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Are Butterflies Attracted to Marigolds?

Written By Sara Sabharwal


Are Butterflies Attracted to Marigolds

Looking for the perfect flowering plant to grow in your garden that not only adds beautiful colour but also attracts butterflies? Then perhaps you need to consider the humble marigold… But, are butterflies attracted to marigolds or not?

Yes! Butterflies are attracted to marigolds. Marigolds are the perfect flower for you! Not only are these beautiful flowers a favourite thanks to their bold, bright, and colourful flowers, but they also attract a wide range of butterfly varieties!

Want another amazing fact about marigolds? They help ward off many pests like mosquitoes, nematodes, and whiteflies in addition to deterring animals like wild rabbits.

Lining your vegetable garden with marigolds provides safe and effective pest control that also attracts butterflies and other pollinating insects! It really is wins all round!

What Else Do Marigolds Attract?

Marigolds are known for their bright and colourful flowers. They tend to grow in clumps and spread as ground cover. Marigolds are known for their amazing ability to ward off many garden pests like mosquitos, aphids, and whiteflies all while providing for pollinating insects.

So, what else do marigolds attract that are beneficial to your garden? In addition to butterflies, marigolds attract hoverflies, wasps, and bees, all of which are important and effective pollinators.

Marigolds come in many varieties that slightly change their colouring. While most varieties do have the traditional golden colour somewhere in their flowers, marigolds can also be deep red, orange, golden yellow, pale yellow, lemon yellow, or red.

Marigolds that contain more reddish hues are not as popular with bees as bees cannot see the colour red. To them, red looks black or like an absence of colour.

If you are hoping to attract all sorts of pollinators, keep in mind to plant marigolds that are more golden or yellow so bees can also find them. 

Are Marigolds Nectar Rich?

Yes, marigolds are loaded with nectar which is why a range of pollinators visit them. Beneficial insects also visit marigolds as they are often covered in pests which provide other insects with a source of protein.

Which Varieties of Marigold Attract Butterflies? 

Marigolds are some of the best flowers to attract butterflies. Luckily, butterflies do not discriminate or prefer a certain marigold over the other types.

Planting a large variety of marigolds provides the most benefits to your garden. Some varieties of marigolds have lemon-scented foliage, which also will attract bees. Orange marigolds have been known to deter nematodes and other pests. 

If you are using marigolds for a purpose other than just attracting butterflies, be sure to choose the variety that lines up with what you are needing.

If you want to attract butterflies, choose a variety in a colour that is appealing to you and goes well with your other plants as any colour will draw butterflies in. If you want to attract bees too, however, then avoid red hues.

Planting marigolds in your vegetable garden is a great way to increase pollination near your vegetable plants. Grow marigolds near your tomatoes to help encourage pollinators to frequent the area and hopefully pollinate your tomato plants along the way. When a tomato, pepper, or other vegetable plant is blooming, the flower needs to be pollinated before it will form fruit (which will grow to a vegetable). 

Want to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden?

We’ve Put Together an Ultimate Guide to Attracting Butterflies to Your Garden Including Our Top 11 Plants You NEED to Start Growing Today:

Why Do Butterflies Like Marigolds?

Butterflies love marigolds because of their bright colours and abundance of nectar. These flowers tend to grow in large clumps with many flowers near one another, making it easy for a butterfly to feast until it is full without having to travel far.

In addition to their beautiful bright colours, many marigolds also have a very fragrant smell that attracts butterflies from a distance. 

Don’t Limit Yourself to Marigolds, However!

However, this doesn’t mean you should get carried away with filling your garden solely with marigolds. Butterflies, like all wildlife, will need a bit of variety.

Fortunately, butterflies also love asters, daisies, sunflowers, and other wildflowers that offer them easy access to nectar and are bright in colour.

It is one thing to attract butterflies to your space, but to keep them there, you need to focus on the entire lifecycle. Marigolds are beneficial to caterpillars but this doesn’t mean all caterpillars will thrive.

Other plants are more beneficial to caterpillars such as milkweed, dill, asters, and sunflower stems. Milkweed is extremely important for monarch caterpillars as it is the only food that they will eat.

Attracting caterpillars might seem a bit bonkers – especially when you consider the damage they can do to a veg patch. But, without caterpillars, you can’t have butterflies. If you’re keen to see butterflies fluttering around your garden then you’ll need to sacrifice a plant or two to a caterpillar infestation.

Do Caterpillars Eat Marigolds?

Yes! Caterpillats do eat marigolds. In fact, they are often used as a trap plant to keep caterpillars away from vulnerable crops with marigolds being used sacrificially.


Marigolds could be the best flower to grow to attract butterflies. These bright and colourful flowers provide an array of benefits that fit any gardener’s needs and wants. As a natural repellent to many pests like mosquitos, aphids, wild rabbits, and more, marigolds can easily find a spot in your garden or landscape. 

To help attract more butterflies, be sure to add other flowers that provide nourishment for both adult butterflies and caterpillars.

Growing milkweed, dill, asters, daisies, pumpkins, and other wildflowers can help keep a bountiful butterfly population in your butterfly garden for the season. 

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