In addition to being beautiful and fun to watch, butterflies actually play an important role in the garden. They are an important part of the ecosystem, just as birds and bees are. But butterfly populations could use our help—and the easiest way to help them is to plant for them! Here are ten perennials you and butterflies will adore!
More commonly known as coneflower, there are many varieties of echinacea, and they all come in beautiful colors. Ruby Star Coneflower, for instance, has bright purple blooms while Tomato Soup Coneflower has vibrant orange-red blooms. Many other varieties, such as Kim’s Knee High Coneflower, are pink. Whichever variety you choose to plant, you can expect coneflowers to attract plenty of fritillaries, monarchs, swallowtails, and painted ladies.
From left to right: Ruby Star, Tomato Soup, Kim’s Knee High
Achillea, or yarrow, has feathery, aromatic foliage and neat clusters of brightly colored blooms. These perennials are easy to care for, thriving in most soil conditions and needing little water. Better yet, they’re deer- and rabbit-resistant! We’re particularly fond of Saucy Seduction™ Yarrow (below), which adds a pop of neon pink to the landscape.
3. Phlox paniculata
Garden phlox is a charming perennial. You’ll love it as much as the butterflies do! It’s perfect for beginners, as it’s quite easy to grow—just give it full sun and slightly moist soil for an abundance of blooms!
If you’re interested in planting perennials for butterflies, you’re definitely familiar with this one! Asclepias is, of course, milkweed, which is a misunderstood but very important perennial. Planting milkweed is actually crucial to the monarch butterfly population. Monarch caterpillars rely on it as their one and only food source, and monarch butterflies lay their eggs on it. Plant milkweed in a meadow or a more naturalistic area of your landscape and watch it flourish! We love Butterfly Weed, Soulmate Swamp Milkweed, and Ice Ballet Swamp Milkweed (below, left to right).
You’ll know monarda as beebalm. This beloved perennial is a must-have in the landscape if you’re trying to attract butterflies—and not just butterflies! Bees and hummingbirds are fond of it as well, and we know you will be, too! The spiky flowers of Jacob Cline Beebalm (below, left) and Coral Reef Beebalm (right) will delight, adding a truly unique element to your garden.
Salvia is simple to grow, and it adds a calming element to the garden with its blue flowers. It blooms for months with very little maintenance or water required, making it an excellent perennial for beginners. And, of course, butterflies can’t resist it! Our favorite varieties are Blue Hill Salvia, (below, left), Caradonna Salvia (middle), and May Night Salvia (right).
Sedum (or stonecrop) isn’t typically seen as a perennial that butterflies would flock to. However, it’s difficult to keep them away once stonecrop starts to bloom! These perennials are incredibly underrated, and they have lots of uses. You’ll love their foliage as much as you’ll love their vibrant blooms! We’re particularly fond of Autumn Joy Stonecrop (below, left), Neon Stonecrop (middle), and Kamtschaticum Creeping Stonecrop (right).
Coreopsis (tickseed) is a butterfly favorite! Pushing out plenty of beautiful blooms during summer and into fall, these perennials keep pollinators coming by again and again. Plant them in borders for a ton of color that demands attention. Check out three of our favorite varieties: Moonbeam Tickseed (below, left), Red Satin Tickseed (middle), and Zagreb Tickseed (right).
Gaillardia (blanket flower) is similar to the coneflower in appearance, with equally colorful blooms. While butterflies will certainly love flitting from flower to flower, you’ll love the energy and drama they bring to the landscape. Plant them all over—you won’t be disappointed! Two varieties we love: Arizona Red Shades Blanket Flower (below, left) and Arizona Apricot Blanket Flower (right).
We know you’re familiar with this one! Lavandula is, of course, lavender! People love it, butterflies love it…really, who doesn’t love it? It’s the queen of herbs, after all. You’ll love the heavenly aroma and the charming purple flowers. You’ll even want to give lavender as a gift! Explore our favorite varieties (Phenomenal Lavender, Provence Lavender, and Munstead Lavender) below!
Pssst! Want to get started on creating your own haven for butterflies? Our butterfly garden collection is exactly what you need! This kit contains six perennials absolutely loved by butterflies of all kinds. Get it here and start planting for butterflies!