Having a garden that is a welcoming place for butterflies can be a real joy. There are a lot of butterflies that are native to our region, and one way to be able to best attract them is by planting natives.
Most butterflies require specific host plants to provide for all stages of life; eggs to caterpillar, chrysalis to butterfly. Butterflies are less picky about nectar sources, so adding non-native nectar plants (so long as they are non-invasive) is fine by us.
Many people mistakenly focus all their attention on the nectar plants to attract the adults, without equal attention to the larval plants that will feed the growing caterpillars — helping to insure that you will have generations of returning butterflies to your garden.
Many of the NW Native plants we carry at the nursery are good butterfly plants as well as good garden plants. Here is just a partial list of what we usually see during the year:
Attracting butterflies to your garden requires more time and patience than attracting birds. There are also considerations of placement of plants and providing a water source. Below are some links that should go a long way to helping you set up a garden area attractive to butterflies:
Local photographer Chris Carvalho has put together a thorough (and beautiful) resource on native butterflies and the plants that feed them. (He includes a few compatible non-natives here, too).
Our brochure on gardening for butterflies lists more natives along with non-natives, and designates whether the plant is for nectar-feeding or larval-feeding.
We offer a great selection of Northwest Natives from spring through fall. The plants featured are highlighted favorites, but they do not represent ALL of the plants we carry. For a more complete list, see our Northwest Native Plant List.