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Gardening for Butterflies

Updated on April 25, 2013

Making a Haven for Beautiful Winged Creatures

I've had a butterfly garden for about three years, but it looks rather neglected after the winter, so I decided to put more thought and effort into it. This lens is my inspiration. It will require me to do some research, find out what attracts the butterflies in my region of Florida, and plant the flowers necessary to create a favorable environment for them.

Photo credit:

My Butterfly Garden - After the Winter

This is what the butterfly garden looks like now. We had a cold winter, for Florida, and it wiped out many of the flowering plants. A lot of them were annuals, so I would have had to replace them anyway. When this photo was taken, I had already planted about four new Pentas, but they haven't grown much yet. I had to cut back the shrubs because they were too rangy and leggy-looking. The garden looks pretty sparse at this point.

I've been researching host and nectar plant to see what the butterflies really like. I have a great guide that tells the butterflies in my area and the host plants that they enjoy. I also searched the Internet to find out what plants to buy to attract the local winged creatures.

Last Year's Garden

This was my butterfly garden last year. It was pretty lush and colorful. I've planted new flowers and soon it will be beautiful again. Already I've seen a monarch hanging around as if he's wondering where all the flowers have gone.

Butterflies of Southwest Florida - A Guide to Common and Notable Species

Butterflies of Southwest Florida: A Guide to Common & Notable Species
Butterflies of Southwest Florida: A Guide to Common & Notable Species

This is the guide I own. I like it because it's small and folded like a pamphlet, and laminated to make it waterproof.


The Butterflies

Who doesn't love butterflies with their brilliant wings, flitting here and there without a care in the world?

Here are some examples of butterflies that might visit your garden, if you invite them by planting colorful, tasty plants, providing water in a bright container, and generally making your garden a welcoming environment.

Photo credit: Malachite butterfly. Wikipedia Public Domain Images.

New Photo Gallery - Images from Wikipedia Public Domain Images

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Common Buckeye Butterfly.Dainty Sulphur Butterfly.Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.Zebra Swallowtail.American LadyPainted Lady.Painted Lady.Yellow Sulphur
Common Buckeye Butterfly.
Common Buckeye Butterfly.
Dainty Sulphur Butterfly.
Dainty Sulphur Butterfly.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.
Zebra Swallowtail.
Zebra Swallowtail.
American Lady
American Lady
Painted Lady.
Painted Lady.
Painted Lady.
Painted Lady.
Yellow Sulphur
Yellow Sulphur

Beautiful Butterfly Birdbath

I have a home-made birdbath in my garden. If I had the funds, this is the one I would buy!

Top 10 Plants for Butterflies

Florida Friendly Plants

Here is a list of the Top 10 Butterfly plants for Florida, according to Floridafriendlyplants. com.

Many of them should appeal to butterflies everywhere, however.

Beach Sunflower


Lantana (like the one in the photo)

Mexican Petunia




Purple Coneflower


Tampa Vervain

I'll Bet this Watering Can Will Attract the Butterflies!

A butterfly garden should be very colorful. Even the accessories and tools should have color.

Monarch on Milkweed

Monarch on Milkweed
Monarch on Milkweed

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on Purple Coneflower

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on Purple Coneflower
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on Purple Coneflower

A Beautiful Purple Penta

A Beautiful Purple Penta
A Beautiful Purple Penta

Lovely Red Penta

Lovely Red Penta
Lovely Red Penta

Helpful Advice from YouTube

Organic Gardening

If you are going to have butterflies in your garden, learn how to garden organically. It's better for all living creatures, including humans, so no pesticides, please!

About Soil

The first thing to do when planning any kind of garden is to amend the soil. Almost any soil could use some kind of organic material to help it maintain moisture and nutrients.

When I first started my butterfly garden, I didn't do a lot of soil amendment and then when the plants got all dried out and stressed, I started digging in top soil, mulch and any other organic material I could get my hands on. My soil is very sandy, as much of Florida tends to be, and it needs a lot of stuff in it or it dries out and nothing will grow, except weeds.

When I started my veggie garden, I began preparing the soil about six months beforehand. It made such a difference! I began by digging up the space, then I put down cardboard for the first layer, followed by leaves, grass clippings, shredded yard waste from our city's recycling center, manure, coffee grounds, more leaves, more mulch. Finally it was ready to plant and it was worth the effort. My veggies have done so much better than the butterfly garden did. I am still working on the soil in that garden!

Start with good soil and your garden will reward you. I visit my city's recycling center for free mulch about once a month. It breaks down quickly and also saves me a lot of money.

A House for Butterflies

Butterflies welcome! Provide a shelter for these beautiful, delicate creatures.

Butterfly Guides - General

If you want to get more specific to your region, put in your state or area when you are searching for books on butterflies

Butterfly Websites

These sites have butterfly information, beautiful pictures of butterflies and caterpillars, coloring sheets, butterfly kits you can buy to raise your own butterflies, and butterfly-related gifts.

Fairy and Butterfly Garden Statue

This charming statue will bring beauty and grace to any butterfly garden.

Do You Want to Have Butterflies in Your Garden? - What Kind of Garden Appeals to You?

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    • lisln profile image


      5 years ago from Denver Colorado

      I just love the pictures what a beautiful lens!!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Butterflys come in gorgeous colours and are beautiful in the garden and to watch them fluttering & flittering from flower to flower.

    • LauraHofman profile image

      Laura Hofman 

      5 years ago from Naperville, IL

      I love butterfly gardens! We get quite a few monarchs here in the Midwest. Beautiful lens!

    • Klaartje Loose profile image

      Klaartje Loose 

      5 years ago

      YES!! I really like the Monarch...


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