Looking for ways to attract butterflies and other pollinators to your garden? Learn how to create a butterfly garden in a few easy steps!

When I first designed the front yard cottage garden, I researched butterfly and hummingbird-attracting plants to entice them to my yard.

I dreamed of having a garden that was covered with these beautiful creatures. Thankfully, there are a lot of plants that attract both.

Once I honed my plant list, I considered what plants were deer-resistant because deer are a big problem in my gardening zone 6a New Jersey garden.

While I don’t mind adding plants that have a lower deer resistance rating because I spray them with deer repellent, I prefer to focus more on plants that they tend to avoid.

To learn more about designing a deer-resistant garden, CLICK HERE.

(Posts on stacyling.com may contain affiliate links. Click HERE for full disclosure.)

What Do I Need For a Butterfly Garden?

If you want to start a butterfly garden, it is important to plan ahead. They are not hard to maintain, and in fact, most plants are pretty easy-care.

Do your research, site and prepare the bed, and include plants that both caterpillars and butterflies enjoy.

To achieve success, be sure to feed butterflies with adult nectar plants and developing caterpillars with host plants.


It is important to plant nectar plants near fences, shrubs, trees, and vines to provide shelter from winds and rain for these pretty pollinators.

When designing a butterfly border, there are few things to keep in mind:

  • Plant in a sunny location.
  • Research and select plants that will attract butterflies common to your area.
  • Create a succession of blooms so butterflies visit and want to hang around.
butterfly on gomphrena in zone 6a new jersey garden

Offer Host Plants

Since butterflies lay eggs on certain plants that feed their caterpillars, butterflies prefer visiting gardens where host plants are nearby.

Examples of host plants include Milkweed, Viburnum, Wisteria, Flowering Dogwoods, Snapdagons, Foxgloves and many others.

For more information about host plants, see Creating Inviting Habitats by the Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Tip: leave plants that are dying back or defoliated in the borders because they may contain eggs or developing butterflies on them.

I allow my plants to die back naturally and avoid cutting plants back until early spring where possible.

It doesn’t always look great, but it helps keep the butterfly lifecycle going!

close up of monarch on a zinnia in the garden

Provide Nectar Plants

It is also important to select plants with varying bloom times so butterflies are fed from spring through fall.

Butterflies’ attention is drawn to clusters of like colors so it is important to plant enough of the same flowers together.

Savvy Gardening Tips:

  • Butterflies favor native plants.
  • Where possible, avoid pesticides and choose organic alternatives in your gardens because they can wipe out butterflies and other pollinators.
  • Butterflies are drawn to brightly colored purples, blues, yellows, whites, and pinks.
  • Focus on plants with multiple florets as well as composite flowers, because they can get more nectar at one time.
  • Avoid double-flowering varieties because they carry less nectar.
black butterfly on a butterfly bush on a sunny day

Plants that Attract Butterflies

In my gardens, butterflies love to sample:

If you would like more information regarding pollinators and how to attract them to your garden, see Creating Inviting Habitats by the Virginia Cooperative Extension.

close up of liatris with butterfly and monarda

More About Growing a Butterfly Garden

Do you have a butterfly garden yet? Or have you planted things they enjoy? I would love to know more in the comments below.

And don’t miss joining my Gardening DIY and Decorating Community on Facebook for more chatter. And follow along there and on Instagram as well. There are behind-the-scenes daily things that I share on Instagram that don’t make it to the blog. Would love to see you there too!

If you prefer to binge-watch Bricks ’n Blooms on TV, we go more in-depth with tours and posts on my YouTube channel. Would love to hang out with you there!

And… If you’re catching up on blog posts you may have missed, be sure to sign-up to get my newest posts via email to stay up to date with everything that’s happening here on the blog and more.

close up of creme caramel coreopsis

Garden Supplies I Use

I’m often asked about the garden supplies and tools that I use most. From pruners to deer repellents, here are some of my favorites in no particular order.

Click here to shop my vintage farmhouse with close up of the front porch with flowers

Looking for More Flower Garden Ideas?

If you love flowers and want to grow more in your garden, here are some posts that will get you on your way.

From tucking in flowering plants that are deer-resistant or ones that attract more butterflies and hummingbirds, to shade-loving flowers like the lenten rose, these posts will get you on your way to growing a garden that will bring joy for years to come.

