Butterfly gardening can be a rewarding experience as you begin to learn how to attract certain pollinators and specific butterfly species to your garden. To date, we have attracted 14 different species to our yard, where prior to our plantings, we were only seeing the Cabbage Whites and an occasional Two-Tailed Tiger Swallowtail fly by (high in the sky and not landing on anything we had!).
The host and nectar plants listed represent what Wings of Enchantment has planted at our farm. They are not all native, but have all done quite well in the Albuquerque, New Mexico area with minimal extra help from us after becoming established. There are so many more plants available and so many more butterflies to attract, we think we might need a bigger yard!
As you are looking at plants to try and determine what butterflies you’d like to attract, remember that butterflies LOVE the sun and most butterfly-friendly plants also LOVE the sun. There are some plants that like part-time shade and some butterflies will visit them when they are on the fringes of going into the shade. But for the most part, you are going to want to find sun-loving plants.
You do not need a large space to attract the butterflies. You want to keep your flower groupings compact, however; as butterflies will look for larger groupings of colors as opposed to single plants. You will want both host plants (this is what the caterpillar eats) and nectar plants (this is what the butterfly drinks from).
Check out our host and nectar plants page for more information on plants that will work well for attracting butterflies. Our resources page is also a good source for more information as you continue in your search for the butterflies you can attract to your area.