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What to Include in a Small Space Butterfly Garden

Butterfly gardens are an excellent way to attract pollinators to your property. You don’t have to have a large area for a successful butterfly garden. A few square feet filled with the right plants can offer the perfect location for a charming small-space butterfly garden.

What is a Butterfly Garden?

Butterfly gardens are specially created spaces where butterflies and moths eat, grow, and thrive. Plant your butterfly garden in a sunny place and fill it with plants that support the life cycle of these beautiful insects.

Why Plant a Butterfly Garden?

Butterfly gardens encourage healthy pollination for the plants because butterflies are excellent pollinators. They collect pollen on their legs and bodies, similar to bees.
Not only will your butterfly garden encourage healthy pollination, but it will also provide beauty and delight to all who are near it. Our small-space butterfly garden constantly brings us joy with its beautiful flying creatures and blooming flowers!

Where Should I Plant my Butterfly Garden?

Plant your butterfly garden in a sunny space that also has protection from the wind. The side of a barn or building works well if it gets plenty of sunshine. Make sure there is gathering water for the butterflies to drink. Keep in mind that butterfly gardens can attract other pollinators, such as bees. For this reason, you may want to avoid highly trafficked areas, such as near a playset.

5 Plants to Include in your Small-Space Butterfly Garden 

As you choose flowers for your butterfly garden, you’ll want to include both nectar plants and host plants. Nectar is needed to attract adult butterflies to your garden. Host plants serve as a place for butterflies to lay their eggs. They also provide food for new caterpillars that have hatched. Both are vital for a healthy butterfly garden.

Here are some of the best plants include in your garden:

Coneflowers (Echinatia)

Coneflowers are filled with nectar and are one of the best plants for hungry butterflies!


These lovely, nectar-filled plants are beautiful to butterflies and other creatures, such as hummingbirds.

Calendula (Pot Marigold)

In addition to being an excellent butterfly attractor, calendula also traps pests with its sticky resin, protecting the other plants nearby. Calendula is also an excellent addition to salads and other culinary creations. When you want to get crafty with your calendula, learn to make a natural dye featuring these flowers.


Butterflies and other pollinators adore the nectar of these tiny flowers.

Butterfly Weed (Type of Milkweed)

Monarch caterpillars only eat milkweed. Include this vital plant if you want your butterflies to continue growing and reproducing.

Plants to Avoid in Your Butterfly Garden

Fortunately, there aren’t many plants that will repel a butterfly, making butterfly gardening a great option for beginning gardeners.

Be wary of the butterfly bush. Though butterflies love it, its flowers quickly turn to seed, and it can become an invasive plant, crowding out your other butterfly plants.
Many garden centers will label plants as “butterfly friendly.” A key tip, avoid pesticides and plant flowers of varying heights in your garden.

Why Butterfly Gardens Atract Polinators

Pollinators, including butterflies and bees, are attracted to the plentiful nectar in a butterfly garden. The more easily accessible the nectar is, the more butterflies and other pollinators you will find in your small-space butterfly garden.

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