If you want to attract butterflies to your garden, you need to know which butterflies are local to your area, and what plants they like.
Even more important, what do their caterpillars like to eat?
Butterfly caterpillars or “cats” can be found nibbling on the leaves of Asters, Anise, Carrots, Dill, Fennel, Milkweed, Parsley, Parsnips, Snapdragons, Sunflowers, and Violets.
That’s okay, as they won’t cause any significant damage.
In my Northeast Pennsylvania garden, these are the butterflies I would expect to see: Brush-footed, Swallowtails, Gossamer winged, Metalmarks, Whites and Sulfurs and Skippers.
Find what’s common to your area.
To attract these butterflies:
|Aster||Blue White Pink Purple||Late summer to fall||Dwarf: 12-18” Regular: 18-24”||Dwarf: Partial Shade Regular: Full Sun||Deer resistant|
|Bee Balm||Pink or purple||Summer to Fall||36-48”||Full Sun and Partial Shade||Edible|
|Black-eyed Susan||Yellow||Mid-summer to Fall||18-30”||Full Sun and Partial Shade||Deer resistant|
|Butterfly bush||Dark purple||Mid-late summer||6-10’||Full Sun||Deer resistant Shrub|
|Butterfly weed||Orange and yellow||Late Spring-Midsummer||18-24”||Full Sun and Partial Shade|
|Coreopsis||Yellow Pink Red||Summer-fall||10-24”||Full Sun and Partial Shade||Some varieties are Deer Resistant|
|Lilac||purple||Early Spring||Most 4-8’ up to 30’||Full Sun||Shrub|
|Marjoram both Wild and Sweet||Pink- purple||Midsummer to Fall||Wild 18-40” Sweet 4-6”||Full Sun||Can be invasive Edible|
|Marigolds||Yellow and Orange||Midsummer to Fall||Most var. 8-12”||Full sun||Attract Japanese beetles Repels rabbits|
|Phlox||Pink Purple and White||Early summer to Fall||24-40”||Partial Shade||Deer resistant|
|Purple Coneflower||Purple||Mid-late summer||2-4’||Full Sun to Partial Shade||Deer resistant|
|Sage||Violet-blue||Mid-summer to Fall||2-4’||Partial Shade||Deer resistant Edible|
|Zinnia||Multiple colors||Mid-summer to Fall||To 40”||Full sun||Good in pots and for cutting.|
Of course you can add some edibles as well. Planting carrots, fennel and dill will help your Butterfly Garden thrive.