Create a lush island bed of flowers that will bring beautiful and beneficial insects to your garden.

The stained-glass patterns of butterfly wings will add an extra dimension to this colorful garden bed, which bursts with easy-to-grow perennial and annual flowers that are irresistible to these pretty creatures. A variety of blossoms offers nectar to adult butterflies, while leafy food sources, such as parsley, nourish the larvae. The one shrub in this garden plan is commonly called "butterfly bush" for good reason: It lures butterflies of all sorts. A few rocks among the plants provide convenient perches for your winged visitors to sun themselves, and a simple birdbath provides water. Butterflies are sun-loving creatures, as are the plants in this design, so be sure to locate it where it will receive six or more hours of sun daily. And remember: No pesticides are allowed in your butterfly garden.

butterfly garden plan illustration
Credit: Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

Plants for Creating the Butterfly Garden Plan

  • 2 Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa): Zones 4-9
  • 3 Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Purple Dome’): Zones 4-8
  • 1 Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii ‘Nanho Purple’): Zones 5-9
  • 3 Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea ‘Bright Star’): Zones 3-9
  • 4 Spike gayfeather (Liatris spicata ‘Floristan Violet’): Zones 3-9
  • 3 Bee balm (Monarda didyma ‘Petite Delight’): Zones 3-9
  • 6 Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’): Zones 3-8
  • 2 Stonecrop (Sedum ‘Matrona’): Zones 3-9
  • 2 Goldenrod (Solidago sphacelata ‘Golden Fleece’): Zones 3-10
  • 2 Blue fescue (Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’): Zones 4-8
  • 12 Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima): All zones
  • 6 Parsley (Petroselinum crispum): All zones
  • 24 Dwarf zinnia (Zinnia elegans, any dwarf variety): All zones

If you aren't able to find the exact cultivars listed above, substitute with others with similar colors, shapes, and sizes. And because some plants can become overly aggressive and spread out of control in certain climates, always check which species are considered invasive in your area before planting.  For example, butterfly bush can become problematic in some parts of the country, so you may instead want to plant similarly sized bluebeard that also has purplish flowers that draw pollinators.

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The garden plan for this design includes an illustrated version of the planted garden, a detailed layout diagram, a list of plants for the garden as shown, and complete instructions for installing the garden. Free, one-time registration allows unlimited access to all garden plans, available as printable PDFs.

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Comments (3)

Better Homes & Gardens Member
May 12, 2022
The Asclepias tuberosa is milkweed.
Better Homes & Gardens Member
May 12, 2022
The Asclepias tuberosa is milkweed.
Better Homes & Gardens Member
March 26, 2021
This is a beautiful plan but I would like to add a climber and need to put milkweed in for the monarchs.