How To Attract Butterflies In Fall
Excerpted from: Fall Butterfly Flowers
Most people think of summer as the ideal time for butterfly gardening, but there are many fall butterflies
seen in the fall as well. It's important to plant fall flowers for the butterflies because they need energy.
September is a peak time for butterflies. Butterflies are almost guaranteed to linger in your garden
into autumn and even winter if their caterpillar (larval) food plants are available.
Monarchs are one of the butterflies usually seen late in the year, appearing around September. Their
larval food is milkweed. Monarchs seem to fly north before the emergence of butterfly weed, an orange
milkweed found on dry, sunny roadsides.
For more information on Monarchs in fall, see:
Monarch Fall Migration
Unlike migrating monarchs, many butterfly species often stay in hospitable gardens. There is a wide
variety of fall butterfly flowers available that will grow in all areas of the country. Many fall flowers last
until the first frost or even later, providing ample opportunities for your fluttering friends to feed.
Besides Monarch butterflies, commonly seen in the fall are:
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail,
Red Spotted Purple or
You should take special care in that part of the garden when doing your fall clean-up chores. Just
because it looks like all the butterflies have gone away does not mean there aren't larvae or
chrysalises hanging out some place you can't see.
Resist the urge to clean up this part of the garden because you might be disrupting or even killing
the next generation of butterflies that will grace your garden next year.
Asters are a great choice for butterflies, particularly the New England aster which has orange-centered
purple flowers and can grow up to six feet high. These flowers appreciate regular watering.
Goldenrod is a wonderful plant that is good for butterflies and comes in many different varieties.
There are many varieties for your sunny location.
Joe-Pye weed is another good choice for an easy growing butterfly flower. This plant also likes
consistent water, well-drained soil and full sun. They will reward you with tall plants and masses of
small purple flowers that also attract bees.
Other good choices for fall-blooming butterfly flowers are:
• Mountain Mint
• Meadow Blazing Star
• Anise Hyssop
• Sage family
Keeping the butterflies in your yard as long as possible is a great way to extend the season and put
off thinking about the cold weather that is sure to follow soon.
Butterflies and Moths of North America
Southern Wisconsin Butterfly Assn (NABA)
The Butterfly Site