Gardening to Attract Hummingbirds and Butterflies!


Do you love to see hummingbirds and butterflies while you are outside? I sure do! When we lived in the urban area I never saw hummingbirds and maybe a butterfly once in a while. Now at the Simongetti North I get hummingbirds, dragonflies and butterflies. I will be gardening to attract hummingbirds and butterflies!  There are specific types of plant that will attract these beautiful creatures to hang out in your yard.  We are going to discover the types of plants needed for the caterpillar to butterfly stage, what is needed to help the butterfly thrive and help make them want to live in your garden. We will learn what is needed for the hummingbird, the type of flowers with lots of nectar and what flowers will give the nectar needed for the hummingbird.

Beautiful Flowers

How to Attract Butterflies to your Garden

You need to have the right conditions to attract butterflies, there is a few things you should do. A butterfly garden needs to provide food for the different feeding stages of a butterfly from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to then the beautiful butterfly. The food should consist of leaves for the caterpillar and nectar for the butterfly stage.

The caterpillars tend to favor the milkweed the best, as they tend to be picky eaters and may only eat the milkweed. Monarchs will lay their eggs in milkweed. If you are not a fan of milkweeds, usually people pull these out and toss them. You can plant them in a different garden not to far away.

Monarch on FlowerAdult butterflies need nectar to live. They are attracted to bright beautiful flowers. Have a variety of different plants will attract different kinds of butterflies. Butterflies also need moisture and plan on adding a place for the butterfly to get a drink but not drown, a mud puddle or a small bird bath with maybe some rocks to land on for them to get a drink.

Also, a water feature in the yard would give them water as long as they have shallow accesses to the water. Don’t forget to keep them full of water. Having different sources of water for them will help with their water needs. Butterflies need minerals and have a rotting banana available and other fruit for them to eat.

Place flat rocks in different spots of the garden, the sun warms up the rocks for the butterfly to sunbath and to warm and maintain the body temperature they need. Using stone and rocks for boarders around the gardens instead of plastic would also give the butterflies resting places. The butterflies do best with 6 hours of sunlight per day.

Some people will have a salt block around to attract the male butterflies, they like to hang out around sodium sources. Avoid using any pesticides including organic as these can poison the butterflies. If you are serious about having a butterfly garden, you might consider purchasing a butterfly gardening book, learn the different species that visit your yard and understand their habits. There will be times when you will have lots of butterflies visiting and then there will be times they may not due to various reasons. Having a hard winter could make them a bit scarce or they may relocate to a different area for a season.

Best Flowers to Attract Butterflies

Flowers to attract Larvae

  • Asters – (especially pearl crescents)
  • Bermuda Grass
  • Clovers – (Especially clouded sulphurs)
  • Lupines
  • Mallows
  • Milkweeds (especially monarchs)
  • Parsley
  • Plantains
  • St. Augustine Grass
  • Snapdragons (especially buckeyes)
  • Viburnums (especially spring azurs)Butterfly

Flowers to attract Adults

  • Asters (especially buckeyes, clouded sulphurs, pearl crescents and spring azurs)
  • Bee Balms
  • Black-eyed Susan (especially pearl crescents)
  • Butterfly Bushes (especially tiger swallowtails)
  • Butterfly weed (especially swallowtails, checkered whites, spring azurs and tiger swallowtails)
  • Cosmos (especially monarchs)
  • Flowering Tobacco
  • Foxglove
  • Gayfeathers
  • Globe Centaurea
  • Globe Thistle (especially black swallowtails, gulf fritillaries and pearl crescents)
  • Honeysuckles (especially tiger swallowtails)
  • Impatiens (especially gulf fritillaries)
  • Lantanas (especially gulf fritillaries)
  • Lilacs (especially monarchs and tiger swallowtails)
  • Lilies
  • Lupines
  • Milkweeds
  • Mistflower (especially monarchs)
  • Orange coneflowers
  • Phlox
  • Pinks
  • Purple coneflowers
  • Sunflowers
  • Sweet rocket
  • tickseed

As you can see only 3, plants (Asters, Lupines and Milkweeds) in the adult list will work for the larvae stage.

How to Attract Hummingbirds to your Garden

Since moving to the Simongetti North, I look forward to the spring for the arrival of our ruby-throated hummingbirds by placing my hummingbird feeders, with homemade nectar with no food coloring, out by early May. I love hummingbirds, they are so graceful and fly very fast. There are many species of hummingbirds but where I live we only get the ruby-throated hummingbird.

The hummingbirds are attracted to flowers by sight not by scent. They love bright shades of red, pink and orange. They particularly like tubular shapes like fuchsia. Hummingbirds are triggered by color, they will inspect a red or orange umbrella, if someone is wearing a bright orange or red shirt and even the handle of a garden tool if the handle is bright red.


To attract the hummingbirds to your garden you will want to plant flowers that are their favorite colors, that will produce good amounts of nectar. Pick perennials that will overlap in the blooming season so they continue to have flowers with nectar the entire summer.

You can’t have too many blossoms for a hummingbird. Hummingbirds need a lot of nectar to survive day to day. Again avoid insecticides or chemicals in your flower gardens, it could poison the hummingbirds and butterflies.

You can also set up a hummingbird feeder, and making your own nectar; 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. Only use granulated sugar, cane sugar is the best. Do not use artificial sweeteners or honey. DO NOT USE RED FOOD COLORING, this is poisonous to the hummers, and change the mixture depending on the temperature.

Lower temperatures can last 5 to 7 days but when getting in the 80s and 90s every other day to almost daily will need to be changed. Otherwise bacteria will poison them and their tongues swell up and unable to eat then they die of starvation. If you can’t always be there to attend to making sure your hummingbird feeder is clean, you are better off having plants with a good supply of nectar, this would be healthier for your hummingbird visitor.

