Easy Ways to Attract Butterflies to Your Urban Garden

by Fern on July 30, 2008

in Birds Bees & Butterflies,Container Combos

The other day I stopped dead in my tracks as a beautiful orange, black and white butterfly looped and fluttered among the plants along the side of my apartment building. It was so beautiful and peaceful to watch. After a quick internet search, I learned that the butterfly I most likely saw was the relatively common, Painted Lady Butterfly. Common or not, it got me thinking about attracting more of its kind.

Photo by Wildlifeshot

Of course, there are many good reasons to lure butterflies to your garden, least of which is that butterflies are beautiful. Butterflies, like bees, pollinate plants. Some plants rely almost exclusively on butterfly pollination. Butterflies are also an important food source for song birds.

Why not try this window box idea from Better Homes & Gardens? It features Salvia, a butterfly favorite.

A. Petunia ‘Supertunia Royal Velvet’ — 4
B. Salvia guarantica ‘Black and Blue’ — 2
C. Angelonia ‘Serena Lavender’ — 2
D. Nierembergia ‘Purple Robe’ — 6
E. Nemesia ‘Blue Lagoon’ — 6

If you plant a few windows in close proximity to one another, you’ll have a better chance of getting a butterfly or two to take notice. Be sure to check out BH&G’s other butterfly container recipes.

Another great way to attract the butterflies local to your area is to find out which native plants they like, and create a container or two featuring those plants. If you Google the words “butterfly,” “garden” and your state or region, you should be able to drum up a page from a local university that will give you authoritative advice on what to plant in your area.

Sources: University of Kentucky Entomology, Colorado State University Extension, The Butterfly Site, and The Garden Helper.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

HomeButterflyGarden October 25, 2008 at 10:30 am

There is a ton of flowers that attract butterflies that one might not even think of. How about parsley – yep it attracts butterflies PLUS you can use it for cooking too! It’s a perfect balcony plant for containers.


Fern October 25, 2008 at 7:26 pm

HomeButterflyGarden — That’s a great idea, thanks for stopping by and sharing it!


Adriana March 5, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Butterflies also like dill!


Fern March 5, 2009 at 4:17 pm

Adriana — I didn’t know that. I saved a ton of dill seeds from last year, maybe I’ll do a butterfly garden…


Kathryn Sober August 25, 2012 at 11:00 am

I am trying to find a bra size: 42 cup A
Do you stock them please let me know.

Thanks, Kathryn


Courtney January 17, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Caterpillars eat tons of milkweed, so if you plant milkweed you’ll keep them coming back to your garden because they’ll know the food is there. They may even cocoon in your garden so the butterflies will come back so long as you have some nectar flowers too!. [20 milkweed plants per caterpillar is best!]


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