Wildflower Gardening and Butterflies

An orange and black monarch butterfly necters on a lavender blazingstar flower.

Wildflower and butterfly gardening is a rapidly-growing hobby among gardening and wildlife enthusiasts. There are many showy, native wildflowers that also attract native species of butterflies and other insects.

Because butterflies often have specific needs, it is necessary to understand what butterflies look for in order for your garden to be successful.

Butterfly gardens should be placed in sunny locations, but where the wind is somewhat blocked. Several stones provide perching sites where butterflies can both rest and warm themselves in the sun. Find a location for your butterfly garden where the sun shines at least 5-6 hours a day; more is better.

Butterflies require two different types of plants. Host plants are plants that the caterpillars feed on--some species are very specific on what plants are acceptable hosts. Nectar plants are flowers preferred by the adults because of their ability to produce lots of nectar.

Some people find that a shallow pan filled with damp sand provides an additional attractant as a "puddling" location for thirsty butterflies.

There are many resources on the Internet for wildflower and butterfly gardening, but we encourage the use of plants native to east central Minnesota, many of which are prairie species.

Some favorite plant species native to our area that have showy flowers and will attract butterflies include:

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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Mailing Address:

111 E. Kellogg Blvd., Suite 105
Saint Paul, MN 55101

Phone:

(651) 293-0200
This is the general phone line at the Mississippi River Visitor Center. Please leave a voicemail if we miss your call and expect a return call within 1 day, often sooner.

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