Your garden can be as big as your entire backyard or as small as a single pot. Each garden is important and no effort too small! Gardens just need at least one host plant and one nectar plant from our recipes to be registered. When considering where to plant your garden, you should favor sunny, wind-sheltered areas. Keep in mind pollinators and their plants need full sunlight for at least six hours per day. Also, consider the soil quality of the location you have chosen. Sand, clay or wet soils may be difficult to plant in, and they may require specialized techniques.
With the help of the experts at Iowa State University’s Reiman Gardens, we have developed the following list of host and nectar plants that support local butterfly species. Many of these plants are native to the region, making them low maintenance and better adapted to our climate. The best gardens combine both nectar and host plants, encouraging pollinators to spend more time in your garden.
Click here for our list of host plants
Click here for our list of nectar plants
Click here for a list of pollinator friendly trees and shrubs
Click here for a list of shade-tolerate plants
Don't live in the Upper Midwest? Click here to learn how you can join Plant.Grow.Fly
Butterflies are attracted to large splashes of color in the landscape. Planting in groupings of 3-5 of the same plant is important when creating these color splashes. Purchase plants of different heights, creating tiers within your landscaping.
Should I use seeds or starter plants?
Click here to find sources for seeds and plants
Click here for ideas on PGF garden designs
Need Gardening Advice?
Tips for maintaining your garden
Looking for milkweed for your garden? Click here
Other things pollinators love!
Need advice on restoring larger parcels of land to prairie?
Here's a seedling ID guide for native plants
Tips for Planting a Pollinator Garden - Part 1
Tips for Planting a Pollinator Garden - Part 2
Photos courtesy of Nathan Brockman