Butterfly gardens

Graphic of monarch butterflies.

Enjoy Backyard Wildlife with a Butterfly, Moth and Hummingbird Garden

Your backyard flower garden can become a lively butterfly, moth, and hummingbird garden if you choose the right flowers. Here are some top choices for a beautiful flower bed that will be irresistible to these wild creatures.

For butterflies:

  • Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
    Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
    Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
    Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
    Rough blazing star (Liatris aspera)
    Meadow blazing star (Liatris ligulistylis)
    Black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia hirta)


For Ruby-throated hummingbirds:

  • Scarlet bergamot (Monarda didyma)
    Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
    Scarlet runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus)


  • The milkweeds and blazing stars may be available only from nurseries that specialize in native prairie plants.
  • For further details, see the book Landscaping for Wildlife, published by the Nongame Wildlife Program, Minnesota DNR.
  • Butterfly, bee & moth garden designs.
  • Information about pollinator management and restoration: Pollinator Resources

Prepared by Carrol Henderson, Supervisor, Nongame Wildlife Program, Minnesota DNR