20 Plants That Attract Butterflies in Arizona

If you’re looking to attract butterflies to your Arizona garden, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a list of 20 beautiful and butterfly-friendly plants to enhance your landscape.

These plants not only offer vibrant colors and a lovely scent but also provide essential habitats and food for butterflies.

Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Butterfly Milkweed is a beautiful, vibrant plant that not only attracts butterflies but also serves as a vital food resource for their caterpillars, making it a must-have in your Arizona garden.

Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)


Its stunning orange flowers, along with its drought resistance, make it a perfect addition to your desert landscape.

Not only is it visually appealing, but it also supports numerous butterfly species.

Here are some essential facts about Butterfly Milkweed:

  • Plant Species: Asclepias tuberosa
  • Plant Family: Apocynaceae
  • Growth Habit: Perennial, herbaceous
  • Flowering Time: June to September
  • Distribution: North America, including Arizona
  • Life Cycle: Deciduous
  • Plant Part Used: Leaves, stems, flowers

Butterfly Milkweed can tolerate various soil types and requires full sun exposure for optimum growth.

It’s essential to note that all parts of the plant contain a toxic sap that can be harmful if ingested.

However, this means it is deer resistant and can thrive without being disturbed by wildlife.

Remember, planting Butterfly Milkweed in your garden not only creates a stunning visual display; you’re contributing to butterfly conservation by providing a valuable food source for these essential pollinators.

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Purple coneflower, scientifically known as Echinacea purpurea, is one of the wonderful plants that attract butterflies in Arizona.

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

This plant boasts striking, daisy-like flowers with a central spiky cone surrounded by purple petals that will surely awe you and the butterflies alike.

It is not only an excellent addition to any pollinator garden but also has significant medicinal properties.

Here are some quick facts about Purple Coneflower:

  • Plant Species: Echinacea purpurea
  • Plant Family: Asteraceae
  • Growth Habit: Perennial herbaceous plant, generally reaches between 24 and 36 inches in height
  • Flowering Time: June through August
  • Distribution: Native to eastern and central North America, but can be grown in Arizona under the proper conditions
  • Life Cycle: Blooms in the late spring to late summer, going dormant in the winter months
  • Plant Part Used: The roots and flowers, primarily for their immune-boosting properties

To grow Purple Coneflower in Arizona, it’s essential to provide well-drained soil, full sun, and occasional water, particularly during the hottest months.

This low-maintenance plant will reward you with abundant blooms and butterflies visiting your garden, creating a picturesque space that you’ll enjoy throughout its flowering season.

Zinnias (Zinnia spp.)

Zinnias are vibrant and showy flowers that not only instantly brighten up your garden but also act as a magnet for butterflies.

Zinnia (Zinnia elegans)

They come in a wide variety of colors like red, orange, pink, white, and yellow, and can easily adapt to different environments, making them a popular choice for Arizona gardens.

These low-maintenance plants are also known for being heat-tolerant, which means they can thrive in Arizona’s scorching summer temperatures.

Additionally, they are drought-tolerant and can withstand periods without much water.

The nectar-rich flowers provide an essential food source for butterflies, making them a perfect addition to your butterfly garden.

Here’s a quick overview of the Zinnia plant:

  • Plant Species: Zinnia elegans, Zinnia angustifolia, Zinnia haageana and others
  • Plant Family: Asteraceae
  • Growth Habit: Upright, bushy
  • Flowering Time: Summer to fall
  • Distribution: Native to southwestern U.S., Mexico, and South America
  • Life Cycle: Annual
  • Plant Part Used: Flowers, leaves

Plant Zinnias in a sunny spot in your garden, and enjoy watching a flurry of butterflies fluttering around their vibrant blooms.

With their fabulous colors and low maintenance requirements, Zinnias are a must-have for any Arizona butterfly garden.

Lantana (Lantana camara)

Lantana is a hardy, vibrant plant that is well-known for its colorful and fragrant flowers.

This plant is drought-tolerant and loves the warm climate of Arizona, making it perfect for attracting butterflies to your garden.

