How to Create a Butterfly Garden

Create a butterfly garden in your own backyard! Butterflies are some of the most beautiful insects on the planet. As well as bringing beauty to the garden, butterflies are crucial pollinators for plants; the swan plant is an example of one.

Growing a butterfly garden helps butterflies by giving them food to eat and a safe place to rear their young.

Did you know that butterflies can see the colour red? That’s why many butterflies prefer flowers that are warm hues like bright red, orange and yellow.

What to Plant

The easiest way to attract native butterflies to your garden is to plant a variety of food plants for caterpillars and nectar plants for butterflies.

It is best to place larval plants in clumps of at least three or four. Otherwise, hungry caterpillars may quickly eat all the leaves from one plant and end up stranded on an island of bare twigs!

Legumes such as sweet pea, peas, broad bean and lupin are ideal for blue butterfly caterpillars. Pohuehue, is a hardy, twining or climbing native plant with rounded leaves and small, white flowers, this is where you will find common copper caterpillars. Pohuehue grows best in full sun or semi-shade and grows well in dry, rocky areas and inclines.

Nectar Plants for Butterflies

butterfly garden


Grows well in full sun as well as partial shade. Plant in early spring.


butterfly garden


Plant Echinacea plants in spring or autumn, in well-drained soil in full to part sun.


butterfly garden


Plant in well drained soil in a spot with at least 5-6 hours sun daily.


butterfly garden


Plant in full sun and give them protection from strong winds.



butterfly garden


Plant anywhere they will receive at least 6 hours of sun. They prefer well-drained alkaline soil.


butterfly garden


Wildflower seeds will germinate and grow when soil and air conditions are warm.


butterfly garden


Plant in rich and well-draining soil in full sun to light shade.


butterfly garden


Hebes can be grown in both sun and shade though full sun is preferable.


Check out our Butterfly Friendly Plants Poster

butterfly garden