Butterflies add color, life and motion to a garden. To encourage these winged beauties to visit your garden, find a sunny patch to devote to them. Butterflies like warmth, and the flowers that attract them do too.
Next, do some homework to find out which types of butterflies live in your region. There are more than 500 butterfly species in the U.S., some widespread, others found only in particular habitats. Call your state’s division of the Cooperative Extension -- an educational branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture -- and ask for some plant recommendations that will attract your local butterflies.
In general, butterflies prefer nectar-rich blossoms in shades of purple, red, orange, yellow and pink. Each species of butterfly has its own preferences, but a few flowers -- coneflower, blazing star, zinnia and the aptly named butterfly bush -- are rich in nectar and appealing to many varieties of this beautiful bug. Fill your garden with a variety of plants, choosing spring-, summer- and fall-blooming species. Plant them in clusters; butterflies will choose a big group of flowers over a single plant. Finally, look for flowers blooms that are flat-topped or clustered -- they give butterflies a place to land as they feed.