Do Geraniums Attract Butterflies?

Sara Sabharwal
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There are several bedding plants that are not beneficial to butterflies or other pollinators. Geraniums, for example, are not hugely popular with bees. But, do geraniums attract butterflies?

Yes, geraniums can attract butterflies. Butterflies are drawn in by the scent of geraniums and the abundance of nectar that they then find on the flowers.

One of the best plants to grow in your butterfly garden is also one of the hardiest and easy to care for! Geraniums are beautiful flowers that grow in small clusters and give off a light scent.

Not only do the flowers emit a wonderful and sweet aroma, but the leaves of certain geranium plants can also smell like strawberries or peppermint depending on the type.

Butterflies love the sweet nectar that comes from geraniums grown as annual plants. This is because the nectar in plants grown as annuals tends to be much sweeter and more appetizing than the nectar of perennial plants.

Do Hardy Geraniums Attract Butterflies?

Yes, hardy geraniums (also known as cranesbills) will attract butterflies alongside other pollinators. The good news is that they will come back year after year with very little care. Green Butterfly on a Cranesbill Geraniums

Do Bees Like Geraniums?

Some geraniums are attractive to bees, if they’re in shades of white or pink. Red geraniums, however, are less attractive as they cannot see the colour red.

What Else Do Geraniums Attract?

In addition to beautiful butterflies, geraniums attract pollinators like bees and hummingbirds.

Geraniums are attractive to these pollinators thanks to their abundance of sweet nectar and delicious pollen. Bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies can smell their enticing aroma from a distance, drawing them to the flower. 

Once they have arrived at the plant, they find a cluster of delicious flowers that will keep them occupied until they are full.

Pollinators love the convenience of enjoying their all-they-can-eat buffet of nectar without flying from plant to plant. Clusters of flowers on one plant allow them to conserve energy and rest while gathering food.

Bumble Bee on a Pink Geranium

Which Varieties of Geraniums Attract Butterflies? 

It is best to plant annual geraniums if your goal is to attract the most butterflies. Annual plants have more sweet nectar in them than their perennial counterparts.

Luckily, almost all geraniums bloom better as annuals anyway. So choosing annual geraniums at the local garden centre and keeping them in pots or growing them in the ground is easy to do each spring. 

Geraniums tend to come in pink, white, or red.

If you are also hoping to attract bees, it is best to avoid red flowers as bees cannot see that wavelength. Instead, planting white or pink geraniums would give you the maximum amount of pollinator visitors.

Planting geraniums alone may not give the result you are hoping for. While these plants are great for attracting butterflies, growing a wide variety of flower options is the best way to keep more butterflies in your garden.

Growing plants like milkweed, thistle, and lavender encourage butterflies to lay their eggs in the area. Caterpillars will grow into adult butterflies and need sustenance while preparing to cocoon. 

Planting multiple plants that encourage all stages of the butterfly life cycle will increase the number of butterflies in your garden. We know that caterpillars can be a pain – but if you want butterflies, you’ll need caterpillars first!

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 Geraniums?

When deciding which plants to grow to attract butterflies and pollinating insects, you must remember what these creatures look for. Choosing plants that offer lots of nectar, are easily accessible and are abundant are all important. 

Geraniums are a great option because they offer an abundance of nectar in each flower and multiple blooms clustered closely together. When a butterfly does not have to travel far to gather nectar, it will stay in one place much longer. 

Brightly coloured blooms in pinks, whites, and reds emit subtly sweet aromas that draw the butterflies in from a distance. Geraniums even have foliage that can give off a wonderful aroma, making these plants irresistible to butterflies.

If you are hoping to increase the number of butterflies you see in your garden, growing a wide range of pollinator-friendly flowers allows for a diverse garden scene and an increased pollinator population.

Butterflies love flowers that allow them to have easy access to nectar. Choosing large, flat, open-face style flowers like asters or sunflowers allows butterflies to rest while they gather their food.

Orange Butterfly on a Cluster of Asters

Thanks to a unique and specially designed mouth, butterflies can suck nectar from the centre of trumpet-shaped flowers, like bluebells and petunias. 

What Else Should You Do to Attract Butterflies?

Along with food, butterflies need water and other nutrients. Creating small mud puddles allows butterflies to drink in minerals needed to live and remain healthy enough to lay eggs.

You can also create a “bee bubbler” by placing marbles in a shallow dish and filling slightly with water. This allows the insects to drink water without worrying about falling in and drowning.

Butterfly wings are controlled by teeny tiny muscles that need to be warmed by the sun to work at their highest potential. This is why you may notice butterflies opening and closing their wings while resting on a rock.

Butterflies use rocks for sunbathing and allowing their wings to be warmed. Placing sunbathing rocks throughout your garden will offer these beautiful creatures a place to rest and recharge after a long day of feeding. 

Summary

Yes, geraniums work great for attracting butterflies. Butterflies love both the bright colour and the scent they give off. Once drawn in, butterflies will be treated with a bountiful supply of sweet nectar.


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