Creating a butterfly garden is anything but new. In fact, there are more resources available via Google on how to make a butterfly garden than the practice of creating a square foot garden. But, what if the garden you are trying to create needs to be limited to container plants?
Those gardeners who live in apartments, lifestyle villages, or who only have space on their rooftops are limited to what they can plant. Everything they grow must be contained in some form of pot rather than in garden soil. So, is it possible to create a butterfly container garden?
Sure, it’s just a matter of choosing the right plants that will (a) survive living in a container, and (b) still entice butterflies.
Keys to growing butterfly plants in containers
- Select the right container – this is paramount to your success in growing the plants that butterflies like. For example, if you choose to grow Buddleia davidii you will need to source a sizable container to accomodate its growth. Finding pots that won’t dry out fast (which may mean sealing the inside of terracotta containers) is also as important.
- Choose brightly coloured containers – butterflies aren’t attracted to bright colours for nectar but they are for mating. And there’s nothing like drawing a crowd. So, while your flowers may be a few weeks away from blooming having brightly coloured pots may be the enticement they need.
- Increase your watering – if you’ve grown many of these plants in your garden beds before then you will quickly notice that they need more water now they’re in containers. The potting medium is far more likely to dry out because of its limited volume so prepare yourself to water every day during the warmer months.
- Protect your plants from hot winds – if you have a balcony or rooftop garden you’re more likely to experience stronger winds. Butterfly plants being what they are are usually quite heavy bloomers with whispy fragile stems so you may need to protect them from strong cross-winds.
Now that you have your containers already to go, what plants can you put in them to attract butterflies to your garden?
Plants to attract in your butterfly garden
Here’s a short list of some of the plants that you will be able to grow noticing that they all are great bloom producers. Flowers are the main reason a butterfly, like bees, will be attracted to your plants so give them as much as they want.
Not all plants will work in all areas and the butterflies that are native in your region may be more particular about which plants they like to feast on. As your butterflies begin to descend upon your garden, take notice of which plants they’re attracted to and learn from their behaviour.
|Blanket Flower||Gaillardia aristata|
|Blue Vervain||Verbena hastata|
|Burning Bush||Dictamnus albus|
|Butterfly Bush||Buddleia davidii|
|Butterfly Flower||Schizanthus wisetonensis|
|Butterfly Lily||Hedychium coronarium|
|Butterfly Orchid||Oncidium papilio|
|Butterfly Pea||Clitoria ternata|
|Cardinal Flower||Lobelia cardinalis|
|Common Milkweed||Asclepias syriaca|
|Dutchman’s Breeches||Dicentra cucullaria|
|English Lavender||Lavendula angustifolia|
|Evening Primrose||Oenothera biennis|
|False Aster||Boltonia asteroides|
– Suggested by Annie
|Field Scabious||Knautia arvensis|
|French Marigolds||Tagetes patula|
|Gloriosa Daisy||Rudbeckia hirta|
|Goat’s Beard||Aruncus dioicus|
|Heath Aster||Aster ericoides|
|Helen’s Flower||Helenium autumnale|
|Hemp Agrimony||Eupatorium cannabinum|
|Joe Pye Weed||Eupatorium maculatum|
|Lacecap Hydrangea||Hydrangea macrophylla|
|Lanceleaf Coreopsis||Coreopsis lanceolata|
|Lavender Hyssop||Agastache foeniculum|
|Meadow Rose||Rosa Blanda|
|Mexican Orange Blossom||Choisya ternata|
|Passion Flower||Passiflora incarnata|
|Pasture Rose||Rosa carolina|
|Purpletop Verbena||Verbena bonariensis
– Suggested by Annie
|Sea Pink||Armeria maritima|
|Shasta Daisy||Chrysanthemum shasta|
|Silky Aster||Aster sericeus|
|Sky Blue Aster||Aster azureus|
|Smooth Aster||Aster laevis|
|Smooth Solomon’s Seal||Polygonatum biflorum|
|Sweet Pea||Lathyrus odoratus|
|Sweet pepper bush||Clethra alnifolia|
|Sweet Rocket||Hesperis matronalis|
|Sweet William||Dianthus barbatus|
|Virginian Stock||Malcomia maritima|
|White Aster||Aster ptarmicoides|
|White False Indigo||Baptisia leucantha|
|Wild Lupine||Lupinus perennis|
|Wild Rose||Rosa arkansana|
|Wild Senna||Cassia hebecarpa|