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9 Perennials that Attract Butterflies?

Written By Richie Alston


Perennials that Attract Butterflies

If you want to bring lots of colourful butterflies to brighten your precious garden even more, then you’ll have to put plants in it that butterflies love. Perennials are great as they come back year-on-year. But, which perennials attract butterflies?

Buddleia, red valerian, verbena bonariensis, gaillardia, and many other flowering plants attract butterflies due to their bright colours and strong fragrances. 

Flowers such as buddleia, red valerians, Gaillardia, and several other flowering plants with strong fragrances and bright colours attract many pollinating insects.

Butterflies are what many people want to attract to their garden as butterflies look beautiful with their pretty colourful patterned wings.

Which Perennials are Attractive to Butterflies?

Butterflies are mostly attracted to flowering plants that are easy to land on with nice fragrances and bright colours. Many flowers attract butterflies for their pollination. But which perennials work best?


Buddleia, also known as butterfly bush, are large, fast-growing shrubby plants with flowers that butterflies cannot resist – hence the name!

These quick-growing deciduous plants can be planted anywhere where their messy growth doesn’t spread to areas you don’t want them spreading. These flowers grow up to 12 feet tall, but you can also find dwarf variations if you’re looking for a groomed look. 

The flowers bloom in summer, and in the fall, they have red, yellow, violet, purple, pink, and lavender colours. They bloom in flower clusters and have a very fruity fragrance. 

To plant these shrubs that attract many pollinating insects such as butterflies and even hummingbirds, you will need well-drained and fertile soil and full sun.

Butterfly on Purple Pink Buddleia

Red Valerian

Centranthus ruber, spur valerian, devil’s beard, fox’s brush, and Jupiter’s beard are some of the names of the plant called red valerian. Many pollinating animals like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds love visiting gardens with red valerians as they provide a good source of nectar. 

For planting red valerians, it’s advised to plant red valerians in the fall or summer 12 feet apart. Sow in a tray and keep the soil moist while planting red valerian. 

Verbena Bonariensis

Verbena Bonariensis has a narrow, tall, and sparsely leafed stem. On top of their sparsely leafed stem, it has flattened heads of purplish flowers bloom in the late summer.

It’s a very tall flower that adds a purple or violet aesthetic to your garden, which butterflies love, so with a garden with Verbena Bonariensis, you’ll get many butterflies. 

To plant these plants, you’ll require moist but also well-drained soil and full sun. If conditions are favourable, the plants will self-seed, but if the region is cold, they may require protection. 

Butterfly Pollinating Verbena Bonariensis

Flowering Hebe

Hebe blooms in clustered flowers that are white, pink, purple, or violet in colours.

The flowers are pretty, but the plant’s foliage is also very appealing. Butterflies adore hebe plants, and they love their fragrance and colours. 

To plant hebe, dig a hole that is a little bigger than the hole of its pot and plant hebe in the summer months. Hebes can grow in poor soil quite easily, so you don’t have to do much for the soil. 

Wild Marjoram

Wild marjoram is a very aromatic perennial herb. It has oval leaves that appear in pairs on its stems that are reddish. Clusters of small red/pink flowers grow on their stems.

Many types of butterflies love the nectar-rich blooming flowers of the plant. If you’re planting in the late winters or early springs, you can plant these indoors and put them out when the cold weather passes.

These plants are planted in well-drained soil with full sun. 

White Butterfly on Marjoram


Erysimum, also called wallflowers, are beautiful plants that brighten up your ground and have a beautiful fragrance that butterflies and other pollinating insects and animals love.

They have vibrant, pretty colours like purple, orange, peach, pink and yellow. Soak with water in the pot or border you’re planting to plant them. 

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Purple coneflowers are very easy to plant as they’re low maintenance but very aesthetic. These large droopy purple flowers are a good choice for the garden, especially if you want to see many butterflies in your garden.

Butterflies also love these flowers as they’re good landing platforms. 

For planting, these plants won’t grow in mucky wet soil but will like poor, rocky soil. They also need full or partial sun. 

Butterfly Pollinating Echinacea


These flowers are great for a garden as they have a very long flowering period; they’re bushy and produce a large mass of colourful, vibrant flowers that attract many butterflies to your garden.

These flowers like to be grown in full sun, but they will also grow in partial shade – the more shade the area has, the less likely the flower will grow, so remember to put it in a sunny spot. 


Aster is a pretty herbaceous perennial plant with many colours. To grow aster, you must plant it in full or partial sun; aster likes moist or cool summers. Butterflies love them for their vibrant colours and strong aroma.

Do All Perennials Attract Butterflies?

No, not all perennials will attract butterflies. The flower needs to be laden with nectar and have a flat landing surface to entice butterflies.

Which is the Best Shrub for Attracting Butterflies?

There is a reason that buddleia is referred to as butterfly bush and that is because it is one of the best plants for attracting butterflies. Butterflies love its nectar-rich long tubes of flowers.


Butterflies can make any garden look ten times prettier and more aesthetic in appearance. Many flowers attract butterflies and other pollinating insects to your garden.

If you want to plant perennials that attract butterflies, then opt for asters, coneflowers, wild marjoram, and hebe plants.

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