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Plants to attract butterflies to your yard

Home » Backyard Birds & Animals » Butterfly »

Tips to attract and keep butterflies in your yard:

Pesticides are a butterfly’s worst enemy. If absolutely necessary, apply only organic pesticides sparingly and selectively after sun-down, when most butterflies are inactive. Even better, attract beneficial insects and birds to your yard to keep pest populations under control, naturally.

Create basking spots for butterflies by placing a few flat stones in sunny, sheltered locations.

Leaf litter, fallen logs, or brush piles allow adult butterflies a safe place to hibernate.

Leave garden cleanup until spring or do it carefully in the fall to avoid destroying the pupae of butterflies that overwinter on plant stems or leaf litter.

pink butterfly plant


Add some night-blooming flowers, such as Evening Primrose, Fireweed, Phlox, and Cardinal Flower, to attract night-flying moths.

butterfly leaves plant


Suggested Plants to Attract Butterflies:

To attract butterflies to your garden, there are two types of plants to consider: ones that draw the adult butterfly, and, more important, plants for the young larvae that will become those beautiful adults.

plants for butterflies


Larval Food Plants of Vancouver Island Butterflies

* A great choice for butterflies associated with Garry oak ecosystems.

  • Woodland Skipper
  • *Native Grasses
  • Two-banded Checkered Skipper
  • *Grasses Clodius Parnassian
  • Western Bleeding Heart
  • Western Tiger Swallowtail
  • Poplars, Willow, Birch, Bitter Cherry
  • Pale Swallowtail
  • Alder, Cherry, Ceanothus
  • Anise Swallowtail
  • Cow Parsnip, Fennel, Parsley, Angelica
  • Pine White Douglas
  • Fir, Pine, Hemlock
  • Sara Orangetip
  • Arabis, Mustard family
  • Cabbage Butterfly
  • Cabbage family, Mustard family, Saskatoon
  • Margined Whites
  • Mustard family – Arabis, Cardamine.
  • Western Elfin
  • Labrador tea, Salal, Arbutus, Kinnikinnick, Manzanita
  • Moss’ Elfin (rare)
  • *Stonecrop Western Pine Elfin
  • Lodgepole Pine, White Pine, Fir
  • Spring Azure
  • Spiraea, Oceanspray, Dogwood, Viburnum, Cherry, Ceanothus

  • Painted Lady
  • Thistles, Mallows, Pearly Everlasting, Borage
  • Cedar Hairstreak
  • Western Redcedar
  • Purplish Copper
  • Dock, Sorrel
  • Lorquin’s Admiral
  • Spiraea, Willow, Poplar
  • Red Admiral
  • Stinging Nettles
  • West Coast Lady
  • Stinging Nettle, Mallows
  • Milbert’s Tortoiseshell
  • Stinging Nettle
  • Mourning Cloak
  • Willow Satyr Comma
  • Stinging Nettle
  • Mylitta Crescent
  • Short-styled Thistle *Native specie only
  • Plain Ringlet
  • Grasses Common Wood Nymph
  • Grasses To provide nectar for adult butterflies in your garden:

  • Aster Clover
  • Dogwood *Stonecrop
  • *Yarrow Violet
  • Goldenrod Phlox
  • Wild Rose Spring Gold
  • Wild Strawberry
  • *Nodding Onion
  • Saskatoon Berry
  • * A great choice for butterflies associated with Garry Oak ecosystems.

    butterfly friendly plants


    white butterfly plant


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