Best Flowers to Attract Hummingbirds


  • Bearded Iris
  • beardtongues
  • Bee balm
  • Bellflowers
  • Betonies
  • Border phlox
  • Butterfly weeds
  • Campions
  • Cardian flower
  • Columbines
  • Common sage
  • Coral bells
  • Daylillies
  • Delphiniums
  • Foxgloves
  • Hollyhocks
  • Lillies
  • Lupines
  • Pinks
  • Poppies
  • Soapworts
  • Torch lily

Annuals and Bedding Plants Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

  • Begonias
  • Common morning glory
  • Flowering tobacco
  • Fuchsias
  • Geraniums
  • Lantana
  • Nasturtium
  • Petunias
  • Scarlet runner bean
  • Scarlet sage

Shrubs and Vines

  • Beautybush
  • Butterfly bush
  • Cononeasters
  • Flowering quinces
  • Lilacs
  • Pea shrubs
  • red-flowering currant
  • Rhododendrons and azaleas
  • Tatarian honeysuckle
  • Trumpet honeysuckle
  • Trumpet vine
  • Weigela

There are some of the same flowers in this list as the butterfly list. It will be good to mix and match to have flowers for both! it would be nice to have the garden kind of close to a window to provide viewing of the butterflies and hummingbirds.

Butterflies on flower buds

Happy Planting!

I hope you found this helpful. Every time I do a post I learn something new. One thing to keep in mind when picking plants from these list is to make sure you are picking plants in your hardiness planting zone. Having any of the plants above will make any garden look spectacular and you get to enjoy the beautiful butterflies and hummingbirds.

In the need for some plants?  Check out my Review – Online Plant Nurseries – Are They Worth Using?

Let me know what you think about this post.

Do you have flowers to attract butterflies and hummingbirds?

Do you use a hummingbird feeder?

Please comment below, I would live to hear from you!



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14 thoughts on “Gardening to Attract Hummingbirds and Butterflies!”

  1. It is a gardener’s joy to see these lovely winged insects and animals in our gardens. I often stop to enjoy a beautiful butterfly landing on a flower, or the dance of dragonflies. Sadly we don’t have hummingbirds here but I saw them when I was in Trinidad years ago and was entranced.

    Lots of great tips to encourage butterflies, I never knew that male butterflies need the sodium in a salt block. Who would have thought?

    • Hi Lily,

      Yes I was surprised about the salt block and male butterflies too.  I am surprised you don’t have hummingbirds in Australia, must be too far for their little wings.

  2. I have built a list of things we can follow to attract hummingbirds. It’s meant to be a sort of summary.
    Add a new native plant species to your garden.
    Plan a continuous blooming schedule.
    Tie an orange ribbon around the old oak tree.
    Repaint your plastic flowers; rehabilitate your old feeders.
    Replace old feeders.
    Make snag perches for hummingbirds.
    Add a mister to your yard.
    Don’t remove those spider webs.

    I hope this is helpful for some of your readers.

  3. Holy crapp! There is actually a way to attract  Butterflies to your garden? I had no idea that this was even a thing! I cannot believe that surfing around your site always brings me to new great and factual content. I am definitely very amazed with this article and several others that you have obviously seen me around on. I love your website and I will be coming back for more

    • LOL!  Yes planting to attract hummingbirds, butterflies, bee’s and more, is a thing.  All of the plants are beautiful.  Thank you for your comments.

  4. Wow. The way you wrote your article is just amazing. The images you used are very eye catching and attractive. I love this and I am attracted just like the hummingbird and butterflies. Thanks for such a great staff.

  5. Hi, this is a really interesting subject. When we moved to our house 15 years ago now, there were butterfly bushes along the Southside of the house that enjoyed the full sun. In the early years, we always had butterflies, and very occasionally we would see hummingbirds. If I remember correctly we had to cut down the butterfly bushes every year in the fall when all the leaves turned brown and the bushes just became a tangle of stalks but they always came back with a vengeance the next year. Then we added an extension to the house on the Southside so we had to remove the butterfly bushes. Since then we have had a few butterflies from time to time and very occasionally we see a hummingbird but nothing like what we used to have. We were only aware of the effect of the butterfly bushes but reading this article it seems very likely there were other plants in our garden that were attractive for the larvae. We have seen quite a lot of changes in the years we have been here. Some of these changes are likely due to bushes and plants we have moved but also climate has changed as many of our neighbors attest to. I learned a lot from this. Thanks and best regards, Andy

    • Hi Andy,

      Thank you for your comments and I am glad my post help you see what plants are needed to keep butterflies and hummingbirds in your area.

  6. Been looking to create a more insect and bird-friendly garden/backyard lately as I ran across your article. Wonderfull tips, as I never thought about attracting the larvae stage just the adults. 

    Are butterflies attracted to any vegetables or fruit trees or is it just flowers?

    Love your suggestions on the online plant nursery too. 

    • Hi Dan,

      Thank you for your comments!  I would imagine during the flowering stage a butterfly would be attracted to fruit and vegetables but once it changes to produce, they move on to other flowers.

  7. Hello there! It is indeed a great joy to see so much life just around one’s garden (minus the garden pests)! I had no idea that butterflies and hummingbirds were only attracted to certain flowers. I just thought it was all flowers in general. I used to be afraid of hummingbirds since I always mistaken them for wasps, but after watching some youtube videos, they are such fragile, gentile birds! I am going to have to try planting these plants that you suggested here. Thanks for this.

    • Hi Mike,

      I am so excited for the spring flowers to bloom and see the hummingbirds and butterflies again. Hummingbirds are awesome, dainty little birds.  Thank you for your comments.


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