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Trees and Shrubs for a Butterfly Garden

Trees and Shrubs for a Butterfly Garden

Create a butterfly haven in your garden

Create a pollinator garden for our fluttering friends by providing shelter and food for butterflies at all stages of life. The easiest way to do this is by choosing blooms with different shapes and structures, this will add visual interest and will provide a wide variety of flowers for pollinators to forage for both pollen and nectar throughout the year. Avoid using pesticides and opt for natural garden solutions including organic fertilizers and natural disease and pest solutions. Our Associates can help you garden naturally.

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Ground-Cover Shrubs 18" or Less for Butterflies

These low-growers provide shelter and flowers, and keep larger plants healthy by keeping roots cool and suppressing competing weeds.

  • Arctostaphylos uva-ursi 'Emerald Carpet' (Manzanita) *for adults
  • Grevillea species (Spider Flower) (ground cover types) *for adults
  • Rosmarinus prostrata & 'Huntington carpet' (Creeping Rosemary) *for adults

a group of green plants

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi 'Emerald Carpet' (Manzanita) *for adults

a pink flower on a plant

Grevillea species (Spider Flower) (ground cover types) *for adults

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Rosmarinus prostrata & 'Huntington carpet' (Creeping Rosemary) *for adults

Low Shrubs 2 ft. to 3 ft. for Butterflies

Nestle these plants in among boulders in sunny areas or water basins with pebbles where butterflies can rest and drink. These varieties are waterwise once established, meaning you can enjoy more butterflies and blooming color with fewer resources.

  • Asclepias species (Butterfly Milkweed) *for both, available from spring through fall
  • Callistemon 'Little john' (Dwarf Bottlebrush) *for adults
  • Ceanothus 'Yankee point' (California Wild Lilac) *for both
  • Lavandula species (Lavender) *for adults
  • Penstemon species *for both, available from spring through fall
  • Statice perezii (Sea Lavender) *for adults
  • Verbena species *for adults, available from spring through fall
a group of colorful flowers

Asclepias species (Butterfly Milkweed) *for both, available from spring through fall

a close up of a flower garden

Callistemon 'Little john' (Dwarf Bottlebrush) *for adults

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Ceanothus 'Yankee point' (California Wild Lilac) *for both

a group of bushes in a field

Lavandula species (Lavender) *for adults

a close up of a purple flower

Penstemon species *for both, available from spring through fall

a close up of a purple flower on a plant

Statice perezii (Sea Lavender) *for adults

a close up of a flower

Verbena species *for adults, available from spring through fall

Medium Shrubs 3 ft. to 5 ft. for Butterflies

The shrubs below will thrive in full to part sun, perfect for filling in tricky areas while still attracting wildlife. Plant several shrubs that bloom in varying seasons, to provide the longest season of food for butterflies, and establish your garden as a sanctuary they can return to year after year.

  • Abelia 'Kaleidescope' *for adults
  • Agapanthus africanus (Lily of the Nile) *for adults
  • Asclepias species *for both, available spring through fall
  • Coleonema 'Sunset Gold' (Breath of Heaven) *for adults
  • Pittosporum 'Wheeler's Dwarf' (Dwarf Mock Orange) *for adults
  • Polygala 'Petite butterflies' (Dwarf Sweet Pea Shrub) *for adults
  • Salvia species *for adults, available spring through fall

a group of green plants

Abelia 'Kaleidescope' *for adults

a group of purple flowers

Agapanthus africanus (Lily of the Nile) *for adults

a close up of a flower

Asclepias species *for both, available spring through fall

an empty park bench next to a tree

Coleonema 'Sunset Gold' (Breath of Heaven) *for adults

a close up of a flower garden

Pittosporum 'Wheeler's Dwarf' (Dwarf Mock Orange) *for adults

a close up of a flower garden

Polygala 'Petite butterflies' (Dwarf Sweet Pea Shrub) *for adults

a close up of a flower garden

Salvia species *for adults, available spring through fall

Tall Shrubs 5 ft. to 10 ft.+ for Butterflies

These large blooming shrubs offer loads of flowers for a season or more in California, making great foundation plants to anchor sweeping flower beds.

  • Abutilon species (Flowering Maple) *for adults, available spring through fall

  • Buddleija (Butterfly Bush) *for adults, available spring through fall

  • Grevillea species (Spider Flower) *for adults

  • Ligustrum japonicum 'Texanum' (Wax Leaf Privet) *for adults

  • Plumbago *for adults, available spring through fall

  • Polygala myrtifolia 'grandiflora' (Sweet Pea Shrub) *for adults

  • Salvia rosmarinus (Rosemary) *for adults

  • Syringa species (Lilac) *for adults, available winter through spring

  • Tecoma species *for adults, available spring through fall

a close up of a flower

Abutilon species (Flowering Maple) *for adults, available spring through fall

a close up of a flower

Buddleija (Butterfly Bush) *for adults, available spring through fall

a close up of a plant

Grevillea species (Spider Flower) *for adults

a green plant in a garden

Ligustrum japonicum 'Texanum' (Wax Leaf Privet) *for adults

a close up of a flower garden

Plumbago *for adults, available spring through fall

a close up of a purple flower

Polygala myrtifolia 'grandiflora' (Sweet Pea Shrub) *for adults

a close up of a plant

Salvia rosmarinus (Rosemary) *for adults

a close up of a purple flower with Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens in the background

Syringa species (Lilac) *for adults, available winter through spring

a close up of a flower

Tecoma species *for adults, available spring through fall

Vines for Butterflies

Create a magical archway where butterflies will flock to vines filled with colorful nectar-rich flowers, or provide an essential food source for larvae with fast growing foliage. Vines are a wonderful way to maximize garden space and add visual interest by growing vertically.

  • Bignonia species (Crossvine) *for adults, available spring through fall
  • Clematis species *for adults, available spring through early summer
  • Passiflora species (Passion Vine) *for larvae, available spring through fall
  • Wisteria *for larvae, available late winter through midsummer

a close up of a flower garden

Bignonia species (Crossvine) *for adults, available spring through fall

a close up of a flower

Clematis species *for adults, available spring through early summer

a close up of a flower

Passiflora species (Passion Vine) *for larvae, available spring through fall

a purple flower on a plant

Wisteria *for larvae, available late winter through midsummer

Trees for Butterflies

There are many trees that butterflies love and need, providing shelter and food for larvae or flowers for adult butterflies. Plant trees near other blooming shrubs to create areas sheltered from wind and other harsh elements.

  • Betula alba (White Birch) *for larvae
  • Cercis 'Forest Pansy' (Redbud) *for adults

a close up of a tree

Betula alba (White Birch) *for larvae

a plant in a forest

Cercis 'Forest Pansy' (Redbud) *for adults

Sit back and let us do the work!

Pick and Plant Installation

Love to pick out your plants, but don't have time to plant them? We'll plant your trees, shrubs or flowers, and we can even remove old plants so there is no fuss. Armstrong plant installers are hand picked for their proven quality work and efficient service. All installers are experts, licensed and insured so you have the peace of mind the planting will be done correctly.

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Lifetime Guarantee on All Trees and Shrubs

We are committed to your gardening success and strive to be your preferred nursery. In living our commitment to Gardening without Guesswork we guarantee all of outdoor trees and shrubs for life.