Alicia DeVore

When I first started gardening with my kids many years ago, the fascination of watching butterflies in our garden made the garden a magical place for our little family to be.

And that’s what I want for gardens to be for families. Magical. One way of providing that is to create a section of your yard, porch, or garden to be dedicated to attracting butterflies.

In this article, I will share how to plant the butterfly garden of your dreams in 5 easy steps.

Benefits of Butterfly Gardening

First, let’s take a look at this list of why a butterfly garden can be a wonderful addition to any home and bring a variety of benefits.

    • Providing Habitats for a Butterfly Sanctuary – It can provide the ideal place for butterflies to call home, with plenty of nectar-rich flowers and host plants that cater to their needs.

    • Boosting Biodiversity – Creating this garden is an easy way to help local biodiversity, since it creates habitats for other insects, animals and birds too.

    • Increasing Pollination – Planting flowers in your garden will attract pollinators such as bees, as well as helping butterflies find food sources they need. This will increase the yield of produce in your garden.

    • Adding Beauty and Color – It provides stunning natural beauty and vibrant colors with most plants, while also being quite low maintenance.

    • Improving Mental Health – Spending time outdoors in nature is known to have positive effects on mental health and wellbeing.

How Do I Make a Simple Butterfly Garden in 5 Easy Steps?

Creating a butterfly sanctuary can be a great way to explore nature while helping the environment.

    1. Choose your location carefully – Butterfly gardens should be planted in an area that has easy access to sun or partial shade, depending on the plants you choose.

    1. Prepare the soil – Make sure to use organic compost as fertilizer and remove weeds before planting.

    1. Select the right flowering plants– Depending on your hardiness zone, select nectar-rich butterfly plants. Plant a variety of flowering perennials and shrubs for continuous blooming throughout most of the spring, summer, and fall seasons.

    1. Attract wildlife – Add a birdbath or other water source for a butterfly habitat. Add rocks and logs for resting spots such as native trees, shrubs and grasses, and areas of bare soil.

    1. Be patient – Creating a beautiful space requires patience just like with all gardening. Add to it from year to year.

What Should be in a Butterfly Garden?

Find flowers and different plants that are native to your area. This will give your garden a winning start and the host plant won’t be fighting against the climate or conditions, but you will be working with your garden instead.

You also want to attract adult butterflies as well as having the right caterpillar food plants and spaces for butterflies to lay eggs. This is your chance to provide food in a butterfly friendly atmosphere to local butterflies.

Perennial Garden Plants that attract Butterflies

Plants and flowers that you plant only once but can enjoy from year to year is a win in my garden. Check out these perennial flowers to add to your garden to attract many butterflies.

Goldsturm Black-Eyed Susan

Queen Anne’s Lace

Russian Sage

Purple Coneflower or Echinacea



Types of Annuals as Host Plants to Add Each Year

Make sure you are selecting plants of flowers or a butterfly bush that are nectar producing plants. Here are some nectar plants that are great to grow:






Location of Garden

Choose a sunny spot with protection from harsh winds. Consider how much space you have available and plan accordingly. Make sure it is easily accessible so you can tend to the garden regularly.

If you want butterflies to stay in your garden thru their life cycles, you must provide adequate shade since these insects prefer to rest away from direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day.

Planting tall trees or thick shrubs can offer this relief for any overwintering butterflies coming into your garden throughout winter months as well. Having flat rocks to provide heat when it’s cold for butterflies and spaces to rest can bring a steady supply of butterflies to your area.

Planting zones

Check in your planting zone if the perennial plants are able to overwinter in the cold. Also look to see which of the plants recommended in this post will work in your area. Always choose native plants to your area.

When do I plant for Butterflies?

Planting a garden that attract butterflies should coincide with the seasons and times when butterflies will be active. It’s important to research which species of butterflies are found in your region and note their preferred seasonal activity.

When planting for a successful butterfly garden, it is best done in either late winter or early spring when there are fewer pests and diseases active in the environment. Butterfly larvae are particularly susceptible to many insecticides, so don’t spray insecticides in your garden otherwise butterflies will die.

Choose plants that flower at different times throughout the season, so you’ll have blooms for as long as possible to attract more butterflies.

Include Butterfly Shelter Areas for Butterfly Species

Butterflies need shelter in windy or rainless areas. Butterfly houses that are carved out of wood pieces with large, tight slots will make great garden decorations for your butterfly garden if desired.

How to Involve Kids in Growing a Butterfly Garden

Growing a butterfly garden can be an exciting and rewarding experience for both kids and adults as together you become butterfly gardeners.

    1. Get them Involved– Have your child help you plan the design, select plants, read some books, and even do some planting.

    1. Teach them About Butterflies– Teach them about the caterpillar life cycle, what kind food they like, and how they benefit our environment.

    1. Track Progress Together– Set up regular times to watch your butterfly area with your child. Keep track of all the different types of butterflies you spot on a chart or journal to document their progress over time.

      Check out the 12-week Grow a Garden with Kids Course and grow veggies alongside your butterfly garden.

In Conclusion:

There are three reasons why I have a butterfly space in my garden.

    1. Beauty – Nothing is as visually pleasing as watching colorful butterflies flutter around your garden.

    1. Ecological Balance – With their pollinating abilities, butterflies play an important role in sustaining local ecosystems by helping to spread pollen among flowering plants .

    1. Education – Setting up a butterfly garden can be educational for the whole family, providing opportunities to learn about different species of butterfly while enjoying time outdoors together.

I hope this article encourages you to know that you can plant a few things to attract butterflies to your part of the world and enjoy butterfly species that will bring you and your family many moments of joy.

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About the Author

Alicia has been teaching her whole life from elementary teacher to workshops for beginning gardeners.  Go HERE to read Alicia's story into gardening from plant killer to pro grower and garden coach.  If you want to send Alicia a quick message, then use her contact page HERE.

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