Plants in the Garden

The plants in the garden have been selected to provide a healthy and natural butterfly habitat. This habitat requires plenty of sunshine, a water source, protection from the wind, nectar plants in bloom from early spring to late fall and host plants to provide a place to lay eggs and provide food for hatched caterpillars. Organic gardening practices are utilized to protect the plants, butterflies, and the gardeners too!

You will find both perennial and annual species of plants growing in the garden. Their rainbow colors, varying shapes and sweet fragrances attract different butterflies who flit from flower to flower drawing up nectar with their long proboscis and pollinating plants as they float through the garden.

Stroll quietly or sit for a spell and observe the butterfly activity in the garden that varies from day to day. Butterfly gardens have a magic about them that can lift the spirit and cheer the soul even on a cloudy day!

Nectar Plants for Butterflies

Early Summer Perennials
Flowering onions Allium spp.
Lupine Lupinus polyphyllus
Catmint Nepeta x fassenii

Mid-Summer Perennials
Milkweeds Ascelepias spp.
Coreopsis Coreopsis spp.
Lavender Lavandula angustifolia
Beebalm Monarda didyma

Late Summer Perennials
Aster (some) Aster spp.
Butterflybush Buddleia davidii
Joe-Pye weed Eupatorium purpureum
Purple coneflower Echinacea purpurea
Globe thistle Echinops ritro

Common lilac Syringa vulgaris
Viburnum (some) Viburnum spp
Summersweet Clethra alnifolia
Dogwood (some) Cornus spp.
Azalea, Rhododendron (some) Rhododendron spp.

Larval Food
Herbaceous plants
Hollyhock Alcea rosea
Milkweed, Bloodflower (some) Asclepias spp.
Aster (some) Aster spp.
Cabbage, Kale, Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Kohlrabi, Cauliflower, Mustard, Turnip Brassica spp.
Carrot Daucus carota
Sunflower Helianthus annuus
Stonecrop Hylotelephium spp., Sedum spp.
Parsley Petroselinum crispum
Clover Trifolium spp.
Violet (some) Viola spp.
Milk Thistle


Ageratum Ageratum houstonianum
Snapdragon Antirrhinum majus
Calliopsis Coreopsis tinctoria
Globe amaranth Gomphrena spp.
Sunflower Helianthus annuus
Heliotrope Heliotropium arborescens
Lantana Lantana camara
Lobelia Lobelia erinus
Sweet alyssum Lobularia maritima
Petunia Petunia spp.
French marigold Tagetes patula
Verbena Verbena spp.
Zinnia Zinnia spp.

Trees and Shrubs

Birch (some) Betula spp.
Dogwood (some) Cornus spp.
Ash (some) Fraxinus spp.
Poplar, Cottonwood (some) Populus spp.
Oak (some) Quercus spp.
Sumac (some) Rhus spp.
Common Lilac Syringa vulgaris
Blueberry, Cranberry (some) Vaccinium spp.
Viburnum (some) Viburnum spp.


Source: University of Maine Cooperative Extension Publications