Favorite Butterfly Nectar Plants

Many flowers produce nectar, but what are the BEST Butterfly Nectar Plants?

Below are photos and general information for the favorite butterfly nectar plants in my garden. Many of these are native plants which the butterflies love and also are care free and easy to grow.

If you would like more detailed information and to purchase seeds for these flowers, just click on the name.


Best Butterfly Flowers

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Swamp Milkweed
(Asclepias incarnata)
Perennial, H 3-4', Blooms June-August, Plant seeds in Fall or refrigerate for 1 month

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Tropical Milkweed
(Asclepias curassavica)
Annual (except in South), H 2-3', Easy to grow from seed

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Joe Pye Weed
(Eupatorium purpureum)
Perennial, H 4-8' (very large plant), Blooms July - September, Seeds are tiny, Sow seeds anytime

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New England Aster
(Aster novae-angliae), H 4-5', Blooms August-October, Seeds are tiny and slow to germinate, Sow seeds anytime

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Zinnia elegans
Annual, H 3-4', Easy and fast to grow from seed, Favorite butterfly nectar flower, Beautiful in the garden

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Zinnia lilliput
Annual, H 18-24", Easy and fast to grow from seed

butterfly bush
Butterfly Bushes
Zones 5-11, H 6-8', Dies down to the ground in colder climates, can be invasive, nectar-rich beautiful fragrant flowers that butterflies love
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Bee Balm(Monarda)
Perennial, H 4', Blooms June-August, Seeds are tiny.
Native Monarda fistulosa (purple-pink) Any orders placed between April 23 - May 11 2014 will not be filled until May 11, 2014.

Number of seeds?


Would you like to grow these favorite butterfly flowers inexpensively from seed? Here are some seed butterfly garden kits for purchase which include what I have found to be the best flowers for butterflies.


Butterfly Garden Seed Packages

  • Easy Butterfly Garden Kit includes (# of seeds): 25 Tropical Milkweed, 20 Zinnia elegans and 20 Zinnia lilliput.
  • Small Butterfly Garden Kit includes (# of seeds): 15 Swamp Milkweed, 30 Tropical Milkweed, 25 Joe Pye Weed, 20 New England Aster, 15 Zinnia elegans, 15 Zinnia lilliput and 25 Bee Balm Monarda fistula.
  • Large Butterfly Garden Kit includes (# of seeds): 20 Swamp Milkweed, 40 Tropical Milkweed, 40 Joe Pye Weed, 30 New England Aster, 25 Zinnia elegans, 25 Zinnia lilliput and 40 Bee Balm Monarda fistula.

PLEASE NOTE: I have not started all of these flowers from seed myself. I know that the Tropical Milkweed, Zinnia elegans and Zinnia lilliput are easy to start from seed. Some of the other perennial seeds might take a while get to the flowering stage.

Any orders placed between April 23 - May 11 2014 will not be filled until May 11, 2014.

Which butterfly garden?


Here are a few other great butterfly nectar plants for your butterfly garden:

  • Meadow Blazing Star (Liatris ligulistylis) a Monarch Magnet
  • Phlox (Phlox sp.)
  • Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)
  • Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
  • Heliotrope (annual)
  • Pentas (annual)
  • Lantana (annual)
  • Lilac shrubs
  • Sedum (drought tolerant plant)

Repeat and group the nectar plants throughout the garden.

Experiment and plant a variety of different flowers in your

butterfly garden. You will notice which are most attractive to butterflies and work best in your area. Make sure you have flowers blooming throughout the season.

Butterflies need lots of sun. Their body temperature needs to be 85-100 degrees to fly. Put some rocks in your garden for the butterflies to bask on to warm their wings.

Check out this idea for a butterfly garden plan.


Combine a variety of these top butterfly nectar plants with some butterfly host plants.....your garden will be irresistible!!

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If you love to garden, Direct Gardening has a great variety of cheap garden plants.