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Butterflies in your Garden

A well designed and maintained garden is a joy but what make a garden complete is to have it full of bird song and the fluttering of butterflies.

There are 58 butterfly species in Britain and by carefully planning your garden you may be lucky enough to see a good number of these in your own garden. There are some essentials to ensure that butterflies will stop to take nectar from your garden, just follow the guidelines below.


You must position your butterfly plants in a warm, sheltered, sunny spot in your garden. Spend some time observing which parts of your garden get the most sunshine for most of the day. Butterflies will rarely feed in a shady area but part shade may suffice


As mention above a sheltered spot is preferable as butterflies do not like to be buffeted by the wind.

Overnight Roosts

Grow some climbers and tall shrubs to enable the butterflies to roost overnight well off the ground. Hanging baskets also work well.

Food for Caterpillars

Most butterflies will only lay their eggs on specific plants in order to provide the right food for their caterpillars. Leave a patch of your garden “wild” with some long grass and nettles. Nettles are very popular with Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Red Admiral and Comma butterflies. If you don’t have room in your garden to leave an area “wild” try planting some nettles in a large pot and hide it away in the shrubs

The Right Plant for your Garden

Although there are quite a number of plants which butterflies love, do remember that the plant must also be suitable for your soil type and the aspect of your garden. See our Soil & Compost page for more information on soil types.

Visit our Plants for Butterflies page for a full list of the plants loved by our British Butterflies and the Butterfly Year to see which butterflies will visit your garden each month of the season.