Lantana (Lantana camara)

These beautiful flowers come in a wide range of colors, including orange, yellow, pink, red, and white, creating a stunning display that butterflies find irresistible.

Lantana is known for its ability to attract various species of butterflies, including Monarchs, Swallowtails, and Painted Ladies.

Its nectar-rich flowers play a crucial role in providing the much-needed energy for these pollinators.

Here’s a quick rundown of Lantana’s key features:

  • Plant Species: Lantana camara
  • Plant Family: Verbenaceae
  • Growth Habit: Shrub or groundcover
  • Flowering Time: Spring to fall
  • Distribution: Native to tropical Americas, cultivated worldwide
  • Life Cycle: Perennial in warmer regions, annual in colder areas
  • Plant Part Used: Flower clusters

If you want to add a gorgeous pop of color to your garden while supporting the local butterfly population, Lantana is an excellent choice.

This easy-to-grow plant will provide you with a remarkable show of color and a delightful community of fluttering friends for your Arizona garden.

Sunflowers (Helianthus spp.)

Sunflowers are an eye-catching addition to any garden, and Arizona butterflies can’t resist their allure.

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)

Offering a perfect blend of nectar and pollen, they attract several butterfly species like painted ladies, monarchs, and swallowtails.

The towering flowers serve as a landing pad while providing a burst of vibrant color to your landscape.

  • Plant Species: Helianthus spp. (annual & perennial sunflowers)
  • Plant Family: Asteraceae
  • Growth Habit: Tall, fast-growing plants with single or branching stems and large, yellow petals surrounding a central disk
  • Flowering Time: Summer to early fall
  • Distribution: Native to North America, widespread in Arizona and across the United States
  • Life Cycle: Annuals typically complete their life cycle in one growing season, while perennials return year after year
  • Plant Part Used: The whole plant, seeds, and sunflower oil is used for food, beauty, and health purposes

To attract butterflies and other pollinators, plant sunflowers in a sunny spot with well-draining soil.

Additionally, consider planting a mix of annual and perennial sunflower species to create a longer-lasting, diverse butterfly haven.

Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia diversifolia)

Mexican Sunflower, also known as Tithonia diversifolia, is a beautiful and vibrant plant that is perfect for attracting butterflies in Arizona.

Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia diversifolia)

This sun-loving plant is covered with bright, fiery-orange flowers that resemble small suns.

With its sturdy stems and large, velvety leaves, Mexican Sunflower is both visually striking and an excellent choice for butterfly gardens.

Here’s a closer look at the key features of this sun-loving plant:

  • Plant Species: Tithonia diversifolia
  • Plant Family: Asteraceae
  • Growth Habit: Upright, bushy, fast-growing
  • Flowering Time: Summer to early fall
  • Distribution: Native to Central America; widely cultivated in the Southwest
  • Life Cycle: Annual or short-lived perennial
  • Plant Part Used: Flowers, leaves, stems

With their abundant nectar supply, Mexican Sunflower blooms are irresistible to butterflies, making them a great addition to your Arizona butterfly garden.

These flowers are not only beautiful, but they also help create a miniature ecosystem that supports the life cycle of these lovely creatures, encouraging them to thrive in your outdoor space.

So, consider adding Mexican Sunflower to your Arizona garden for a vibrant garden and a colorful butterfly haven.

Pentas (Pentas lanceolata)

Pentas, also known as Egyptian Star Cluster, are beautiful flowering plants that are a favorite among butterflies in Arizona.

Pentas (Pentas lanceolata)

These plants are celebrated for their stunning star-shaped flowers that come in a variety of colors such as pink, white, red, and purple.

Not only do Pentas attract butterflies, but they also provide a great nectar source for hummingbirds and bees.

One of the many reasons Pentas are attractive to butterflies is their continuous blooming nature.

They provide a steady supply of nectar throughout the summer months, making them an excellent plant choice for both gardens and butterfly sanctuaries.

Cultivating Pentas in your garden is quite easy, as they can adapt well to various soil types and can withstand dry conditions.

