If you live in California you probably already know that the monarchs migrate through your state and know the beauty that these minute creatures can bring with their mere presence. But many more different species are available in your state, each with their own unique beautiful traits and vibrant color. Luckily these little-winged bugs are easy to attract and if you make the right choices of plants in your garden butterflies will be swarming around before you know it. As the old saying goes “beauty attracts beauty” as such, can the plants be as graceful, beautiful and magic as the animal they seduce?

The right plants

Anise swallowtail

For you as a Californian garden owner, you might want to first attract monarchs, which have declining populations and could really use all the habitats they can get. Monarchs exclusively lay their eggs on the leaves of the milkweed and their caterpillars only eat the leaves of the milkweed, so by planting some of these you will help the otherwise dwindling population of milkweed plants and with complete certainty attract Monarch butterflies to your garden.

But as mentioned above, there are many more species to explore and many more plants to set up a garden with. As a Californian, you will have to find plants that grow well in your hardiness zone and specific garden (choosing native species makes this easy) and plants that suits your sense of garden aesthetic. Underneath you will find a little list of suggested plants:

Butterfly species

Amorpha fruticusa

Attracts southern Dog-faced butterfly, common Hairstreak butterfly, and Silver-spotted Skipper.

monark Butterfly
Monark Butterfly

Arabis Sp.

Attracts Sara Orange-tip butterfly, Boisduval’s Marble butterfly, Edwards’s Marble butterfly, Large Marble butterfly California White Butterfly.

Arctostaphylos sp.

This family attracts Painted Lady butterfly, California Dogface butterfly, Red Admiral butterflies, and Mournful Dusky Wing butterfly

Asclepias sp.

The Asclepias attracts Checkerspot butterflies, Tiger Swallowtail butterflies, and Anise butterflies.

Ceanothus sp.

Attracts Artful Duskywing butterfly, California Tortoiseshell butterflies, and Southern Buckthorn butterflies.

Eriodictyon sp.

Attracts Common Checkerspot butterfly, Gabb#s Checkerspot butterflies, several hairstreak butterflies, and monarchs.

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butterflies slot

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More Butterfly species

Monardella sp.

Attracts Lorquin’s Admiral butterflies, Chalcedon Checkerpot butterflies, Pale Swallowtail butterflies, American Painted Lady butterflies and California Dogface butterflies.

Salvia Leucophylla Clevelandii “PozoBlue”

Attracts Several Checkerspot butterfly species, California Dogfaced butterflies, Mournful Duskywing butterflies, Snowberry Clearwing moth and various Hairstreak species.

Now you have a slight idea of what to look into when choosing the flowers you want in your garden, so now to the next part; where to plant them? Well, how much space you want to dedicate as a butterfly habitat is up to you and your specific situation. A butterfly garden can be anything from the size of a single pot or a little flowerbed up to a field full of flowers. Usually, the rule goes that the more space you dedicate, the more butterflies will arrive and of cause the more different flowers in that space, the more species of butterflies. Butterflies also like a little water, so put out a little dish with freshwater and small rocks in, to let the little garden fairies hydrate.