful Duskywing
Foeniculum vulgare ~ Anise Swallowtail
Fraxinus dipetala ~ Pale Tiger Swallowtail
Gnaphalium californicum ~ Painted Lady
Hibiscus lasiocarpos (H. californicus) ~ Common Hairstreak ~ Fiery Skipper
Hibiscus sabdariffa * Roselle ~ Fiery Skipper, Northern White Skipper, Variable Checkerspot, Hairstreaks, Painted Lady
Hibiscus syriacus Jeanne D'Arc ~ Fiery Skipper, Northern White Skipper, Variable Checkerspot, Hairstreaks, Painted Lady
Hyptis emoryi Silver Lining ~ Nectar source for Monarch Butterfly, Spring Azure and others
Lantana ~ California Dogface, Monarch Butterfly, Fiery Skipper, Giant Swallowtail
Lavandula dentata ~ Hairstreaks, Fiery Skipper, Mournful Duskywing, Sara Orangetip, California Dogface Butterfly
Lavandula dentata candicans ~ Hairstreaks, Fiery Skipper, Mournful Duskywing, Sara Orangetip, California Dogface Butterfly
Lavandula Goodwin Creek Grey ~ Hairstreaks, Fiery Skipper, Mournful Duskywing, Sara Orangetip, California Dogface Butterfly
Lavandula Grosso ~ Hairstreaks, Fiery Skipper, Mournful Duskywing, Sara Orangetip, California Dogface Butterfly
Lavandula heterophylla ~ Hairstreaks, Fiery Skipper, Mournful Duskywing, Sara Orangetip, California Dogface Butterfly
Lavandula multifida ~ Hairstreaks, Fiery Skipper, Mournful Duskywing, Sara Orangetip, California Dogface Butterfly
Lavandula pinnata buchii ~ Hairstreaks, Fiery Skipper, Mournful Duskywing, Sara Orangetip, California Dogface Butterfly
Lavandula provence ~ Hairstreaks, Fiery Skipper, Mournful Duskywing, Sara Orangetip, California Dogface Butterfly
Lavatera assurgentiflora ~ Painted Lady, Fiery Skipper, Northern White Skipper
Lavatera Barnsley ~ Painted Lady, Fiery Skipper, Northern White Skipper
Lavatera bicolor ~ Painted Lady, Fiery Skipper, Northern White Skipper
Lavatera purisima ~ Painted Lady, Fiery Skipper, Northern White Skipper
Lobelia laxiflora ~ Western Tiger Swallowtail
Lonicera japonica purpurea ~ Great Ash Sphinx Moth, Giant Swallowtail
Lupinus bicolor ~ Blue's and Hairstreaks, Orange Sulphur
Lupinus chamissonis ~ Blue's and Hairstreaks, Orange Sulphur
Lupinus stiversii ~ Blue's and Hairstreaks, Orange Sulphur
Lupinus succulentus ~ West Coast Lady, Orange Sulphur
Malacothamnus fasciculatus ~ Late Spring and Summer nectar source larval food for the Northern White Skipper
Mimulus aurantiacus ~ Common Buckeye, Variable Checkerspot
Mimulus flemingii ~ Common Buckeye, Variable Checkerspot
Mimulus Georgie Red Common Buckeye, Variable Checkerspot
Mimulus Jack ~ Common Buckeye, Variable Checkerspot
Mimulus Midnight ~ Common Buckeye, Variable Checkerspot
Mimulus puniceus ~ Common Buckeye, Variable Checkerspot
Mimulus Ruby Silver ~ Common Buckeye, Variable Checkerspot
Monarda didyma ~ Gulf Fritillary
Monardella lanceolata ~ Red Admiral, Monarch Butterfly, Swallowtail, Painted Lady, California Dogface, Mournful Duskywing
Nepeta faassenii ~ Fiery Skipper
Orthocarpus purpurascens ~ Variable Checkerspot
Osteospermum fruticosum ~ Painted Lady
Passiflora alata ~ Gulf Fritillary
Passiflora caerulea ~ Gulf Fritillary
Passiflora Incense ~ Gulf Fritillary
Penstemon apple blossom ~ Checkerspot
Penstemon centrathifolius ~ Checkerspot
Penstemon grinnellii ~ Checkerspot
Penstemon heterophyllus ~ Checkerspot
Penstemon Margarita BOP ~ Checkerspot
Penstemon mexical Red Rocks ~ Checkerspot
Pentas lanceolata ~ Western Tiger Swallowtail, California Dogface Butterfly
Pentas Pearl White ~ Western Tiger Swallowtail, California Dogface Butterfly
Perovskia atriplicifolia ~ Fiery Skipper
Phyla nodiflora ~ Common Buckeye larval food for Crescent Butterflies
Platanus racemosa ~ Western Tiger Swallowtail
Plumbago auriculata ~ Marine Blue, Red Admiral
Populus fremontii * Western Tiger Swallowtail
Populus trichocarpa * Lorquin's Admiral
Prunus andersonii * Glovers Silk Moth
Prunus ilicifolia ~ Pale Swallowtail, Western Tiger Swallowtail, Lorquin's Admiral
