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6 Go-To Flowers You Should Plant in Your Butterfly Garden

Readers share their favorite flowers that always attract the most butterflies to visit their gardens.

joe pye weed and swallowtail butterfliesCourtesy Rodger Bovenkerk
Eastern tiger swallowtails on Joe Pye weed

Joe Pye Weed

Eutrochium

Zones 4 to 9

"I have an herb garden outside my kitchen window that includes Joe Pye weed," says Lyn Cosby of Atlanta, Georgia. "Last summer, Eastern tiger swallowtails visited it on a daily basis." Check out the common swallowtail butterflies you should know.

An eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly lands on a sedum bush.Pamela Miller
Eastern tiger swallowtail on sedum flowers

Sedum

Sedum spp.

Zones 3 to 10

"Our sedum is the place to watch every year for pollinators, including butterflies," says Anne Veldhuisen of Marshall, Minnesota. Here's how to grow a wildflower meadow for butterflies.

lantana and Eastern black swallowtail butterflyCourtesy Sheila Turner
Spicebush swallowtail butterfly on Lantana flowers

Lantana

Lantana camara

Zones 9+, annual elsewhere

"I have photographed long-tailed skippers, monarchs, moths, giant swallowtails, cloudless sulphurs and gulf fritillaries getting nectar from my orange and yellow lantana flowers," says Becky A. Litke of Panama City, Florida.

lilac shrubCourtesy Sherrell Koski
Lilac bush

Lilac

Syringa spp.

Zones 2 to 7

"I have planted many flowers in my yard to attract butterflies, including milkweed to help monarchs, and four lilac bushes," says Clarice McKenney of Bonners Ferry, Idaho. Check out the top host plants to attract butterflies.

A spicebush swallowtail butterfly lands on a phlox flower.Jane Dlugos
A spicebush swallowtail butterfly lands on a phlox flower.

Phlox

Phlox spp.

Zones 3 to 9

"The phlox in our yard never fails to attract butterflies, particularly swallowtails," says Jim Thomas of Sublimity, Oregon. "We have several containers of pink and purple phlox that bloom every summer." Pollinators love these super fragrant flowers.

Spicebush swallowtail on VerbenaCourtesy Sherry Anderson
Spicebush swallowtail on verbena

Tall Verbena

Verbena bonariensis

Zones 7 to 11

"When my tall verbena is in full bloom, it’s like a butterfly magnet," says Teresa Wayne of Phillips, Nebraska. Butterflies also love these flowering shrubs.