This design is for a 10x12 Garden. Double it if you have a bigger spot, or shrink it if your spot is tiny. Small spaces can be designed without the stepping stones. Swap out the suggested plants for other plants you might like that attract butterflies and bees. For info on how to care for your pollinators and butterfly/bee gardens,and about butterfly behavior, visit this page.

To learn how to grow a butterfly garden specific to saving the Monarch butterfly, visit this page.

Suggested plants for butterfly gardens - Several of the suggested plants are grown in my butterfly and pollinator gardens.

For a perennial garden (plants that return year after year) Check the USDA cold hardiness map for plants that are cold hardy in your planting zone.

If you can design a small butterfly garden for your front and backyards, you'll have an abundance of butterflies in and around your gardens and landscapes until late fall. If your garden provides food for larvae, you will be able to raise families. Your food and flower gardens will benefit from steady pollination all summer. If you wish to butterfly your entire small-space garden, put this plan, or variations of it, in each corner.

Feel free to print out this page for reference.

Your local nurseries can help you choose the native plants that attract butterflies and that will thrive in your area.

Plants That Butterflies Love
Feel free to mix 'em up, switch them out, and add your own creativity.

Butterfly Bush  (Buddleia)
Butterfly Weed
Bee Balm (Monarda)
Echinacea (coneflowers)
Globe Amaranth
Cardinal vine
Ornamental Cabbage
Joe-pye weed
Firecracker vine
Blanket Flower
Rose of Sharon

For Gardeners Who Are Space-Challenged
..... grow a butterfly garden vertically in planters

A -Cardinal vine
-Firecracker vine
E- Marguerite (daisy)
F -Zinnia
-Blanket flower
A 1 plant Kobold blazing star (aka gayfeather)
Liatris spicata
Showy purple flower spikes rise over grass-like foliage. Perennial, zones 3-9.
B 2 plants Purple Dome aster
Aster novae-angliae
Purple, daisy-like flowers bloom in fall. Perennial, zones 3-8.
C 2 plants Butterfly weed (aka orange milkweed)
Asclepias tuberosa
Native wildflower produces clusters of brilliant orange flowers. Perennial, zones 3-9.
D 2 plants Magnus purple coneflower
Echinacea purpurea
Purple-pink blooms have dark-orange centers. Perennial, zones 3-8.
E 2 plants Profusion Orange zinnia (aka creeping zinnia, narrow-leaf zinnia)
Zinnia angustifolia
Profuse bloomer forms a mound of bright orange flowers. Annual.
F 2 plants Peach Melba nasturtium
Tropaeolum majus)
Compact variety has creamy yellow blooms with maroon splotches. Annual.
G 2 plants Snow Princess sweet alyssum
Lobularia hybrid
Small white flowers attract a variety of pollinators. Annual.

The butterfly garden should be in full sun at least six hours a day. Provide fruit, such as bananas and watermelon as an additional food source. Butterflies love it when you put your over-ripe fruits out for them.  *I still haven't figured out how to keep wasps and flies from getting at it. I put it out in hanging suet baskets and cage types of holders until the other insects try to take over. And then i take them down. 

Provide water sources for male "puddling" by burying two pans filled with sand or a little soil. Place a few sticks and rocks on top of the sand, and fill the pans with water. Provide low containers filled with dark rocks for butterflies to warm themselves, or place ledge-shaped rocks and pieces of driftwood in the garden.

Monarch or Viceroy?



Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
Gardener's Supply Company


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