Prunus ilicifolia lyonii ~ Pale Swallowtail, Western Tiger Swallowtail, Lorquin's Admiral
Quercus agrifolia ~ California Sister
Rhamnus californica * Pale Tiger Swallowtail
Rhamnus crocea * Pale Tiger Swallowtail
Salix lasiolepis ~ Western Tiger Swallowtail, Mourning Cloak, Viceroy, Red Admiral, Lorquin's Admiral
Salvia Allen Chickering ~ Checkerspots, Gulf Fritillary, Hairstreaks, Fiery Skipper, California Dogface Butterfly. Mournful Duskywing
Salvia brandegeei ~ Checkerspots, Gulf Fritillary, Hairstreaks, Fiery Skipper, California Dogface Butterfly, Mournful Duskywing
Salvia candelabrum ~ Checkerspots, Gulf Fritillary, Hairstreaks, Fiery Skipper, California Dogface Butterfly, Mournful Duskywing
Salvia clevelandii ~ Checkerspots, Gulf Fritillary, Hairstreaks, Fiery Skipper, California Dogface Butterfly, Mournful Duskywing
Salvia coahuilensis ~ Checkerspots, Gulf Fritillary, Hairstreaks, Fiery Skipper, California Dogface Butterfly, Mournful Duskywing
Salvia coccinea Lady in Red ~ Checkerspots, Gulf Fritillary, Hairstreaks, Fiery Skipper, California Dogface Butterfly, Mournful Duskywing
Salvia Deseperado ~ Checkerspots, Gulf Fritillary, Hairstreaks, Fiery Skipper, California Dogface Butterfly, Mournful Duskywing
Salvia leucantha ~ Checkerspots, Gulf Fritillary, Hairstreaks, Fiery Skipper, California Dogface Butterfly, Mournful Duskywing
Salvia leucantha Danielle's Dream ~ Checkerspots, Gulf Fritillary, Hairstreaks, Fiery Skipper, California Dogface Butterfly, Mournful Duskywing
Salvia leucantha Midnight ~ Checkerspots, Gulf Fritillary, Hairstreaks, Fiery Skipper, California Dogface Butterfly, Mournful Duskywing
Salvia leucantha Santa Barbara ~ Checkerspots, Gulf Fritillary, Hairstreaks, Fiery Skipper, California Dogface Butterfly, Mournful Duskywing
Salvia leucophylla ~ Checkerspots, Gulf Fritillary, Hairstreaks, Fiery Skipper, California Dogface Butterfly, Mournful Duskywing
Salvia mellifera ~ Checkerspots, Gulf Fritillary, Hairstreaks, Fiery Skipper, California Dogface Butterfly, Mournful Duskywing
Salvia microphylla ~ Gulf Fritillary
Salvia Pozo Blue ~ Checkerspots, Gulf Fritillary, Hairstreaks, Fiery Skipper, California Dogface Butterfly, Mournful Duskywing
Salvia Terra Seca ~ Checkerspots, California Dogface Butterfly, Gulf Fritillary, Hairstreaks, Fiery Skipper, Mournful Duskywing
Salvia uliginosa ~ Mournful Duskywing, California Dogface Butterfly
Salvia Winifred Gilman ~ Checkerspots, Gulf Fritillary, Hairstreaks, Fiery Skipper, California Dogface Butterfly
Scabiosa Black Knight ~ Fiery Skipper, Variable Checkerspot
Scabiosa caucasica ~ Fiery Skipper, Variable Checkerspot
Scabiosa columbaria ~ Fiery Skipper, Variable Checkerspot
Scabiosa cretica ~ Fiery Skipper, Variable Checkerspot
Scabiosa farinosa ~ Fiery Skipper, Variable Checkerspot
Scabiosa ochroleuca ~ Fiery Skipper, Variable Checkerspot
Sidalcea malvaeflora ~ Larval food for blues, Spring Azure
Sphaeralcea ambigua ~ Painted Lady, Fiery Skipper, Northern White Skipper
Sphaeralcea Fulva de Luna ~ Painted Lady, Fiery Skipper, Northern White Skipper
Sphaeralcea philippiana ~ Painted Lady, Fiery Skipper, Northern White Skipper
Solidago californica ~ Monarch Butterfly, Painted Lady, Hairstreak, Skipper, Mournful Duskywing, Checkerspot, Giant Swallowtail
Symphyotrichon chilense ~ Common Buckeye, Skippers, California Dogface Butterfly, Mournful Duskywing
Tagetes lemonii ~ Dwarf Yellow Sulfur
Tagetes lucida ~ Dwarf Yellow Sulfur
Tithonia rotundifolia ~ Monarch Butterfly, Painted Lady, Hairstreak, Skipper, Checkerspot
Trichostema lanatum ~ California Dogface Butterfly, Monarch Butterfly, Western Tiger Swallowtail
Vaccinium ~ Sulpher, Spring Azure
Verbena bonariensis ~ Gulf Fritillary
Verbena rigida ~ Gulf Fritillary
Yucca brevifolia ~ Giant White Skipper

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Last modified: November 29, 2014