• IvyShepherd

Six summer flowering plants to make your garden butterfly-friendly

How to attract butterflies to your yard this summer

One of my favourite signs of summer is seeing the butterflies start to arrive to the garden.

They are one of the most important pollinators in our gardens, as well as bees and moths. Pollinators are the key to the biodiversity in our outdoor spaces, as without them, we would not have our plants in the first place.

Butterflies are so key to pollination because they can travel such long distances. They cannot hold as much pollen as bees, but the pollen they can hold will travel much further. Therefore ensuing the health and genetic variation of plants for a long time to come.

With so many habitats for butterflies being lost, it is more important than ever that we open our gardens up to these pollinators, not only so that we can enjoy them, but also to ensure that we don't lose them forever.

There are many wonderful plants that will attract the butterflies to your yard, but here are six to get you started.

Red Valerian

When you start to look, you will see Valerian everywhere. This is because it is so prolific at setting seed.

But this is actually no bad thing, because it is so loved by the pollinators. It has a long flowering season, starting in spring and going through the summer. This makes it invaluable as a source of nectar and pollen to pollinators.

And it is not just butterflies that are attracted to Valerian. Pictured here is a Hummingbird Hawk-moth enjoying the flowers.


If you've ever seen sedums growing, you're probably seen them awash with bees and butterflies.

Sedums are an easy care plant to have around in the garden. They are even a great drought-resistant plant due to their water storing capabilities.

Butterflies are attracted to the pinks of sedums and particularly like the shape of the flower, as it has a flat, open habit. The pinks contain more nectar than other colours and are a great source of food later on in the season.


Buddleia is not called the butterfly bush for nothing.

It is a powerhouse source of nectar and pollen for butterflies and it is so hardy and easy to look after. Because of its attractability to butterflies, it is a plant that l would never be without now.

They come in many different varieties, but the butterflies particularly like the pinks and purples.

Although pictured here is the Buddleia in my garden, which is white and you can see that there is no shortage of Red Admirals and Small Tortoiseshells here.

Verbena bonariensis

Verbena is a very important plant to have in your garden. They are tall and statuesque and wave in the breezes. One of my cottage garden staples.

Another plant that is great for late-season nectar, after other plants have exhausted their supply, butterflies are also attracted to the flat, open shape of the flowers of verbena.

Easy to grow and look after, it has become very popular in recent years. And if you let it go to seed, it will spread in your garden, making it a haven for nature and a valuable resource for biodiversity.


Hebes are a magical shrub for your garden. They are hardy and evergreen, easy to grow and come in a very wide range of varieties.

And not only all that, but they are a magnet for bees and in particular, butterflies.

If you're looking for a compact shrub for your garden that is colourful and vibrant, you can't really go wrong with a hebe. They are happy in the ground or in pots.

And for the butterflies, they are packed with nectar and pollen. So sit back and watch them flock to this lovely plant.


If you have a herb garden, why not consider growing marjoram.

And if you're growing marjoram, why not consider letting it go to flower. You will find that your marjoram flowers will be absolutely covered with butterflies.

For harvesting, the leaves will in fact taste better before the plant flowers. But by allowing the plant to flower, you will be providing a nectar-rich source of food for butterflies.

Marjoram is not a hardy plant, so it is usually grown as an annual plant for one season. Both the flowers and the leaves can be used for cooking, to decorate dishes or to brew into a tea.

A beautiful flowering herb that will not disappoint you or the butterflies.


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