Providing adequate sunlight is essential, as these plants require a good amount of light to thrive.

Here are some key features of Pentas:

  • Plant Species: Pentas lanceolata
  • Plant Family: Rubiaceae
  • Growth Habit: Perennial
  • Flowering Time: Summer through fall
  • Distribution: native to Africa, Arabia, and Madagascar, and cultivated worldwide
  • Life Cycle: Annual in cold climates, perennial in warmer zones
  • Plant Part Used: Flowers and foliage

Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

Black-Eyed Susan is a delightful perennial that can bring butterflies flocking to your Arizona garden.

Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

Its bright yellow flowers, with their distinctive dark brown centers, provide an excellent source of nectar for various butterfly species.

Besides being a butterfly magnet, the Black-Eyed Susan is also a hardy plant easily adaptable to various habitats.

On top of that, these plants are resistant to common pests and diseases, making them ideal choices for your butterfly garden.

Here are some key characteristics of the Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta):

  • Plant Species: Rudbeckia hirta
  • Plant Family: Asteraceae
  • Growth Habit: Herbaceous perennial
  • Flowering Time: Early summer to late autumn
  • Distribution: Native to North America, widespread in meadows, prairies, and open woodlands
  • Life Cycle: Annual, biennial, or short-lived perennial
  • Plant Part Used: Flowers and leaves

Incorporating Black-Eyed Susans in your Arizona butterfly garden will not only add a pop of vibrant color, but also cater to the nutritional needs of beautiful butterflies.

With its low-maintenance requirements, long flowering season, and adaptability, the Black-Eyed Susan makes for a valuable and attractive addition to any garden.

Verbena (Verbena spp.)

Verbena is a delightful plant that is sure to attract butterflies and bring vibrant colors to your Arizona garden.

Verbena (Verbena spp.)

With over 250 species available, there is a tremendous variety of shapes, sizes, and hues to choose from.

These flowers are commonly found in meadowlands and alongside roads, making them an ideal candidate for any sunny, well-drained location in your landscape.

  • Plant Species: Verbena spp.
  • Plant Family: Verbenaceae
  • Growth Habit: Upright, trailing or spreading
  • Flowering Time: Late spring through fall
  • Distribution: Worldwide, with the majority of species native to the Americas
  • Life Cycle: Annual, perennial, or semi-perennial (depending on the species)
  • Plant Part Used: Entire plant, above ground

Not only are Verbena plants attractive to butterflies, but they are also resilient and easy to grow.

A majority of Verbena species are drought-tolerant, making them an excellent choice for Arizona’s arid climate.

To attract butterflies, consider planting a variety of Verbena species in your garden to provide a continuous nectar source from late spring until the end of fall.

With proper care, your garden will be teeming with colorful butterflies and blossoming Verbenas all season long.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow, scientifically known as Achillea millefolium, is a unique and versatile plant that thrives in Arizona.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

This flowering plant easily adapts to the dry and hot climate, making it perfect for attracting butterflies.

With its tiny yet captivating flowers, Yarrow is a fantastic addition to your garden, as it will bring in a variety of pollinators, including bees and butterflies.

Not only does Yarrow attract butterflies, but it also has a rich history of medicinal uses. The plant works wonders in healing wounds due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

In addition, its fern-like leaves make an interesting visual specimen, providing texture and depth to your garden.

Wondering what makes Yarrow so fascinating?

Here are some quick facts:

  • Plant Species: Achillea millefolium
  • Plant Family: Asteraceae
  • Growth Habit: Perennial, up to 3 feet tall
  • Flowering Time: June to September
  • Distribution: Native to the Northern Hemisphere, widely spread throughout North America and Europe
  • Life Cycle: Perennial, with a two-year lifespan
  • Plant Part Used: Mainly flowers, but leaves have medicinal properties too

Remember to plant some Yarrow in your Arizona garden to attract butterflies and enjoy its beauty.

Your garden will not only be lively and colorful, but you’ll also be supporting the local ecosystem.

