There are currently 98 Butterfly gardens being tracked on Folia.
United States, Canada, Australia, and United Kingdom are countries where growing this type of garden is particularily popular.
To create a successful butterfly garden, it is best to have both nectar plants (to feed the butterflies) and host plants (for caterpillars).
Native butterflies seem to prefer plants that have pink, red, purple, yellow or orange flowers in areas with large masses of a single color, or closely related colors.
Most butterflies must land in order to get to the nectar. So they prefer plants having either clusters of short tubular flowers (herbs, butterfly bush, and milkweed, for example) or flowers with large, flat petals (coneflowers and asters, for example). Some showy hybrids, like double flowers or some ruffled varieties lose nectar production in favor of fanciness, so avoid them in the butterfly garden.
Since different butterflies are active in your garden from early spring through frost, having a mix of plants will attract them all season…Annuals work well because they have continuous bloom, providing a steady source of nectar. Stagger perennials by bloom time, but in addition to the ones already mentioned, lilac, butterfly weed, balms, and the mint family are good nectar sources.
Caterpillars can not travel far to find their own food, the female locates and lays her eggs on only the type of plant that the caterpillar can use as food. Most species are very picky, and will not survive if not on the correct plant…native trees and plants are what native butterflies will usually use as the host plants for their eggs. There are several that can be included in a garden. However, a host plant will be munched. If you don’t want munched plants in your garden, you can either hide them in the back, or put them in a separate garden space not too far from the nectar plants. If you don’t provide host plants, you will not see as many butterflies.