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Horticulture and Home Pest News
Horticulture & Home Pest News is filled with articles on current horticulture, plant care, pest management, and common household pests written by Iowa State University Extension specialists in the Departments of Entomology, Horticulture and Plant Pathology.

Recommended Plants for a Butterfly Garden

This article was published originally on 2/23/2001

The following plants will attract and encourage butterflies in Iowa. Most provide nectar for adults; others (marked with a C ) are a necessary food source for specific caterpillars. Refer to Food Preferences of Common Iowa Butterflies. Some plants support both caterpillars and adult butterflies (for example, asters, milkweeds and thistles). Inclusion of a plant does not constitute an endorsement of its use. Evaluate carefully your site and all available information before deciding to plant or retain any plants in your landscape.

Trees shrubs

Ash C
Birch C
Boxelder C
Buttonbush
Cherry C
Coralberry C
Dogwoods C
Hackberry C
Honeysuckle
Hoptree C
Lilac C
Maple
Oak C
Poplar C
Plum C
Prickly ash C
Spicebush C
Spireas
Sumacs C
Sweet mockorange
Weigela
Willow C

Annual Flowers

Cosmos
Flowering tobacco
Four o'clocks
Globe amaranth
Heliotrope
Lantana
Marigold C
Mexican sunflower
Nasturtium C
Petunia
Salvia
Snapdragon
Statice
Verbena
Zinnia

Weeds

Burdock C
Cinquefoil
Common milkweed C
Dandelion
Ironweed
Knapweed C


Mullen
Mustard C
Nettles C
Queen Anne's Lace C
Sedge C
Thistles C

Other

Anise C
Alfalfa C
Broccoli C
Cabbage C
Carrot C
Celery C
Clovers C
Dill C
Garden pea C
Grasses C
Parsley C
Parsnip C
Rosemary
Vetch C

Perennials

Asters C
Aster spp.
Bee balm
Monarda spp.
Black-eyed Susans C
Rudbeckia spp.
Blanketflower
Gaillardia spp.
Butterfly weed
Asclepias tuberosa
Butterfly-bush
Buddleia spp.
Cardinal flower
Lobelia cardinalis
Centaureas
Centaurea spp.
Columbine
Aquilegia spp.
Common evening primrose
Oenothera biennis
Daisy, feverfew
Chrysanthemum spp.
Dame's rocket
Hesperis matronalis
Daylily
Hemerocallis spp.
False indigo C
Baptisia spp.
Fireweed
Epilobium angustifolium
Fleabane
Erigeron spp.
Garden phlox
Phlox paniculata
Gayfeather, Blazing star
Liatris spp.
Gentian
Gentiana sp.
Globe thistle
Echinops spp.
Goldenrods
Solidago spp.
Heliopsis
Heliopsis spp.
Hibiscus C
Hibiscus spp.
Hollyhock C
Alcea rosea
Hyssop
Hyssopus officinalis
Joe Pye weed
Eupatorium maculatum
Leadplant
Amorpha canescens
Lily
Lilium spp.
Mallow C
Malva spp.
Milkweeds C
Asclepias spp.
Obedient plant
Physostegia virginiana
Pearly everlasting C
Anaphalis margaritacea
Penstemon
Penstemon spp.
Peppermint and spearmint
Mentha spp.
Pincushion flower
Scabiosa spp.
Purple coneflower
Echinacea purpurea
Rock-cress C
Arabis spp.
Selfheal
Prunella grandiflora
Stonecrop C
Sedum spp.
Sunflowers C
Helianthus spp.
Sweet William, Pinks C
Dianthus spp.
Sweet pea
Lathyrus spp.
Thyme
Thymus spp.
Tickseed sunflower
Bidens aristosa
Turtlehead
Chelone glabra
Violets C
Viola spp.
Yarrow
Achillea spp.

Adapted from Krischik, V., 1996. Butterfly Gardening. University of Minnesota Extension Service publication AG-BU-6711-S.

Prepared by Donald R. Lewis, extension entomologist and Richard Jauron and Cindy Haynes, extension horticulturists. January, 2001



This article originally appeared in the February 23, 2001 issue, pp. 15-16.

Year of Publication: 
2001
Issue: 
IC-485(3) -- February 23, 2001