Salvia (Salvia spp.)

Salvia, also known as sage, is a large genus consisting of about 1,000 species of shrubs, herbaceous perennials, and annuals.

Salvia (Salvia spp.)

These plants are a favorite among butterflies, attracting them with their brightly colored, tubular-shaped flowers.

Salvia plants are not only a treat for the eyes, but they also serve as a valuable nectar source for various butterfly species.

  • Plant Species: Salvia spp.
  • Plant Family: Lamiaceae (mint family)
  • Growth Habit: Herbaceous perennials, annuals, and shrubs
  • Flowering Time: Late spring to late summer, depending on the species
  • Distribution: Salvia spp. can be found across various regions, including North & South America, Europe, Asia, and the Mediterranean.
  • Life Cycle: Most Salvia species are annual or short-lived perennial plants, while some varieties can last longer if given the proper care.
  • Plant Part Used: Flowers provide a rich nectar source for butterflies, while the foliage emits a pleasant scent and may be used for culinary or medicinal purposes.

Choosing to plant Salvia in your Arizona garden is not only beneficial for your local butterfly populations but will also bring beauty, vibrancy, and pleasant scents to your outdoor space.

Marigold (Tagetes spp.)

Marigolds are popular ornamental plants that attract butterflies with their bright, warm-toned flowers.

Marigold (Tagetes spp.)

They are perfect for your Arizona garden, bringing both beauty and an influx of fluttering visitors.

Their low maintenance needs and ability to thrive in various soil types make them an easy addition to your landscape.

  • Plant Species: Tagetes spp.
  • Plant Family: Asteraceae
  • Growth Habit: Annual or perennial, depending on the species
  • Flowering Time: Summer to fall
  • Distribution: Native to North and South America, cultivated worldwide
  • Life Cycle: Annuals complete their life cycle in one year; some species are perennial and live for multiple years
  • Plant Part Used: Flowers

To attract butterflies to your Arizona garden, consider planting various Marigold species.

These vibrant flowers not only offer an eye-catching display, but also serve as valuable nectar resources for butterflies and other pollinators.

Marigolds are undoubtedly an excellent choice for creating a lively, butterfly-friendly garden space.

Hollyhocks (Alcea rosea)

Hollyhocks are a popular choice for butterfly gardens, not only because of their vibrant colors but also because they provide nectar to the adult butterflies, as well as acting as nurseries for the caterpillars.

Hollyhocks (Alcea rosea)

The plants produce tall stalks, with numerous single or double flowers, that can range from white to pink, red, purple, and even black.

Hollyhocks have an old-fashioned charm and work well lining the back of your butterfly garden or along a fence or wall.

  • Plant Species: Alcea rosea
  • Plant Family: Malvaceae
  • Growth Habit: Tall, erect stalks with single or double flowers
  • Flowering Time: Summer
  • Distribution: Native to Asia, cultivated throughout Europe and America
  • Life Cycle: Biennials or short-lived perennials
  • Plant Part Used: Flowers, leaves, and seeds

To ensure a continuous supply of hollyhocks in your butterfly garden, sow seeds in the fall and again in the early spring.

This way, you will have hollyhocks that bloom during different times of the season, providing a consistent food source for butterflies.

Remember to plant them in full sun and well-drained soil.

Ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata)

Ironweed, scientifically known as Vernonia fasciculata, is a gorgeous perennial plant that boasts vibrant purple flowers and attracts butterflies with its nectar-rich blossoms.

Ironweed (Vernonia spp.)

This versatile plant can adapt to various soil types and thrives in sunny locations, rendering it an excellent choice for Arizona gardens.

Plus, it provides a stunning visual contrast when paired with other plants like goldenrods and asters.

Let’s take a closer look at this butterfly-loving plant:

  • Plant Species: Vernonia fasciculata
  • Plant Family: Asteraceae
  • Growth Habit: Upright, clump-forming
  • Flowering Time: Late summer to early fall
  • Distribution: Native to North America
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Plant Part Used: Flowers, leaves

Ironweed is not only visually stunning, but it also serves an essential role in supporting pollinators, such as butterflies and bees.

