Butterflies eat flower nectar: flowers for butterflies provide their food

  • Great flowers for butterflies are butterfly weeds and the butterfly bush.

Both of these plants are a staple in my garden. It is a delight to see the butterflies flitting from flower to flower.

Another favorite of butterflies is any daisy type of flowers. They like to have a landing pad to sit down while they eat.

The Butterfly Bush is a favorite among the flowers for butterflies.The Butterfly Bush is a favorite butterfly flower

Butterflies are color sensitive.

White flowers may attract butterflies. But they are more attracted to bright colors like yellow, orange, red and purple.

flowers for butterflies

Daisies make a wonderful landing pad for butterflies. The added bonus of daisy flowers is that daisies are composite flowers.

Composite flowers have multiple containers of butterfly food. The butterflies can land on a daisy and have a great feast.

How awesome is that!   Grow some Daisy Flowers for the butterflies.

more ways to attract butterflies to your garden


Butterflies like Aster flowersAsters

Aster is a perennial that grows from 6 inches to 3 foot plants, depending on the variety.

They flower in shades of blue, lavender, purple, pink and red during the summer and fall.

They like full sun and most soils.

Blackeyed Susan, Gloriosa Daisy

Black-eyed Susans attract butterfliesBlack-eyed Susan

Rudbeckia hirta is a biennial or short lived perennial. It can be used as an annual.

It has daisy flowers that are 2 to 7 inches in size. They may be yellow, orange or mahogany with dark centers. There are also solid colors with the dark center. 

It flowers in the summer to fall with full sun.

It's an easy flower to grow and makes good cut flowers.

Butterfly Bush

The Butterfly Bush is great for feeding and attracting butterflies.Butterfly Bush

Buddleia davidii is a deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub. It grows fast from 3 to 10 feet. It has 6 to 12 inch spikes of small fragrant flowers in mid-summer. They are white, pink, lilac or purple with an orange center.

It freezes to the ground in the winter and grows from its roots in the spring. It needs good drainage.

Butterfly Bush and Butterfly Milkweed are the best flowers for butterflies.

See the Butterfly Bush flower close up at the Top of Page.

Butterfly Milkweed

Butterfly Milkweed is a native flower that the butterflies just love.Butterfly Milkweed

Asclepias tuberosa, called Butterfly Weed is a perennial. It has clusters of bright orange flowers midsummer to frost.

It may grow up to 3 feet.

It requires good drainage and very little water.

Milkweeds are a favorite butterfly flowers for Monarchs and many other butterflies.

There are many varieties of butterfly milkweeds native throughout the United States.

Tropical Milkweed

Monarch Butterfly on a Tropical Milkweed flowerTropical Milkweed

Asclepias curassavica is readily available in the nurseries. It grows from 30" to 48" tall.

It likes full sun. The bi-color flowers are orange and yellow or a solid yellow.

Milkweeds are host plants for the caterpillar of the Monarch Butterfly. They lay their eggs on the milkweed, so the caterpillars can eat the leaves of the plant.

The flowers are also food for the adult butterflies.


Butterflies love the native Purple ConeflowerConeflower

Echinacea purpurea is a perennial. It grows 2 to 4 feet with 2 to 4 inch daisy-like flowers. They are normally pink, but white, yellow, coral, and crimson varieties exist.

The new Cheyenne and Pow Wow varieties are wonderful plants with repeat flowering throughout the summer.

It likes full sun and most soils, but it prefers well drained soils. Give average watering and it is drought tolerant after it is established.  Divide the clumps in spring or fall.

These are super easy flowers for butterflies. Once they are established, they literally take care of themselves.

This is the plant that the Echinacea herb is derived from.


Coreopsis is an easy flower to grow and the butterflies love it.Coreopsis

Coreopsis lanceolata is a perennial. It grows from 1 to 2 feet. It has golden yellow, red or bi-color daisy flowers. They are 1 ½ to 2 inches. They may be single or double.

This is an excellent cut flower.

Remove the spent flowers and it will bloom all summer until frost.

Once established they are drought tolerant, dependable and one of the Easy Flowers to Grow.

I love their cheery yellow flowers that provide what butterflies eat.


Cosmos is a daisy type flower that the butterflies like.Cosmos

Cosmos is an annual growing from 2 to 8 feet depending on the variety. It blooms summer to fall with single, double or crested flowers in white, pinks, rose, lavender, purple or crimson. 

They are a resilient, easy flower and a good butterfly flower.

They are drought tolerant once established. They prefer to not have rich soil.

