How to Make a Butterfly Garden Planter

How to Make a Butterfly Garden Planter

Good butterfly gardeners know it takes both nectar plants for adults and host plants for caterpillars to draw the most butterflies to your yard. The wider the variety of host plants you have, the wider the variety of species you’ll attract. However, it doesn’t take a lot of space to bring in the butterflies. Even if you only have a space for a few pots on an apartment balcony or condo back porch, you can create planters that give butterflies everything they’re looking for all in one place. Try these recipes and learn how to make a butterfly garden all-in-one planter.

Monarch Planter: Host plant – Milkweed (I used Asclepias curassavica, but you should use whatever variety is available in your area), Nectar plants – red and white pentas. In some areas of the country, this planter will also draw Queens (Danaus gilippus).

 Black Swallowtail Planter: Host plant – parsley, Nectar plants – Salvia farinacea and pink pentas

Now that you have a general idea of how to create a butterfly garden planter, do an internet search and learn which species of butterflies are found in your area so you can create your own. The monarch planter can be created in most parts of the U.S. and southern Canada. The Black Swallowtail planter will work in the eastern half of the country. Here are some additional all-in-one container options. Remember that a wide variety of nectar plants can be used; substitute those that are available and grow well in your area.

  • Giant Swallowtail: Host plant – dwarf Meyer lemon tree, Nectar plant – ‘Gold Mound’ Lantana (Eastern and Southwestern U.S.)
  • Painted Lady: Host plant – Hollyhocks,  Nectar plants – pink zinnias and purple verbena (Any area)
  • Whites (Checkered, Cabbage, etc.): Host plant – Spiderflower (Cleome), Nectar plants – purple and white sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima), yellow marigolds (Any area)
  • Great Spangled Fritillary: Host plant – violets, Nectar plants – dwarf Butterfly Bush (Buddleia) and cosmos (Any region except Deep South and Southwest)
What nectar and host plant combinations would you recommend for an all-in-one butterfly planter? Tell us in the comments below.

Jill Staake
Jill lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes about gardening, butterflies, outdoor projects and birding. When she's not gardening, you'll find her reading, traveling and happily digging her toes into the sand on the beach.