When you add this plant to your Arizona garden, you’ll create a butterfly haven while also contributing to a biodiverse ecosystem.

Remember to plant in a sunny spot with well-draining soil, water regularly, and watch your garden come to life as butterflies and other pollinators visit your beautiful ironweed.

Joe-Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum)

Joe-Pye Weed is a versatile, native plant adored by many gardeners and butterflies alike.

Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum)

It showcases clusters of tiny, pinkish-purple flowers that provide an excellent source of nectar for various butterfly species. Named after a Native American healer, Joe Pye, this plant has also been historically used for medicinal purposes.

Let’s explore more about this fantastic butterfly-attracting plant:

  • Plant Species: Eutrochium purpureum
  • Plant Family: Asteraceae
  • Growth Habit: Upright, with tall and sturdy stems reaching up to 7 feet in height
  • Flowering Time: Late summer to early fall (usually from July to September)
  • Distribution: Native to the eastern and central regions of North America, it adapts well to various environments in Arizona
  • Life Cycle: Perennial, allowing it to return and bloom year after year in your garden
  • Plant Part Used: Leaves, roots, and flowers were traditionally employed for medicinal purposes, such as treating kidney stones and fever

With its stunning and long-lasting blooms, Joe-Pye Weed is a must-have in your butterfly garden.

Not only will it entice beautiful winged visitors, but it will also add an impressive vertical element to your garden’s design.

So, consider planting some Joe-Pye Weed and watch as butterflies flock to your yard for a delightful and colorful spectacle.

Blanket Flower (Gaillardia spp.)

Blanket flowers, belonging to the Gaillardia genus, are a wonderful addition to your garden if you’re looking to attract butterflies in Arizona.

Blanket Flower (Gaillardia spp.)

Their vibrant colors and unique patterns make them a butterfly magnet, and they are also a low-maintenance plant that is drought-tolerant and thrives in full sun.

These bright, resilient flowers can add life and character to any butterfly attraction zone in your garden.

  • Plant Species: Gaillardia species
  • Plant Family: Asteraceae
  • Growth Habit: Perennial or annual, depending on the species
  • Flowering Time: Early summer through fall
  • Distribution: Native to North and South America, primarily in the southwestern United States and Mexico
  • Life Cycle: Short-lived perennial or annual, depending on the species
  • Plant Part Used: Whole plant, primarily for its vivid flowers which make a lovely addition to a garden

Blanket flowers are a fantastic choice if you’re looking to provide a habitat for butterflies in Arizona.

Their eye-catching blooms and hardy nature make them a perfect addition to any garden space, while also attracting and supporting the local butterfly populations.

So don’t hesitate to add some Gaillardia plants to your garden and watch as they transform your landscape into a butterfly haven.

Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)

Goldenrod is a beautiful addition to any garden, with its vibrant yellow flowers swaying majestically on tall stems.

Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)

Native to North America, this perennial plant is known for its hardiness and ability to attract butterflies, making it an ideal choice for your Arizona garden.

Here are some interesting facts about Goldenrod:

  • Plant Species: Solidago spp.
  • Plant Family: Asteraceae
  • Growth Habit: Upright stems with bushy, golden-yellow flower clusters
  • Flowering Time: Late summer to early fall
  • Distribution: Throughout North America, with over 100 species found in various regions
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Plant Part Used: Flowers and leaves

Goldenrod’s bright yellow flowers not only attract butterflies but also bees and other pollinators, making it an essential element of a thriving garden ecosystem.

To grow goldenrod in your garden, plant it in well-draining soil and ensure it receives full sun to part shade.

Water it regularly, but be mindful not to overwater – goldenrod can tolerate some drought.

Aside from its aesthetic appeal and prowess in attracting butterflies, goldenrod also has medicinal properties.

Native Americans used the plant to treat various ailments, such as sore throats and kidney issues.

With its beauty and benefits, there’s no doubt that goldenrod is a must-have for any butterfly-loving gardener in Arizona.