Daisy type flowers are favorite food and flowers for butterflies.


Lantana is a perennial in warm areas. It is used as an annual in cooler areas.

It grows from 1 to 3 feet. It flowers all summer until frost.

The flowers are white, yellow, orange, pinks, red, lavender and some bi-colors.

Lantana is one of my favorite flowers for butterflies.

It is fast growing and so easy to grow.

It is drought tolerant and there is no need to dead head the flowers.

The hummingbirds like Lantana, too.


Marigolds are easy flowers to grow for butterfliesMarigolds

Tagetes of various species is an annual. It grows from 6 inches to 4 feet depending the species. 

It likes full sun and it is easy to grow from seed. The flowers may be white, yellow, gold, orange or maroon. They are from 1 ½ to 5 inches.

They are good cut flowers and bloom all summer until frost. Marigolds are an easy butterfly flower to grow.

Marigolds are not only good flowers for butterflies, but they also are good planted next to your tomato plants to repel nematodes.

Mexican Sunflower

The Mexican Sunflower is a good fall flower to grow to feed the migrating Monarch Butterflies.Mexican Sunflower

Tithonia rotundifolia is a perennial grown as an annual. It is husky and rapid growing to 6 feet, some varieties to 4 feet.

It has striking 3 to 4 inch flowers that are orange-red with yellow centers. It flowers July until frost it is an excellent flower to provide butterfly food for fall migrating butterflies.

It likes full sun and average soil. It is heat and drought tolerant once established.

It is recommended as a fall blooming flower for the migrating Monarchs.


Penta flowers attract butterfliesPentas

Pentas lanceolata is a perennial grown as an annual. It grows 2 to 3 feet tall with 4 inch wide clusters of star-shaped flowers in white, pink, lilac, or red.

It likes full sun and good water. Remove their spent flowers to encourage it to bloom all summer.

Many flowers for butterflies are readily available at garden centers. They provide butterfly food and good color for your summer garden.

Hummingbirds like Pentas, too.


A Tiger Swallowtail butterfly on Phlox flowersPhlox

Beautiful Phlox are annuals and perennials. There are various forms and sizes ranging from one half to four feet depending on the type. Many are native to North America.

They have showy flowers in white, pinks, rose, red, lavenders and blue. They bloom spring or summer depending on type.

They like sun, average soil and water.

More ways to attract butterflies to your backyard garden.


Verbena is a great butterfly flowerVerbena

Verbena hybrida or peruviana are short lived perennials. They are many times used as an annual ground cover. They grow 6 to 12 inches tall.

Their flower clusters are 2 to 3 inches with white, pink, red, lavender or purple flowers.

They like sun with good air circulation. They are a fast, easy flower that blooms summer until frost.

I have red ones near my bird bath in Florida. They come back every year.

They are an easy, no care plant. They overwinter in mild climates.


Zinnia is an easy flower to grow for butterfliesZinnia

Zinnia has several species and varieties. They are an annual that grow from 8 inches to 3 feet depending on the type. 

The flowers are bright colors in yellow, pink, coral, red, salmon, and white.

It is a hot weather plant and it needs sun. It blooms summer to fall. Its flowers are 1 to 5 inches depending on variety.

Water at the base of plant to prevent mildew.

Zinnia is an easy flower to grow from seed. Zinnias were the first flowers I grew as a child. Back then, I didn't know about planting flowers for butterflies, but I liked the big colorful flowers.

Even today I see the senior lady across the street from me, planting the large Zinnias every year. They put on quite a show, they feed the butterflies and they are food for the hummingbirds.

feeding butterflies

Growing flowers for butterflies is so rewarding. We get to enjoy the flowers, while we are providing food for the beautiful butterflies!

The butterflies appreciate it!

Include some native plants in your landscape

more about butterflies

  • Monarch Butterfly

    The Monarch Butterfly is loved and admired for their beauty and courage in many parts of the world. Where they live, identify, Monarch migration, mimics and more

  • Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle

    Photos and description of Monarch Butterfly life cycle from butterfly eggs, caterpillar, pupa, chrysalis to the adult butterfly, amazing butterfly metamorphosis.

  • How long do butterflies live?

    Facts about butterflies; how long do butterflies live, what do butterflies eat, is a butterfly an insect, what do butterflies eat, what attracts butterflies?

  • How to Attract Butterflies

    Learn how to attract butterflies to your garden, what do butterflies eat, what make butterflies happy, caterpillar host plants, what colors do butterflies like?

share with others