Butterfly Plants

Did you know that GreenWay is Canada’s largest supplier of butterfly-attracting plants? We invite you to bring the beauty of butterflies to your backyard. Whether you have space for a full garden, or just a planter on your deck or balcony, we can help you create a habitat for butterflies. Experience the natural wonder of their life cycle from egg, to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly.

Here are some tips to help make your garden “butterfly friendly.”

  1. Butterflies use two different types of plants – those that provide nectar for the adults to eat (nectar plants), and those that provide food for their larvae or caterpillars (host plants). You need to have both types of plants in your garden to keep the butterflies around all year.
  2. Plant your butterfly garden in a sunny location (5-6 hours sun each day), but sheltered from the winds. Keep your plants moist at all times.
  3. Do not use any chemicals in your garden. 
  4. Provide a source of water for the butterflies.  Fill a bird bath, keep a mud puddle damp in a sunny location, or fill a container with sand and enough water to make the sand saturated.
  5. Place the taller plants at the back of your garden, or centre of your container. The lower ones can then be arranged in the centre of your garden, or around the outside of the container.
  6. Remember, the host plants are there for the caterpillar to eat. It’s to be expected that at times you’ll have half-eaten plants in your garden! This is a necessary part of their life cycle.

A butterfly garden requires both nectar plants for the butterflies and host plants for the caterpillars.

Three plants you should definitely include in your Butterfly garden are:

  • Rue – attracts all types of Swallowtails including the Tiger, The Black and the Giant
  • Milkweed – A must have for Monarchs
  • Verbena Bonariensis (the tall, blue type). This nectar plant can be planted anywhere and can even take a light frost, so will keep blooming through October. It often reseeds itself too.

Here’s a list of the best annuals for butterflies.

  • Nectar
    • Cleome
    • Fuchsia
    • Lantana
    • Heliotrope
    • Nicotiana
    • Pentas
    • Petunia
  • Host
    • Dill
    • Fennel
    • Flowering cabbage and kale
    • Licorice plant


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