Aster (Aster spp.)

Asters are beautiful, daisy-like flowers that come in a range of colors and bloom well into the fall season.

Aster (Aster spp.)

Butterflies are particularly drawn to the colorful blossoms, and asters provide a valuable nectar source for them.

Make sure to include asters in your Arizona butterfly garden to attract these fluttering beauties while also enhancing the overall aesthetics.

  • Plant Species: There are over 250 species of aster, including popular choices like the New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) and the New York Aster (Symphyotrichum novi-belgii).
  • Plant Family: Asteraceae
  • Growth Habit: Asters grow as perennial plants that reach 1-4 feet in height, depending on the species.
  • Flowering Time: These plants bloom from August to November, making them an essential source of nectar for butterflies in the fall season.
  • Distribution: Asters are native to North America, Europe, and Asia, but they are also well-adapted to Arizona’s climate.
  • Life Cycle: Asters grow as perennials, and they can be propagated from seeds, cuttings, or divisions.
  • Plant Part Used: The colorful blossoms of the aster are what attract butterflies and provide them with a valuable source of nectar.

Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)

Bee Balm, also known as Monarda didyma, is a fantastic plant for attracting butterflies in Arizona.

Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)

This beautiful flowering perennial is popular among gardeners due to its vibrant red flowers and aromatic foliage.

The plant’s nectar not only lures butterflies but also hummingbirds and bees, making it a great addition to any pollinator-friendly garden.

Bee Balm is quite adaptable, growing well in various soil types, and can tolerate partial shade to full sun exposure.

  • Plant Species: Monarda didyma
  • Plant Family: Lamiaceae (Mint Family)
  • Growth Habit: Upright, clump-forming perennial
  • Flowering Time: Summer (June to September)
  • Distribution: Native to North America, widely cultivated in gardens
  • Life Cycle: Perennial, returning each year
  • Plant Part Used: Typically, the flowers and leaves are harvested for use in teas, potpourris, and traditional medicine to treat various ailments.

To get the most out of Bee Balm, plant it in groups for a more significant visual impact and a higher chance of attracting butterflies.

Proper spacing between plants is essential to avoid powdery mildew, a common fungal issue.

Regular trimming after flowering will encourage bushier growth and even more flowers, making it a favorite among butterflies and gardeners alike.

Milkweed (Asclepias spp.)

Milkweeds are essential plants to attract butterflies to your Arizona garden.

Milkweed (Asclepias spp.)

With over 100 species in the Asclepias genus, these plants provide an abundant source of nectar for adult butterflies.

Perhaps most importantly, milkweed is the sole host plant for the Monarch butterfly caterpillar, making it vital to their survival.

  • Plant Species: Asclepias spp.
  • Plant Family: Apocynaceae
  • Growth Habit: Upright or sprawling, depending on species
  • Flowering Time: Late spring to late summer, depending on species
  • Distribution: Widespread across North America
  • Life Cycle: Perennials or short-lived perennials
  • Plant Part Used: Leaves and flowers

Milkweeds are generally easy to grow in Arizona, with many species well adapted to the desert climate.

Common milkweed species in Arizona include Asclepias linaria (pineneedle milkweed), Asclepias subulata (rush milkweed), and Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed).

To encourage butterflies to visit your garden, plant milkweeds in a sunny location with well-drained soil.

Groupings of multiple milkweed plants will make it easier for butterflies to locate the plants, increasing the chances of them laying their eggs and feeding on the nectar.


Incorporating these 20 beautiful plants into your Arizona garden will not only enhance its visual appeal, but also create a welcoming environment for butterflies.

You’ll be able to enjoy the charming sights of these fluttering visitors and make a positive impact on the local ecosystem.

Give these plants a try and let us know in the comments which ones have been most successful in attracting butterflies to your garden!

Butterflies   Updated: June 19, 2023
avatar Welcome to Insectic, a blog to learn about insects and bugs. I'm Richard, and I've created this website to share my experience, knowledge, and passion with others.

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