Nectar Flowers

If you are planning a butterfly garden, you can’t just choose the flowers that you think are the prettiest. You also can’t just choose the flowers that are your favorite color, or even the ones that smell wonderful.

Butterflies are attracted to certain flowers because of the flower’s nectar, which the butterfly will “drink” through its proboscis. Nectar is the only food source for butterflies, so it’s important to provide a variety of different nectar flowers to keep them coming back for more.

Most of these flowers will also attract bees and hummingbirds, who also drink the nectar in order to survive. Bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies are good pollinators. They’re important to your garden’s health and our entire ecosystem.

You can learn to identify nectar flowers that are best at attracting butterflies in northern Illinois: Nectar Flowers

When you think you can identify them all, try the “Scatter” version of the Nectar Flower Name Game. Click on Scatter when you get to the Quizlet page.

Record your score and time on your packet. This is Station #2.


Curious to Learn More?

Here are few other favorites of the butterflies around here:

  • Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium maculatum)
  • Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea purpureum)
  • Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)
  • Showy Goldenrod (Solidago speciosa)
  • Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus)
  • Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)