Aromatic Plants for Butterflies: Photo Credit, Fotolia
Aromatic Plants for Butterflies: Photo Credit, Fotolia

Butterflies are attracted to many herbs in the aromatic garden. They love toxin-free gardens – so if you have a host of butterflies in your garden, you have created a natural haven for them! Just as bees are attracted to aromatic plants for their pollen, butterflies are attracted to an aromatic plant for the nectar it supplies to them. Nectar provides high metabolic butterflies with the carbohydrates they need to survive.1 Here’s a quick look at some of the aromatic plants that are attractive to butterflies.

Note: Bees and butterflies are often attracted to the same herb or plant; so, if you plant one herb, you might attract several pollinators!

Aromatic Herbs that Provide Nectar for Butterflies

Butterflies like to eat nectar from the following aromatic herbs and plants2:

  • Dill (Anethum graveolens) – a member of the Apiaceae plant family, dill produces umbels of yellow flowers with feathery leaves.

  • Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) – closely related to dill, and very similar in appearance, fennel and dill are sometimes confused as one and the same herb.

  • Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) – a member of the Lamiaceae plant family, hyssop is attractive to butterflies with its purple-blue flowers.

  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – another Lamiaceae plant family member, lavender, with its violet-blue blooms, is a magnet for both butterflies and bees.

  • Oregano (Origanum vulgare) – a relative of both hyssop and lavender, oregano attracts butterflies with its purple-pink flowers.

  • Parsley (Petroselinum sativum) – a relative of dill and fennel, parsley produces yellow-green flowers; a favorite of butterflies!

  • Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) – a botanical cousin of lavender, hyssop, and lavender, thyme has purple or white flowers that attract butterflies.

All of the above herbs produce an essential oil that is used in aromatherapy. In addition, the following herb produces a carrier oil for aromatherapy:

  • borage (Borango officinalis) – with beautiful blue flowers, borage is attractive to both butterflies and bees.

Other Aromatic Plants that are Attractive to Butterflies

Butterflies are also attracted to the following aromatic plants that are used in aromatherapy (based on personal observation):

  • echinacea (Echinacea purpurea)

  • bee balm (Monarda fistulosa)

  • sunflower (Helanthius annuus)

  • calendula (Calendula officinalis)

  • sage (Salvia officinalis).

Learn More About Aromatic Plants with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn more about aromatic plants that attract butterflies and are used in aromatherapy, consider one of the Sedona Aromatherapie home study aromatherapy courses!


  1. Delaware Center for Horticulture website, No-fail Plants to Attract Hummingbirds, Butterflies, and Bees, accessed march 21, 2016

  2. Pantry Garden Herbs website, Herbs that Attract Butterflies, accessed March 21, 2016

  • Author is a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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