Creating a Garden to Attract Hummingbirds and Butterflies

Attracting nature’s jewels to your garden is easy to do when you plant the right combinations, and offer the right elements in your garden. It is a joy to watch these fluttering beauties enjoy your garden as much as you!

Begin with the Basics Food/Nectar:

This, of course, is a life-sustaining necessity for butterflies & hummingbirds. Most often provided and preferred in the fashion of annuals, perennials and shrubs this will be the primary planting of your flutter garden. Nectar can certainly be supplemented by the use of a feeder, but clean the feeder regularly to keep bacteria from growing.

Water:

Animals, large and small, require water. For butterflies shallow dishes or saucers are preferred. Place a few stones, or a piece of wood in the center of a birdbath to give the butterfly a place to land and rest, making your water source more attractive. A mister is also enjoyed by both butterfly and hummingbird. Misting your plants in the morning (especially if the dew has quickly dried) is also a delight to these winged creatures.

Shelter:

Natural shelter is best. Both will seek shelter in trees and shrubs, and the butterfly may even be more creative seeking solace in a wood pile or house eaves. Hummingbirds build their nests, about the size of a walnut shell, up high using spider silk to bind it and lines it the inside with down to make it soft.

FLUTTER TIPS:

  • Butterflies are drawn both visually and aromatically.
  • Small butterflies have short “tongues” and prefer flowers with tight clusters of bloom. Larger butterflies have longer “tongues” and find deep-throated flowers more to their liking.
  • Your garden should be a blend of nectar-producing plants and host plants, to keep butterflies around (not just eat and run!)
  • Butterflies favor the colors purple and yellow, followed by blue, white, then red.
  • Hummingbirds are territorial. If you use feeders, use several as far apart as you can.
  • Hummingbirds are attracted to red.
  • Hummingbirds feed on insects too! So don’t be too quick to smash that spider!

List of Nectar Perennials / Shrubs that Attract Butterflies and Hummingbirds

ACHILLES SP.
Yarrow
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: Butterflies

ACONITUM SP.

Monkshood
Light: Part to Full Sun
Attracts: Butterflies

ALCEA ROSEA
Hollyhock
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: Butterflies & Hummingbirds

AQUILEGIA SP.
Columbine
Light: PartSun
Attracts: Hummingbirds

ARTEMISIA SP.
Wormwood
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: Butterflies

ASCLEPIAS TUBEROSA SP.
Butterfly Weed
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: Butterflies
ASTER SP.

Aster
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: ButterfliesASTILBE SP.
Astilbe V.
Light: Part Sun
Attracts: Butterflies

BAPTISIA AUSTRALIS
Blue False Indigo
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: Butterflies & Hummingbirds

BUDDLEIA
Butterfly Bush
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: Butterflies & Hummingbirds

CAMPSIS RADICANS
Trumpet Vine
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: Butterflies & Hummingbirds

CARYOPTERIS
Blue Mist Spirea
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: Butterflies

CHAENOMELES SP.
Flowering Quince
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: Hummingbirds

CHELONE LYONII
Turtlehead
Light: Part Sun
Attracts: Hummingbirds

CLEMATIS SP.
Clematis
Light: Part Sun
Attracts: Butterflies

CLETHRA
Summersweet
Light: Part Shade
Attracts: Hummingbirds

COREOPSIS LANCEOLATA
Coreopsis V.
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: Butterflies

CROCOSMIA HYBRIDS
Montbretia Lucifer
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: Hummingbirds

DICENTRA SP.
Bleeding Heart, Fern Leaf
Light: Part Sun
Attracts: Hummingbirds

DIGITALIS MERTONENSIS
Strawberry Foxglove
Light: Part Sun
Attracts: Hummingbirds

ECHINACEA PURPUREA
Purple Coneflower
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: Butterflies

EUPATORIUM MACULATUM
Joe Pye Weed
Light: Full to Part Sun
Attracts: Butterflies

GAILLARDIA X GRANDIFLORA
Blanket Flower
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: Butterflies

HELIOPSIS HELIANTHOIDES
Sunflower Helioposis
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: Butterflies

HEMEROCALLIS SP.
Daylily
Light: Full to Part Sun
Attracts: Butterflies & Hummingbirds

HEURCHERA SANGUINEA
Coral Bells
Light: Part Sun
Attracts: HummingbirdsHIBISCUS SYRIACUS
Rose of Sharon
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: Butterflies & Hummingbirds

HOSTA SP.
Hosta Varieties
Light: Shade
Attracts: Butterflies & Hummingbirds

IBERIS SEMPERVIRENS
Candytuft
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: Butterflies

LEUCANTEMUM SP.
Daisy
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: Butterflies

LAVANDULA SP.
Lavender
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: Butterflies & Hummingbirds

LIATRIS SP.
Gayfeather
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: Butterflies & Hummingbirds

LOBELIA CARDINALIS
Cardinal Flower
Light: Part Sun
Attracts: Butterflies & Hummingbirds

LONICERA
Honeysuckle Vine
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: Hummingbirds

LUPINE POLYPHYLLUS
Lupine
Light: Part Sun
Attracts: Butterflies & Hummingbirds

LYCHNIS CHALCEDONICA
Maltese Cross
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: Hummingbirds

MONARDA DIDYMA
Beebalm
Light: Full to Part Sun
Attracts: Butterflies & Hummingbirds

PENSTEMON SP.
Beardtounge
Light: Full to Part Sun
Attracts: Hummingbirds

PHLOX PANICULATA
Garden Phlox
Light: Full to Part Sun
Attracts: Butterflies & Hummingbirds

RUDECKIA SP.
Black-Eyed Susan
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: Butterflies

SALVIA SP.
Salvia
Light: Full to Part Sun
Attracts: Butterflies & Hummingbirds

SCABIOSA CAUCASICA
Pincushion Flower
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: Butterflies

SEDUM SPECTABILE
Sedum
Light: Full to Part Sun
Attracts: Butterflies

STOKESIA LAEVIS
Stokes’ Aster
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: Butterflies

SYRINGA
Lilac
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: Butterflies

WEIGELA FLORIDA
Weigela
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: Hummingbirds

List of Nectar Annuals that Attract Butterflies and Hummingbirds

CLEOME
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: Hummingbirds

COSMOS
Light: Full Sun
Attracts: ButterfliesFUCHSIA
Light: Part Sun to Shade
Attracts: Hummingbirds

HELIOTROPE
Light: Part Sun to Shade
Attracts: Butterflies

IMPATIENS
Light: Shade
Attracts: Butterflies

LOBELIA
Light: Part Sun
Attracts: Butterflies

MUMS
Light: Sun
Attracts: Butterflies

NASTURTIUM
Light: Sun
Attracts: Butterflies

NICOTIANA
Light: Sun
Attracts: Butterflies & HummingbirdsPENTA
Light: Sun
Attracts: Butterflies & Hummingbirds

PETUNIA
Light: Sun
Attracts: Hummingbirds

SALVIA
Light: Sun
Attracts: Butterflies

VERBENA
Light: Sun
Attracts: Butterflies

ZINNIA
Light: Sun
Attracts: Butterflies & Hummingbirds

Host Plants for Midwest Butterflies

Black Swallowtail Carrot // dill, fennel, parsley
Great Spangled Fritillary // violet
Monarch // milkweed
Pearly Crescentspot // aster
Pipevine Swallowtail // pipevine (Dutchman’s pipe)
Red-Spotted Purple // wild cherry, willow
Spicebush Swallowtail // sassafras, spicebush
Viceroy // cherry, plum, poplar, willow