Here are more cut flower and cottage garden growing tips, tricks, and design inspiration.

view of the front porch cottage garden with sugar pumpkins, sedum autumn joy, rudbeckia, celosia and snapdragons

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close up of butterfly on purple cone flower
daffodil garden in early spring

Bricks ‘n Blooms Weekly 178

Hi there! I hope you had a great week! Random Things Happening Behind the Scenes at Bricks ‘n Blooms What a week it was! We had a massive earthquake here on Friday morning (for New Jersey) and it was really scary! It was centered very close to where I live and was a 4.8! At…
Read More Bricks ‘n Blooms Weekly 178
variety of vibrant dahlia flowers in a colorful cut flower garden

Small Space Gardening: The All-You-Need Guide to Growing Showstopping Dahlias in Pots

Short on growing space but want to grow dahlias? This comprehensive guide empowers you to cultivate stunning dahlias in pots. Discover the right pot size, sun needs, feeding tips, and expert techniques for endless blooms.  If you’ve got limited growing space but still want to grow beautiful showy blooms, this post is for you! Today,…
Read More Small Space Gardening: The All-You-Need Guide to Growing Showstopping Dahlias in Pots

Thank you so much for following along.

Enjoy a beautiful day! xo

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Want to learn more about me? I’m a master gardener who’s been gardening and growing things for over 25 years and author of the best-selling book, The Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy-Care Flower Garden. Get the inside scoop about my background as a master gardener, education, and experience, as well as why I started blogging here.

stacy ling cutting dahlias in her garden
stacy ling cutting dahlias strawflowers, dahlias and zinnias in the potager garden

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I hope you enjoyed this week’s garden tour and appreciate you joining me! Contact me here if you have any questions.

Butterfly Garden

Garden Tour 2019

During the 2019 growing season, I diaried and photographed all of my gardens.

I love to see the gardens grow and change, and since my gardens look different every day, I documented the entire growing season.

Since documenting them here, my gardens have changed dramatically.

To see what they look like now, CLICK HERE.

Here’s what’s blooming and attracting butterflies to my garden.

Butterfly Garden
This Monarch LOVES the Echinacea in my garden!
Butterfly Garden
The Front Yard Cottage Garden

The pollinators are thoroughly enjoying the front garden.

I’ve seen several monarchs and swallowtails, hummingbirds, dragonflies, and tons of bumble bees.

They all seem so peaceful and content zipping from flower to flower to grab some nectar.

To see a video tour of the front garden this week, check out my IGTV video here.

Tall Phlox in Butterfly Garden

Blooms shown are Echinacea, Tall Phlox and Knock Out Roses.

Butterflies love this garden during this time of year.

My echinacea has self sowed so much there’s a lot here to attract them.

Butterfly Garden
Butterfly Garden

This border includes, Coral Bells, Salvia, Bee Balm, Catmint, Echinacea, Dahlias, Marigolds, Euphorbia and Tall Phlox.

Butterfly Garden
Butterflies love Bee Balm!
Butterfly Garden

White Balloon Flower is prominent in my front yard cottage garden this time of year.

And it adds a casual feel as it flops over the walkway.

Sometimes it flops a little too much so I stake them.

Butterfly Garden

I love the color and texture of these perennials and annuals!

Black Eyed Susan, Sedum, Coneflower, Rose Mallow, Echinacea, and Russian Sage, Pansies and Marigolds combine so well.

Globe Thistle and Bee Balm
Globe Thistle and Bee Balm
Butterfly Garden
Lamb’s Ear, Echinacea varieties, Verbena, Catmint, Marigolds, Euphorbia, Sedum, and Russian Sage.
Let’s Tour the Well Garden

Similar to the front border, the well garden has been laden with pollinators.

This butterfly garden has some Tall Phlox, Orange Daylillies, Coreopsis, Callicarpa, and the annuals are all blooming.

Butterflies are super attracted to the tall phlox right now.

The Zebra Grass is full-grown and adds some much-needed movement to the border while my favorite, Smoketree, continues to stun with its brilliant reddish-purple foliage.

To see a video tour of the well garden this week, check out my first IGTV video here.

butterfly garden
Callicarpa, Coreopsis, Tall Phlox, Peonies, Petunias, Marigolds, Euphorbia, Smoketree and Zebra Grass.
Butterfly Garden

I love the movement and fluidity that Zebra Grass adds to this border.

Moonbeam Coreopsis is still blooming strong together with Petunias and Tall Phlox.

And I tucked in my girls’ old tricycle.

I love how it looks with all the flowers and it reminds me of them when they were little zipping up and down the block.

