Aromatic Flowers and Moths: Hummingbird Moth, Photo Credit: Fotolia
Aromatic Flowers and Moths: Hummingbird Moth, Photo Credit: Fotolia

On a late summer evening, I often see moths flitting around my garden, attracted to the nectar of the summer flowers. Moths are not only attracted to many aromatic plants, but cultivating a moth population in your garden will also attract those higher up the food chain such as bats, birds, and other mammals. 1 In the final part of my series relating to pollinators of aromatic plants, here’s a quick look at some moth-friendly aromatic plants.

Types of Moths That are Attracted to Aromatic Plants

There are lots of different species of moths and, depending upon where you live, you’ll experience different ones in your garden. A lot of moths emerge as dusk falls but, like here in Arizona, there are also day-time moths to be found in the aromatic garden. A little food for thought: Moths outnumber butterfly species by ten to one.2

Pollinating moths include the noctuid moth and the hawkmoth species.2 They are typically attracted to strongly-scented flowers. They also like pale-colored flowers and plants. Moths use a proboscis (a long, probing, straw-like tongue) to reach the nectar in flowers.

Aromatic Plants That Attract Moths

Again, depending upon where you live, you’ll experience different moths and different plant species, as some species will only grow, or live, in certain parts of the world. Here are some of the common moth-friendly aromatic plants that you might encounter:

  • evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) – attractive to spinx moths,3 silver ground carpet moths1

  • flowering tobacco (Nicotiana spp.)3

  • plants with aromatic foliage such as marjoram (Origanum marjorana), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), and mint (Mentha spp.) – attractive to small magpie moths1; also, rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and thyme (Thymus vulgaris)4

  • phlox – pale pink, white, and lilac-colored species with heavy scents attract moths4

  • honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.)

  • jasmine (Jasminum spp.).

As is recommended for other aromatic plants that attract bees and butterflies, the old-fashioned varieties and single-headed flowers are more attractive to moths; they contain more nectar. Hybrids and new species may contain little fragrance and/or nectar.

Learn More About Aromatic Plants with Sedona Aromatics

If you would like to study aromatic plants in further depth, and discover how they are used in aromatherapy, take a look at the Sedona Aromatics Certificate in Holistic Aromatherapy.


  1. BBC website, Plant for Moths, accessed May 9, 2016

  2. PDF, Like a Moth to a Flower, accessed May 9, 2016

  3. website, Flowers for Moth Gardens, accessed May 9, 2016

  4. The Telegraph website, Night-scented Flowers Perfect for Moths, accessed May 9, 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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