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Top 10 Plants Proven to Attract Butterflies

Top 10 Plants Proven to Attract Butterflies

“Butterflies are flying flowers, and flowers are tethered butterflies” - Ponce Denis Écouchard Le Brun.

Why Grow A Butterfly Garden?

Reverse The Damage

For time immeasurable, humans have been the arch-nemesis to the survival of butterflies. We’ve destroyed their habitats at an ever-growing pace and this has led to the decline, and even destruction of certain species of butterflies.

Our rampant use of insecticides and pesticides has been lethal to the butterfly population all over the world.For being poor practitioners of coexistence, we really do owe some support back to the butterflies.

It’s Easy-To-Do

Butterfly gardens are not rocket-science. If you do love gardening, it can be a cake walk. We’ll go over the basics later in the blog and you’ll see how it doesn’t take much.

It’s Beautiful

Who can deny that having their garden filled with fragrant, sweet, colorful flowering plants that house beautiful, delicate, butterflies is like walking into the dreamiest of dreams. However, this way of beautifying your garden is not purely selfish either. You get a heavenly space, and the butterflies get a home. It’s a win-win.

Three Basic Steps To Make Your Garden Butterfly-Friendly


The needs of butterflies are not very different from our own-food, water, and shelter.The plants in your garden will serve as food for the butterflies. To maintain a sustainable butterfly garden, you need two types of plants - Host Plants and Nectar Plants.

Host Plants are where the butterfly lays eggs. These also serve as food for the developing caterpillar once the larvae hatches. Nectar Plants are food for the grown butterflies themselves.


Like any living being, butterflies too need water. While they prefer muddy-mushy spots to drink from, a shallow bowl can work fine too. You can also consider soaking sponges in water and keeping them around the bowl to act as landing spaces for their delicate bodies.

3. Shelter

Make sure your garden is open and receives enough sunlight; butterflies love open sunny spaces. If you live in a windy place, try to find a solution to shelter them from the wind as much as possible.

Top 10 Plants To Attract Butterflies

Two of the most beautiful earthly creations, butterflies and flowers, are like a match made in heaven. City life does make spotting a butterfly a rare occurrence, but if the possibility of having a group of butterflies right in your garden makes your heart flutter, we’re here to help you make that a reality!

Butterflies have a heightened sense of smell, and they can spot colours from afar, as colourful, fragrant flowers make for the best nectar-source for them. These are our picks for the top 10 plants that will attract butterflies to your garden.

1. Wild Sage, Lantana Camara

Buy Lantana Camara

The Lantana Camara is a strongly fragrant plant that blooms with flowers perennially. Its duo-tone flowers, available in multiple colours, grow in clusters and decorate the deep green toothed leaves. The perfect match of fragrance and colours makes the Wild Sage attractive to Butterflies.

How to Care: The plant is easy-to-grow and requires full light and moderate watering. It thrives in well-drained soil and warmer climates. Seasonal maintenance may be required.

2. Wedelia, Sphagneticola Trilobata 

Buy Wedelia

From the family of Aster, Wedelias are a tropical flowering plant that bloom with the most beautiful yellow flowers and fleshy green leaves. When cared for right, the plant will reward you with its bloom for years, perfect for attracting butterflies.

How to Care: Wedelia loves bright light and can thrive as an outdoor plant. Avoid overwatering, and feed it with rich organic material from time to time to maintain the fertile soil.

3. Joyweed, Alternanthera 

Buy Alternanthera

Popular as a foliage plant, the Alternanthera are a flowering herb or subshrub. It can have green or red leaves that grow in opposing directions, which adds to the beauty of the plant. White flowers decorate the Joyweed seasonally, bringing the butterflies to your garden and also offering you medicinal benefits.

How to Care: The plant is easy to grow and does well in full or partial sunlight. It needs moderate watering and timely fertilisers.

4. Cockscomb, Celosia 

Buy Celosia

Clustered blooms of red, yellow, orange, gold, and pink, when in full bloom looks like a fire burning thus giving the plant its name, Celosia, Greek for burning. The plant flowers annually in warm-weather and adds an attractive flair to your garden, while also inviting butterflies.

How to Care: If placed in full sun and moist soil, not wet, the Cockscomb are easy to care for and grow. They thrive in soil that is high in organic matter and drains quickly.

5. Globe Amaranth, Gomphrena

Buy Gomphrena

Blooming from June to frost, the Gomphrena flowers with globular blossoms of whites, reds, pinks, and purples. These warm-weather growing flowers attract the butterflies best and can also be used as dried flowers in your home after harvest season.

How to Care: The plant prefers full and direct sunlight and medium watering. Its soil can be enriched with organic fertilisers in a timely manner to help it grow and thrive.

6. Marigold

Buy Marigold

Popularly found in India and used in religious and cultural practices, the Marigold plant and its flowers are also well-loved by butterflies. The most popular variety being yellow and orange blooms; marigolds also grow in pinks and reds.

How to Care: Marigolds are pretty easy to grow as they don’t really need fertilisers and can grow in almost any soil. They also love sunshine and need moderate watering.

7. Cosmos 

Buy Cosmos

Bowl-like flower heads of yellow and orange sit atop the long stems of the Cosmos plant inviting the butterflies and offering them sweet nectar. The flowers grow annually and add beauty to their surroundings.

How to Care: Cosmos loves warm weather and lots of sunlight but may not like winters as much. They grow well in loamy soil with organic fertilisers and moderate watering.

8. Dahlia, Zinnia

Buy Dahlia

With flowers blooming in nearly as many colours as the rainbow, Dahlias are adored by humans and butterflies alike.

The warmth-loving plants bloom in the summer and can do so for many summers to come with reducing effort as it grows.

How to Care: Zinnias need full sun and moist soil rich in organic matter. As the plant matures, it may not need as much water as the grown flowers are somewhat drought tolerant.

9. Passion Flower, Passiflora Incarnata

Buy Krishna Kamal

Also known as Krishna Kamal, the Passion Flower has a beauty like no other. Its vibrant colours and sweet smell can leave you spellbound, let alone the butterflies. It flowers from June to August in Northern India, and December to February in Southern India.

How to Care: The Passion Flower grows well in full natural light and needs moderate watering. Well-drained fertile soil can enhance its growth and life.

10. Shevanti, Chrysanthemum

Buy Shevanti, Chrysanthemum

The white, red, pink, and yellow flowers of Shevanti are a classic beauty. They are available in many types too, all with flowers blooming in peculiar style and shape. Chrysanthemums have been loved by Maharashtrians for years and have also found growing affection in other parts of the country.

How to Care: Chrysanthemums are very easy to grow and care for. They do well outdoors in bright areas and need watering just once a week.

Ready to grow a butterfly garden in your backyard? Check out our collection of the best plants for butterflies and birds.

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Swathi - July 17, 2021

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