Zebra Grass
Zebra Grass

I love the beautiful branches of Callicarpa.

This deciduous shrub is a must have because it has year round interest with summer blooms, the leaves turn an autumnal color in fall and then produce bright purple berries in late fall/early winter.

If it is hardy to your zone, give it a try!

I’ve heard it can be invasive in some areas, so be sure it is not invasive in yours before planting.

Butterfly Weed

These are Milk Weed seed heads.

They will eventually dry out, break open and release cottonous seeds that reseed in the garden.

This is the reason I have it growing in different gardens throughout my front yard.

Perennial Garden

Bodie likes to follow me around while I stroll gardens.

Every now and then, he just sits there and enjoys the view for a while.

Mailbox Garden Tour

The mailbox garden is in full bloom.

I love the colors the annuals add to this tiny garden.

Truth be told, I’m a little disappointed that the Clematis cover the mailbox like it normally does.

But, it was a a struggle to train this year and I’m thankful it is alive and thriving.

Mailbox Perennial Garden
Jackmanii Clematis, Petunias, Euphorbia, Margolds and Red Daylillies.
The Side Yard Gardens Tour

Since weeding them a few weeks ago, the side gardens are still looking great!

Speaking of the side gardens, I love the ferns my friend gave me several years ago.

Every time I go out there, I think of her!

That’s one of the things I love about gardening.

Every plant that has been shared with me reminds me of the person that shared it.

It’s as if a piece of them is here in the borders and I just love that!

Woodland Garden

The woodland garden on the western side of the house is looking very lush.

Featured in this garden are Ferns, Cranesbill, Joe Pye Weed, Tall Phlox, Oak Leaf Hydrangea, Rhododendron, Astilbes, and Bleeding Hearts that are yellowing and dying back.

Side Garden

This garden is located on the other side of the house near the entrance to the backyard.

It is directly behind the fire pit area and contains Forsythia, Hostas and

Backyard Garden Tour

The backyard gardens are doing well.

I need to finish weeding the back border but it has been too hot to get out there. We’ve had a serious heatwave here where the heat index was about 108!

The resident groundhog is still making his mark in the gardens.

I caught him trying to climb up my deck to snack on my containers while I was sitting there!

Backyard Perennial Garden

When I took my camera out to take a pic of him, he ran back to his entrance under my shed.

I’m not thrilled with the amount of damage he’s causing to the yard and wish he would find food elsewhere.

This garden needs to be weeded well.

Joe Pye Weed
Why You Should Keep Hosta Flowers

The Hostas are fully blooming. Some are not fans of the flowers, but I enjoy them.

And I’ve seen some hummingbirds drop by for a taste of some nectar, so if you enjoy hummingbirds, keep those flowers.

Plants include: Hostas, Bee Balm, Dark Horse Wiegela, Joe Pye Weed and Plume Poppies.

Joe Pye Weed is starting to bloom.

I love this plant!

It’s so easy-care, butterflies love them and they make a statement in the garden.

Rose of Sharon
White Chiffon Rose of Sharon
Backyard Garden
View of the berry gardens and play area from the fire pit.
Backyard Perennial and Flowering Shrub Garden

The Fire Pit garden sits outside the vegetable beds and contain Sedum Autumn Joy, Catmint, Bearded Iris, Joe Pye Weed, Ornamental Grass, Hostas, Solomon Seal, Mugo Pine, Knockout Rose, Variegated Dogwood and Double Flowering Impatiens.

This garden looks so much different from when I first took these photos back in 2019.

CLICK HERE to see the Garden Shed Makeover.

And CLICK HERE to see how I changed this over to a cut flower garden.

I moved the vegetable garden from outside the shed and grew plants in these AWESOME raised garden beds.


My Hostas are in full bloom!

I just sprayed all of my Hostas again to insure the deer leave them alone!

CLICK HERE to see my latest method for controlling deer.

It’s very effective!

Backyard Gardens

After taking this picture, I noticed the Reblooming Lilac is starting to get buds on them again.


More to come next week!

Final Thoughts

Since growing my butterfly garden, it has been a real thrill to see them stop by and enjoy the flowers. I love walking out the front door and watching nature do its thing!

If you missed a few tours or want to see how the garden has progressed, you can see them here:

Do you have a butterfly garden or love to garden too?

I would love to hear about it and see some photos of your gardens, no matter how big or small!

Your comments mean so much to me and make my day.

Butterfly Garden

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